Do you love Yoga or Pilates? Want to share your love with others? Now you can. If you’ve never thought about teaching a class before, don’t sweat it. It’s nowhere near as difficult as your last workout. Here’s how to get started.
You need to be good at what you do before you can teach others. So, before attempting to teach a class, make sure you are excellent. You should be able to explain concepts and poses or moves in a simple and straightforward manner, accurately describing muscle groups and structures involved in the movement without reference to a book or without mixing up or making serious material mistakes about what is happening with the person’s body.
While mistakes are possible, and even probable, you should have a good understanding of the human body. It’s likely that your students will be newbies and will need help with mindfulness and won’t understand their bodies as much as you understand yours.
While there is no hard and fast rule, it’s probably a good idea for you to have at least 5 years of intense focus and training in whatever you’re teaching.
Show Up Early
Always show up early for a class. As an instructor, you don’t want to be the one walking in late. For starters, your students are paying you to instruct them. So, it’s their time and money on the line. Secondly, it’s unprofessional to be late for a class.
If you’re not a punctual person, work on it. If you are a punctual person, this will be super easy for you.
Have a Plan
The best way to avoid stumbling over your words or looking unorganized is to have a generalized plan for the class. Now, you don’t need to have every little detail worked out, but you should have at least reference points marked out on notecards that you can refer to, or an outline of how the class will go.
Keep a small timer with you so that you can keep the class moving. Make sure this rubber gym flooring is put down on the floor, or have a plan for some kind of protective material – something that’s often overlooked by instructors but which could become a liability issue if someone falls on a hard floor without it.
Music – if you will have music, make sure it’s all queued up before class so that all you have to do is press “play.” You should not be fiddling with it at all when you get to class, not even just before class. Have that worked out the night before.
Finally, have a firm stop time so that people aren’t being held beyond the stated time listed on the flier or whatever you used to advertise for the class. This is respectful of both their time and yours.
Keep Things Light And Fun
Remember that this should be a fun activity. No one likes a drill sergeant. Your class should be inspiring, relaxed, and it should leave people better off than when they came walking in the door. So, even if you don’t do anything Earth-shattering during the class, your students should still love it.
Don’t take yourself too seriously, but do take your responsibility as an instructor very seriously. And, treat your class with respect, but don’t be too stiff or unapproachable.
Verbal cues are important. Some instructors, especially first-time instructors, make the mistake of not giving verbal cues for students. As a result, students don’t know when or how to move, they feel uncomfortable or alone, or isolated, in class – not good.
You should not have a problem giving verbal direction, and don’t forget to project your voice so that everyone can hear you.
Have a Followup Process
When the class is over, you should have a way to collect and assess peoples’ feedback about the class. How did it go? Do people want to come back? This information will help you alter and improve your class over time.
For example, if some people think that the class was too long, can it be made shorter, or can you offer another class that’s shorter for some people. You don’t have to cater to everyone’s wish, but do keep a tally of the number of people who express a certain opinion.
If 20 people out of 50 think something is wrong with the class, or have the same or similar suggestions for improvement, it’s worth considering. If just 2 or 3 people out of 20 have complaints, maybe the class just isn’t for them.
Jeff Powell has helped build and outfit hundreds of gyms across Canada. Notable clients include the Toronto Maple Leafs, the Canadian Armed Forces and professional UFC fighters. Over the years many gym owners have relied on his knowledge and experience renovating or building gyms from the ground up.