When it comes to group ex, there's so much to learn and a lot of it only comes with experience. Here are my top 5 things that made a huge difference to my teaching career.
1. SAY NO
To the class, we don't want to take on, to the crap rates from some facilities, to the person who gave a positive PAR-Q and we don't think we are insured to teach, we constantly feel under pressure to say yes. I think it's a general human quality that is magnified because we feel genuinely lucky to be doing a job we love. The thing is, it is still a job which pays our bills and hopefully affords us a social life with the people that we love. If it's not worth prepping the class, driving to the venue, teaching the class and then driving home all for £20 then it's not worth it end of. And as for the PAR-Qs..... I know we want to be inclusive and I know we hate turning people away, but if you're not insured and you're not comfortable then you're going to have to get used to it. It is just part and parcel of the job.
2. CUT CLASSES WITHOUT BEATING MYSELF UP FOR 3 MONTHS BEFOREHAND We all know this one right.... a year ago this was the busiest class on our timetable, now no-one wants to know. It's a tough one to get our heads around but we have to learn to do it and move on. Yes some of our participants will be sad but it's weighing up how much you are prepared to let that affect your income, your self-confidence and your love for the job.
3. HOW TO DEAL WITH OCCASIONAL ASSHOLE THAT INSISTS ON STANDING IN FRONT OF YOU EVERY CLASS
This is the kind of situation that everyone develops a different coping strategy for... there is no right or wrong. For me it's polite banter.... after all it's my class and I'm the boss right?
A few years ago I turned up to cover Zumba at a club I hadn't been to before. This woman came up to me and actually sneered 'Well I hope you're good, Mary is amazing'. Now I was outraged that anyone could go out of their way to try to make someone feel small, so I smiled at her with eyes like death and I said 'Lucky for you I'm frigging awesome' and I walked off to set my music up. Some people are just a bit sad inside and let it out in the only way they know how, don't let them get to you. Hold your head high and crack on with your own magic.
4. HOW TO UNLEASH MY INNER PERSONALITY INFRONT OF A ROOMFUL OF PEOPLE I BARELY KNOW
Now I really think this is down to committing to the moment. Stop worrying about whether you know the choreo, whether Mary in the front row thinks you're a plonker or whether you might have just peed yourself a bit on that tuck jump. Live in the moment, be 75% of the person you are with your best people and have a ball. What goes down in the studio stays in the studio..... it's your stage and you are there to make them feel like it's their stage too.... if you can't lose yourself in the music how can you expect them to! It takes ages for some of us. To stop pretending to do it like other people.... and just be happy with the person that we are. But we all get there eventually. And if you don't, try imagining it's 11pm and you're a bottle of prosecco down. That might help!
5. RELAXING ON THE PREP
Each class doesn't have the content of a Broadway musical or a bodybuilding.com program. As long as your people are getting a good workout, learning a little something new every week or getting better at what they do know then your job is done. The aim of the game isn't to wow the fitness world with your prowess, it's to get your bodies the results they are after. Simples! And if you're not, get your head in some books.... upskilling is the route to avoiding getting stuck in a rut when it comes to class content and current training protocols!