Every February, there’s a ton of attention paid toward couples. We wanted to bring the focus to a completely different way to pairing…team teaching in Spinning® classes!
Have you ever thought about sharing the podium with another Spinning® instructor? Team teaching (or co-teaching) isn’t just for big name presenters at fitness conventions; it can add a spark of excitement to any class schedule. It can also be used as a jumping off point to your Spinning® career or a way to introduce yourself at a new facility. Here are some tips and insights from instructors, Master Instructors and program directors who have seen how team teaching can boost motivation for riders and instructors, as well as create a competitive advantage for the facility.
Double the Love for Your Class
If you are just starting out as a Spinning® instructor, team teaching can be a great way to introduce yourself into a new studio or facility. A Spinning® class taught by two instructors offers something special for members; they can deliver twice the energy and motivation for riders. A team of class leaders can feed off of each other’s energy and bring a unique twist to a routine session, and it’s especially effective in fundraising rides and marathon classes. Any type of special event at the club, like kicking off a new season or member appreciation days, benefit from having two teachers in front of class.
“Members love team taught classes,” affirms Pat Soley, a group fitness director with more than 25 years’ of experience in the industry. “They love the variety and they like the fact that new energy comes with each different teacher. It feels like a party!”
Mauro Menna, a Spinning® Master Instructor from Spain, appreciates that team teaching is a way to “encourage teamwork and a great opportunity to meet and interact with new instructors.”
Additionally, team teaching enables instructors to coach to different levels in the class. Féthi Grabsi, a Spinning® Master Instructor from France explains that “With two instructors you can create more layers in the coaching. For example, one instructor will stay on an easy option to follow while the lead instructor will teach a more advanced sequence or movement.”
Finding the Right Partner
For instructors looking to give team teaching a try, choosing your other half is the first step. While looking for a partner you know well may seem like the logical choice, there’s also something to be said for pairing up with someone you aren’t as close with. Luciana Marcial-Vincion, the team leader for the Spinning® Master Instructor team, advises that teaching with those you may not know as well helps you grow both as both an instructor and a person. It requires patience, camaraderie and the ability to consider new perspectives.
“When Andre Struik and I team taught together at International Masters Day in Italy, we were still fairly new colleagues,” she explains “But the experience of that collaboration forever planted roots in our relationship that I will always cherish and respect, in addition to helping me truly appreciate how lucky I am to learn every day from my peers around me.”
Fethi has also taught at many events where he was paired up with another instructor he didn’t know very well, but he found that the results to be amazing when he and the other instructor had different teaching styles.
Planning a Paired Ride
Corinne Oravetz and Kristen Rutherford, two Spinning® Instructors out of Los Angeles, have co-taught many rides together, usually for charity events and holiday rides. Kristen says that Corinne is a “theme Queen,” so for them, planning the rides includes decorations and themed playlists that turn the event into an even more memorable experience.
As far as creating the profile and playlist, most instructors start by brainstorming on a theme or energy they want to capture. It’s a collaborative, creative process, just like the ride itself. Luciana attests that working with your partner to pinpoint what you want to convey in the ride fuels the playlist, profile and coaching language.
“The messaging of the ride will steer you each toward particular selections of music,” she says “I suggest each instructor create a folder with potential tracks. Then, get together to have a listening session.”
Creating a joint playlist doesn’t necessarily mean choosing one style of music. When Kristen and Corinne pair up for rides, their respective playlists tend to focus on different music genres. But they find that the members love the breadth of music through the class.
Another aspect of planning is deciding on the structure. You could have one person teach first and turn it over to the other half way through. Or you could alternate leaders every other song. This plan can help relieve some of the stress that comes with planning new rides every week. So if you ever have trouble looking coming up with a playlist or some more variety in class, look no further than your teammate for inspiration!
For Facilities, Every Class Becomes an Event
Many studios or facilities may balk at the idea of team teaching because it means that they’re paying two instructors in class. But there are just as many financial benefits to the facility. With two instructors co-leading an impactful ride like at events and tradeshows all around the world, studios can deliver unforgettable fitness experiences that will drive customer satisfaction and member retention.
“Team teaching gives the club something a little extra special and different to other clubs that don’t have, them which is a great marketing tool!” enthuses Mark Tickner, a Power Specialist Master Instructor in Virginia.
Corrine also sees team teaching as a solution for talent development. “Team teaching can allow a newer instructor to teach with a seasoned instructor and see the flow of a class,” she says. “It can be a little less nerve racking to have someone with you.”
As a group fitness director, Pat often pairs up an established instructor with a new one. “It allows new instructors to gain more experience, and it gives members the opportunity to experience an instructor they may not have otherwise seen.” So co-teaching with new instructors isn’t just helpful for newly certified coaches who are just starting out, it’s also hugely beneficial for studios too.
This year’s edition of WSSC—the World Spinning® & Sports Conditioning Conference in Miami from May 30 to June 2—will feature two examples of team teaching. Josh Taylor and Mark Tickner will pair up for the Zombie Ride, and Mauro Menna, Nestor Salinas and Fethi Grabsi will triple up for Latin Rhythm Explosion. Experience this team teaching for yourself, and bring the excitement of these special classes back to your facility!
If you have any tips for team teaching, share them in the comments below or on the Official Spinning® Facebook page!