When you think about preparing for a Spinning® class, what is the first thing that comes to mind? Most people probably consider the playlist or the profile! How about what you SAY? Cueing to your members is so important! Each cue should have some relation to the overall ride goal or specific movement being performed and can be a visualization or motivational based cue. Think about it like this: when we go to the doctor, do we sit on the table and tune out from the time he walks in until he writes a prescription? Generally not!! We listen to what the doctor says is the cause of the health issue and we pay closer attention when we are given a solution. We need to hear everything in order to understand what our condition is and how to fix it. Much like understanding a diagnosis, giving direction in class to the members is imperative to their understanding of the class description.
Have you ever taught or taken part in a class where the instructor turned on the music and said no more than ten words the entire class? Typically, new instructors tend to say fewer words because their nerves wreak havoc and they aren’t sure what to tell people. Other instructors may be less of a coach and more of a drill sergeant, barking out the next move but little else. Neither of these scenarios creates a successful environment for the student because it doesn’t give them a goal to achieve during class.
As a Spinning® instructor, we become the coach for each student, helping them realize their potential during each class by using our words. To do this well, try to limit extraneous chatter about current events, TV shows or personal stories during the warm up. Use the time instead to explain the goal of the profile, how it should feel and what it will take to get to the finish line. Give your students the tools early on in the class and watch them take responsibility for their efforts. Other tips that have been helpful to me over the years is to keep the cues brief but to the point. Think about a text message or tweet. Weed out the extra words and tell them succinctly what is coming next. Of course, if you are conducting a journey ride, then you will need to use more words and more descriptive language, but in a typical, everyday class keep it brief. And what about the dissonant sound of two voices fighting over each other? It’s a sound you’ll never forget once you hear it and it definitely does not make you want to tune in to either voice! I’m talking about cueing during the verse or catchy hook of a song!! Place your cues strategically in the silence parts of the lyric or during a part of the song that is not begging for the listener’s attention. Give your piece of instruction, let it marinate in their minds and give them a chance to execute before sending out any further cues. Saying too much is just as distracting as saying nothing at all!
If you’ve never tried writing down your cues, give it a shot for your next class! And if you aren’t sure about the whole process, videotape yourself teaching and listen carefully to each cue you give. You can learn a lot about yourself and your habits this way. Of course, there is always help available online within the Spinning® community page, or check out the CEC workshop “Creative Coaching”. This workshop will fill your toolbox with new things to say to your members and help you to think critically when it comes to presenting profiles.
What are some of your favorite cues?