After being on the sub list for 18 months, I finally have the opportunity to teach a cycling class for the summer months while the regular instructor takes a leave of absence. It is always hard to walk into a time slot that has had a long time instructor who sports a particular style and be accepted by the students. This is one of the challenges that many of you also face in your careers as Spinning instructors. We are all in the same boat no matter who we are or where we work.
Yesterday, at my first class, I set up one new student during warm-up. I introduced myself and informed the riders I would be the instructor for the next two and a half months. Even though I have an extensive background in indoor cycling, I don't even mention that. I just let the students know my name, what the class plan is and that my music is directly linked to the ride. I also let them know I was playing a CD and there would not be any switching out of music during the ride. (This is a big problem at my gym. Instructors mess around with their IPOD's and literally stop riding to find their favorite songs). The ride went as planned and I focused on giving them cues with few words, so they could easily understand my lingo. One person left half way through the ride, but she did not seem angry. Maybe she just wasn't into it. I observed the riders to see what habits they had and if there were any contraindicated movements occuring. I did not make any major corrections. During the cool-down, I talked a little bit about the seats and the pedals and how to be more comfortable on the bikes. I stretched them out and after class, I adjusted a rider on her request. I otherwise felt positive about the class. One gal said "See you next week!" and that made my day.
When it comes to making corrections, I will wait on that because the clientelle may not yet trust me. That is not handed out just because I am the instructor. If I tell people I am a trainer of instructors, that actually may turn them off and make me sound like I am bragging, so I don't feel that informing them of that aspect will help my situation. I think what will help me the most is to be friendly, be organized and teach fun and interesting rides. It may take several more classes before this clientelle base gets to know my style and I earn their trust. What I strive for in this situation is for the members to experience a positive difference in how I teach in comparison to others, be it my music, my profile, my cueing, my timing. That is the point when the door will open for me to have an affect on their form and technique.
Written by master instructor Sabrina Fairchild on June 18, 2011 for community.spinning.com
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