For Instructors

Words

Words create impressions, images and expectations. They build emotional connections to those around us. They influence how we think (and eventually react). There is an undeniable connection between the words we use and the results we get. When instructing, I try to use the word challenge instead of hard. Challenge immediately brings a sense of pride and individual responsibility to an activity, hard can make an action sound grueling and unappealing. A hill climb should call for challenging resistance, or it should challenge the participant's ability to sustain an effort. Remove and release are terrific for lowering muscle tension, but not so great when discussing resistance. Students can take them literally and remove their primary tool for both control and safety while riding. I prefer terms like: turn back to the left and flatten out the road. They both indicate that resistance is lighter, but certainly still present. Fast is another word I tend to avoid while instructing. My intention may be for the students to push their cadences toward the top of the terrain guideline, but many riders take the word and try to put out the most pedal strokes possible in a given amount of time with very low and unsafe levels of resistance. Instead, I like to use statements like: higher cadence, putting out more circles, and picking up your pace. As certified instructors, we work with our students. We don?t just teach or lead a class. When we work with people we are joining them to accomplish a shared goal while paying close attention to both their skills and needs.
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