Pilates Teaching Tips 2
In the previous BASI Pilates™ newsletter we looked at the instructor’s TONE OF VOICE. The next concept that goes hand in hand with how you use your voice to convey the information to the client is WHAT are you’re actually saying. THE USE OF LANGUAGE.
We all know that cueing is the fundamental aspect for successful teaching, but what are you actually saying to the client so that their response is both enthusiastic and positive.
I cringe every time I hear an instructor say ‘Don’t’ or ‘No’ or any other demand that has a negative inclination. Like an army officer to its troops. Typically the type of person that does Pilates are people that want to do well and will respond to demands like those mentioned above. The thing is…not for long. It’s like they’ve done something very wrong and it creates a feeling of failure. Funny thing is… most of the time a client cannot do an exercise wrong; it just needs correction or more effective direction.
In my experience an instructor will get so much more out of a client when you cue words with a positive inclination and words of encouragement. The tone you set and the vibe you create in the class is positive and enthusiastic when cueing positively and your clientele then want to do well. They actually feel that they can do Pilates.
Let’s look at examples of words and phrases that are more effective when teaching.
‘Don’t do it like that’ rather use a phrase like ‘Good, now let’s try it again, this time try to…’
‘No, that is wrong’ a better phrase will be ‘Let’s try doing it this way’
‘O, my goodness, I don’t think you’ll ever be able to do this’ rather say something like ‘Yes, this is difficult, but it is a work in progress. We’ll keep on practicing it’
‘No, no, no!’ it’s better to say ‘The last one looked better, let’s try again’
On another note… Try not to ever use cues or phrases that have a religious or political connotation. It can put you in a very embarrassing situation.
When cueing positioning and movement steer away from using terms that involves slang language for certain body parts, e.g. boobs, bum or bra strap. You need to conduct yourself professionally at all times and that includes the use of words that can offend your clientele. Some words are just not professional in a studio environment.
Information overload is a common complaint from clients when starting with Pilates classes. We, as instructors want to give our clients the best we can offer and that at times result in over cueing movement. My advice is to priorities your cues. Decide what is important for that particular client on that specific day and focus on that, rather than cueing everything and the client feels totally overwhelmed with information. There will be time for you and the client to focus on all the aspects of movement in classes to follow.
Don’t you feel good when someone compliments you? Yes, you do! Now that is the same when cueing words with a positive inclination. Teach with a positive attitude and select your words thoughtfully. You have the power to make people feel great.
Remember a sense of humor also goes a long way.
Have fun teaching.
Theo van der Riet – Botha
BASI Pilates™ Principal Instructor