For Instructors

One by One

 

One by one

 

Anybody that has been teaching for a while would know the buzz you get from teaching a class to a room full of people. 30 bikes, not one spare, everybody working and creating energy and enthusiasm so thick you could swear you could see it. As an instructor these are the classes that carry us onto a new level of euphoria. It is as if we are involved in creating something electric, super special and assisting a room full of people to achieve the goals and dreams on the bike.

 

If you speak then to an Master Instructor and you ask them what it is like to present a session at WSSC to 50, 60 or 150 riders I am sure you will not be surprised with their answer – AMAZING! To be in an environment bursting with enthusiasm and people who have waited all year to be riders again. The attendees are often instructors who are usually giving are instead finally able to sit back and receive.  They now can once again experience what Spinning® gives to their students when they teach. It is a very unique place where everybody is giving and it creates a hypnotic and intoxicating feeling that transcends the months between conferences and brings us back each year wanting more.

 

Regardless of whether you are an MI at WSSC or an instructor perhaps riding at a charity event or a busy timeslot - we can all say a big fat affirmative yes we love those sessions.  They are amazing and memorable situations.  Our teaching just seem to kick into a level all on their own when there is a collective and connective energy between us and the group of many. We thrive, we excel, we come up with statements and phrases we didn’t even know we had in us.  There is so much positivity in the room it feeds our inner souls to speak out and uplift. These are the times where memories are created.

 

Okay so let’s take a few steps back. It is not WSSC or a big trade show. Your class does not have every bike full and it is not a pumping time slot. You are still the amazing and wonderful instructor that the masses adore but you are now working in a studio that is perhaps new and there are two or three people in the room. Maybe it is an early 6am class and it is jut you and one other person.  I have a question for you:

 

Can you and do you have the ability to create the same electricity that you did before?

And more importantly would you welcome the opportunity to test it?

 

I believe if many of us were honest we would say no – to both.

 

To a certain degree I would agree with you. 3 people are not going to create the same ‘volume’ of electricity and energy that 30 and we all know how awkward it can feel when you walk into an empty room our egos try to sabotage our thoughts by saying:

“You should have more people than this in here…do they know who I am?”

 

But you have control of your thoughts and I say put that one away quick smart and look at the situation as an opportunity, remove yourself from the equations completely and look at how you can create something special with the few that are there.

 

In a room of few you have the unique opportunity to create something more, something different and definitely something that is just as worthwhile if not more than what you do with your room full of eager riders. I know it can be hard. It can be difficult to get the same buzz and it can even be boring especially if you are use to busy classes and if you do not have the right mindset. I believe our classes need to adapt according to the numbers and although teaching to a group of two or three may put you out of your comfort zone – then that my friends is exactly where you need to revisit to remember what it is that you can do on a one to one level.

 

Last year when I was travelling around the US on my Spinning® pilgrimage for the Ride of OZ Charity Tour I had the wonderful opportunity to ride in classes with some of my friends who own and work in Spinning® studios. They were MI’s, they were club owners and some of them were instructors that worked at these facilities. I have a very clear recollection of two women that had less than three people in their class and their passion, attention and intent literally brought me to tears. Yes – I cried!

 

These girls were so engaged, so uplifting and so energetic that if you closed your eyes you would think the room was full. Their enthusiasm did not alter except all that energy was going to just two people in the room instead of 30. Those two people knew and felt that all of that was for them. You cannot do that when the room is full. When you shout out – “You are all amazing keep pushing!” it is said to the masses. When you say it to a room of two people they know you are talking to them and that makes people feel noted and special.

 

When the numbers are low this is the golden opportunity to do what we have learnt and know so well. Take the time to make it all about them - set them up, monitor their form throughout, guide them, talk to them. Ask what their training aspirations are, create the ride especially suited to them. Change it for them if you need to. Ask them what music they like and choose your playlist for them Make them feel special, remembered and relevant.  One by one you are creating change and building your room instead of arriving to a full group that you can never do this with personally.

 

By building your group one by one you are in turn creating memories for the one or two people that then in time when there are four or five people you will know each of them. Their names, their children’s names their joys, their jobs, their hobbies. Can you imagine then 6 months later when your room is full because you have extended so much of your self to each person individually the level of energy you will have when you walk into your class that has 20 or 30 people.  Now that is Spinning®!

 

It is easy to teach to the masses because they create the energy often themselves. Put on a good track get them on to a attack on a hill and the electricity creates itself. But if you are able to be patient, giving and take the time to step off the big stage with the flashy lights and maybe even go sit next to the person and ride along side them – make them feel significant and special. Then your teaching skills will improve, your humility will get a good dose of what it can always use and you will create a group that will appreciate the work and attention that you have given to them. I guarantee you – in time the room will fill. But even if it doesn’t – that is not the focus. It is not about building numbers it is about affecting people in a positive way.

 

I’m not saying it is easy but it will be worth it.

 

I am working at a new studio here in Melbourne and the numbers are low for nearly all the classes. Many of us are only getting a couple of riders and it can be disappointing to see a room full of beautiful bikes and only three of them with riders. A couple of things I have been doing is

 

-       Putting the people into the middle and sitting them close together – there is nothing worse in having three people in opposite sides of the room!

-       Working with them individually

-       Learning their names, where they live, what they do and building a relationship with them

-       Modifying my profile when I get there because many of them are beginners.

-       Introduce them to other riders

 

Honestly at first I felt a bit sad that the numbers were low but now I really love it. Each week when we get one person it is a celebration.  I also love to chat so I really enjoy now when these people come back I can then continue on with conversations from the previous week. Very slowly we are building a community one by one. Last week I had five people and it was brilliant! But next week could be one and that is totally okay too. It is not a reflection of me. I am not to big or too skilled to only teach classes that are wall to wall riders – in fact anybody can teach a class that is full. It takes certain skills, dedication and humility. I believe love and care for the participants to build a timeslot from 1 -20. Or continue to teach a class that stays small because those four or five people are just as relevant and important as the 20 or 30 – there are just less of them at once which means they get more of me and that’s good.

 

So I invite you all – in your respective clubs. Find a timeslot that has poor numbers. Find a studio where the sessions are small and make a commitment to the club, to your class and to yourself to put yourself out there and work to build the room. Or be the instructor that is happy to teach the smaller classes because you understand the benefit of being available to a smaller group.

 

 

One last thing point I would like to raise on this topic. Each of us has a story. I like to think of the story of each person that walks into the room. I try my best to give that person with their story a sense of feeling special, feeling remembered and feeling a little bit important. Walking into that room- the room I am in gives me the chance to support that person in feeling proud about what they have done in that class. It is not hard to build somebody up but when the class is full it is hard to do this on a one to one level. When there are fewer people you have the opportunity to help somebody feel good about themselves. You have the opportunity to affects their story in a positive way…

 

And that to me is Spinning®

 

Until next time kids. xx

 

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