After 8+ years of sweating my butt off as a Spinning class participant, I’m now a certified Mad Dogg Athletics Spinning Instructor!! I’m sitting on “the other side of the podium” and I’m ready to work my butt off creating amazing Spinning experiences for others.
My role in the Spinning studio has changed, but my love for Spinning has only grown. I completed my Spinning Instructor Course at the end of June, 2014 (facilitated by the amazing Ralph Mlady), and in July I auditioned for a position at a local gym, One on One Athletic Club in Ann Arbor. I've been hired on as one of 3 Spinning Instructors at the club, and I am endlessly psyched!
I haven’t yet been assigned my own regular class slots yet, but my club let me fill in as a sub, since both of the other instructors were out on vacations this week. That means I got to teach my first-ever Spinning classes!!
Boy, was it a learning experience! I've been reflecting on what I think I did well, what I could have improved upon, and areas that I’d like to focus on as I develop my Instructor experience base.
I rocked at:
I had 5 riders in my first class and 6 in my second class. While I will work to build attendance, I’m happy with these numbers for now. Monsoon-type weather both days might have kept people away, and new-instructor-phobia could have been a factor too. I did have 1 return participant, who came both days. That was really exciting!
I’m generally a positive, upbeat person, and I think this came out pretty naturally in class. I also thought a lot ahead of time about the authentic, happy persona that I want to project, and that helped me achieve my mission here. Since I am new to participants, and they are new to me, I walked around to each person, introduced myself, and thanked them for coming.
Bike Set-up A
I asked each participant if they were comfortable setting up their own bike. A few folks looked like they had questions, so I made a bee-line and gave them some tips. I think this resulted in more comfort and safety for my riders, and built a rapport too.
As a new Instructor, the only way to get experience is by doing! I was very willing and excited to have a chance to sub a few times before I get my own regular class times, and I give myself a pat on the back for jumping in with enthusiasm. Go me!
I’ll work on:
I quickly learned the importance of clear communication, both in terms of volume (making sure riders can hear you over the music) and content. While I think I was so-so at this, I want to work at being more concise and specific, about upcoming position changes, about time left in tough positions (only 15 seconds left!)
To start off, I chose music that I thought would be pretty universally appealing. For my second class, I selected a playlist that I loved and was super-excited about. I think the second class had more cohesion, and I was into it more, which probably came across in the class. I am still continuing to learn about song speed, and the correlating cadence for my riders. Also, a few of my Seated Flat “recover/rest” songs were a bit too long; Awkward! J
Since we were new to each other, I made sure to go up and greet each rider, thank them for coming, ask their name, and introduce myself. I also remembered to give a little intro about myself at the beginning of the class, so people got to know me a bit. The negative side- I was so excited that I didn’t really remember anyone’s name once they said it to me. I’ll have time to improve in this area, but rapport-building is going to be a major focus for me, because I recognize the importance of it.
Overall, still deciding what type of vibe I’d like my classes to have. Music, Attitude, and so many other factors go in to this decision, and I know it will be an on-going process, Overall, I just want to differentiate myself from the other instructors and create my own ‘brand’ of classes that riders look forward to.
Join me on my journey as a new Instructor, as I build class profiles, refine and learn new techniques, and grow my new identity at my home club, on "The Other Side of the Podium"!