It is currently five degrees here in beautiful New England, with a high of nine and a wind chill of -25. But the sun is shining so I’ll just be sitting here staring at the albeit cold and distant rays pretending it’s not happening and ignoring the two foot snow drifts blanketing the world.
Fortunately I am finding myself chipper considering the negative sign in front of the temperature today.
I am also struggling to motivate myself further down the road to achieve my goal of being a fully certified Pilates instructor. I could just be over thinking the process and what it really means to be an effective instructor, and probably am.
I have experienced a lot of different teaching styles and I have determined exactly what I like and don’t like for myself when taking a Pilates mat/ barre/ reformer class.
- The class should flow; The movements should lead smoothly from each position to the next.
- Talking without movement should be limited.
- In a large class, specific attention to individual students is unrealistic and frankly annoying for everyone else.
- I would like to be continuously moving and hopefully burning and sweating by the end of the class.
- I also want form corrections/muscle activation cues.
Ok that sounds like a long list, but I really believe all of these things are so crucial to a good class. There is nothing worse for me than paying $30 for a Pilates class only to stand there listening to my instructor talk for the first 10 minutes, demonstrate multiple exercises, and walk around assisting every student, leaving only 10 minutes of actual work. The reverse of this is a class where the instructor has virtually no connection with the students and guides through movements so quickly you find yourself craning your neck around frequently to make sure you are performing each exercise correctly. Ugh!
So how does one combine all of these aspects to ensure than everyone is working hard, performing exercises correctly, cueing appropriate muscle groups, and assisting those who just are really failing. Well, one way of course is to label classes appropriately. For example; Pilates Mat II Deliberate Flow meaning you are moving, have a previous understanding of Pilates, and are prepared to keep up! Pilates Mat I Understanding Movement Principles, now I know that I will be spending a few minutes going over each position listening to and understanding how the body is working. Many studios do this, many do not. I personally would like to know what I am getting in to. However it really does come down to the instructor.
Labels are really only a suggestion because in the end it is your instructors decision what kind of workout you are getting. From an instructors perspective there are so many aspects that need to be considered in addition to the desires of the students! Size of class, fitness level of students, the temperature of the studio the time ofdayhaveIhadlunchwhatdayoftheweekisithowmanyclasseshaveitaughwhyamiherethispersonneedshelpthatpersonisannoyedwearenotmovingmore…sigh.
I have a lot to think about, but I think I have given myself a good basis…
What kind of instructor do you like? Talking? Moving? Do you like when the instructor does the workout with you?
3 thoughts on “What kind of instructor do I want to be?”
Great post about all the aspects of both taking and leading body-based classes. It’s never perfect, but I am with you… the instructor should work on describing the class well, and then following through consistently. Can’t wait to take class with the Pilates Pirate!!
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Coming from a martial arts background and having the instructors leading the clas and really setting the tone, then teaching boxing bootcamps myself years later and doing the same thing I think leading by action, but vocally demonstrating the goal of each movement really sets the tone for the class. But if you’re teaching more than one class than it’s going to potentially lead to overtraining, so maybe just lead a few exercises one class all the way through, then pick new ones to lead for another if on the same day.
Definitely more moving, than talking, but a combo of both is ideal to help the pursuit of perfect form for the students, which cant always be easy to make it perfect for everyone (as some are visual learners, some have to be shown, some can listen and learn if they have some experience) but you can never have the perfect class for everyone, or cater to one student as it can distract from the momentum of everyone else.
I say the best way is to verbalize the movement, and demonstrate a few reps while looking for poor form, then quickly correct, and move on. If their form is still poor, maybe try showing them a form adjustment after class, so as to not distract during the class.
Great feedback especially from a martial arts perspective!! Thanks for stopping by, definitely some great food for thought.
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