Coaching a Spinning® class requires that we pay attention to our students and provide feedback when necessary. We make general announcements over the microphone so the entire class hears the cue and hope that the one person we were directing the correction hears us and responds by correcting their form or hand position. However, there are some people that block out our coaching suggestions and continue to ride the same way. Even when you make eye contact with the individual, they stare back at you as if to say. “You can’t be talking to me.” One of your most effective coaching tools you possess may make you the most uncomfortable to use. That is coaching off of the bike.
Coaching off of the bike allows us to connect one-on-one with our riders. It provides us with an opportunity to give feedback immediately and directly to the person that needs it without having to “call them out” over the microphone. However, our approach to when we get off the bike and give feedback is just as important as the feedback itself.
If we rush off the bike and go directly to the person needing attention, we may alienate that individual in a way that no matter how good our coaching suggestion is, the student will ignore our feedback. Get off the bike, give the remainder of the class a suggestion on what to work on and then wander over to the individual that you need to work with. Once you get to their bike, consider giving them feedback using the sandwich method.
The sandwich method offers a compliment, followed by the corrective feedback and finally followed up with encouragement. For example, if you see someone who is struggling with their pedal stroke below 60 RPM on a hill, you may say something such as. “Wow, you are such a powerful rider. However, I know you can be stronger if you reduce the resistance and increase your cadence between 60 and 80 RPM on the hill you will find that you may be able to work harder. I know you have the power in those legs to turn the cranks and have confidence you’ll destroy the next hill.”
Try coaching off of the bike, you may find your students appreciate the feedback and know that you really care about them.