This is graduation season, so many of you are up to your eyeballs in graduation speeches and borrowing from the one I heard last night on the 7 deadly sins of education (which include, using your education for a false sense of power, not using your education to advance yourself, etc etc etc...) I thought I might consider the "7 Deadly Sins of a Spinning® Instructor." So, of course I sat down and started outlining what they would be. When I hit 15, I decided that I needed to pare down the list to my top 7 (or bottom 7) behaviors of instructors which undermine their success. I'll bet you have your own list.
1. Not Knowing Your Play List. If an instructor simply has music on for background, he is missing the point behind using such a powerful tool. If he doesn't take the time to synchronize the music to the class profile then the class may feel stilted and uncoordinated. Knowing your music and the order in which you place them is foundational to good instruction.
2. Not Knowing Your Class Profile: Some instructors have a theme for the class, like for example "power," or "perseverance." Others pick a certain skill set to develop, like a class focus on HP 1, 2 and 3, and no matter what the road offers up, the clients will be specifically coached for hand position. Others base the class on a particular ride, "up a hill..." "hill repeats..." "long flats..." whatever. The longer you teach, the freer you become to explore new themes or profiles. You don't have to be locked only into one of the 5 energy zones...fusion is okay, but the profile of the class needs some purpose to it - which takes preparation and practice.
3. Ignoring Trespassers: This is critical because, while there is a certain amount of variation you can expect from all the riders in front of you - they are not robots - there are some definite contraindicated things that people in Spinning® classes all around the world do which just shouldn't be ignored. riding with flip-flops, for example, talking on the phone while staying in the studio on the bike during class, handle-bar drapers.... Even if you can personally tolerate some things, you have to remember that you are associated with a branded product - the Spinning® package which has expectations that you need to comply with. That will allow participants to distinguish when they're in a Spinning® class from when they're with other brands of indoor cycling.
4. Avoiding What You're Not So Great At: It is normal that we all want to do what comes easiest to us, but we can't get better unless we practice. If you are particularly weak at something, like for example talking about heart rate intensities and HR monitors, then you need to take that on as a personal project of yours and attend every seminar available to you, watch every youtuber about it, order every book and tap back into your orientation manual from Spinning®. If you hate JUMPS, then it is probably something you need to work on yourself, because they are a viable part of the Spinning® program. My challenge? I'm not so great at the higher cadence running on the bike, so I work at it.
5. Not Understanding Emergency Protocols: This is near and dear to my heart because I teach fa/cpr. Do you actually know what to do if, for example you're teaching a great class and suddenly a pedal falls off while still attached to a shoe - the client's foot jams into the ground near the wheel and the other knee is jammed up into the handlebars. What happens now? A person dismounts in the course of a class and ambles to the back toward the door then passes out. Now what? If it is not absolutely clear what to do, then you need to speak with your manager and fellow instructors. You have 20 clients on a bike and one suddenly needs your help. 19 should be instructed to slowly bring their bikes to a stop, taking time to bring their heart rate down with moving pedals. Clients with medical background might be your first call, and someone needs to notify management who can get ems if necessary. Surveying the victim's friend/family member who might be taking the class with them because they might know what is wrong or have other insight. And proceeding into first aid care as needed. If this is not 100% clear to you, you need to understand that you are the focal point of safety and first response and ask for the training you need.
6: Stopping Continuing Education: Your career as a fitness professional is a bit like a duffle bag - you can keep fitting more in! This stuff changes. If you certified with ACE more than 5 years ago and haven't picked up their newest edition...you just have to order their books for your reference library. If you haven't taken all of the Spinning® continuing ed courses, just pick one - it won't be a wrong choice. That's the cool thing about education - you're never done!
7. Not Training Alone: Do it. Get on your bike and ride! In or out of the Spinning® studio, it doesn't matter - do both. You will be a better instructor if you make the time to train by yourself and just observe.
What does your list of "7 Deadly Sins" include?
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Happy Thanksgiving Notice
In honor of the Thanksgiving holiday, Mad Dogg Athletics will be open from 6am-3pm on Wednesday, November 25, 2015. Any order placed after 12pm will ship Monday, November 30, 2015. Have a Wonderful & Safe Thanksgiving.
- The Mad Dogg Athletics Team