While you develop your own Spinning® teaching style, it is essential that the philosophy and fundamentals of the Spinning® program stay true to form. Although you may be tempted to invent original routines, it is not safe to add elements beyond the core movements of the Spinning® program, including appropriate hand positions and movements.
However, there is plenty of room for creativity! While you work on perfecting the core movements, experiment with the mental side of coaching. Think about your language, an integral part of your role as a coach. Many instructors communicate mainly with short phrases like “add resistance,” “relax,” “stay with it,” or “feel the music.” A sprinkle of short motivational messages during a class is fine; however, more meaningful communication should be the emphasis.
The following three suggestions will help you master messaging:
1. Use full sentences.
Talk with your class instead of giving commands to follow. Give your students the “whys” behind your instructions. Research on adult learning shows that adults are relevancy-oriented. Adults need to see that there is value to what they are learning as it applies to what they are doing. Therefore, you must identify the objectives of your class and explain why specific movements will help attain these objectives.
Example: Today’s class will consist of 5-8 minute aerobic intervals at 75% of maximum heart rate, followed by a 30-second recovery. This will help with heart rate recovery, which will become more important when we transition to anaerobic interval work.
2. Be impeccable with your words.
What you say can impact a student’s focus and attention, so choose your language carefully. Most instructors say too much. Research proves that the average listener actually hears only 20% of what a speaker says. Take the time to plan your sessions and choose your commentary carefully. Give your students an opportunity to absorb the information. A sage piece of advice: Say less, see more, and hear more.
3. Repeat with variety.
There is nothing more boring than hearing, “relax your shoulders, breathe” twenty times during a Spinning® class. Because the average person hears only 20% of what is said, repetition is necessary. Your repetition, however, should be varied. Create 10 different ways to communicate the same message, keeping in mind we all learn in different ways.
Approximately 40% of the general population prefers to learn visually (seeing, being shown, etc). Another 40% learn orally (listening, talking to others, etc.). The remaining 20% learn kinesthetically (physically, with feelings, etc.). By bringing out all three levels of feedback, you will find more of your students responding to your cues.
Example: Here are breathing/relaxation cue for three different learning mindsets.
Visual Learners – As you inhale through the nose, SEE your diaphragm expand and your shoulders relax.
Auditory Learners – Allow the rhythm of the music to help you settle into a relaxed position on the bike. Inhale through the nose, expand the diaphragm and slowly exhale using the “Darth Vadar” breath technique.
Kinesthetic Learners – As you inhale through the nose, FEEL your diaphragm expand and release the tension in your shoulders.
These cueing and coaching tips are perhaps even more essential when you throw music into the mix. As a Rockstar instructor, you’re not only motivating with music, but with music-related cueing and coaching too. You can infuse your music selection with coaching that enhances your riders’ appreciation of the rhythm and even lyrics of a song. For instance, “Feel the crescendo of this song, let it lift you!” or “Use the downbeat of the song to establish your own rhythm riding.”
To create a winning ride for your students, it’s essential that you hone these music-related skills, including proper cueing, coaching and messaging to complement your song selection. If you want to learn more about teaching with music , check out our NEW course: Intro to Using Music like a Rockstar