Don’t be afraid to teach

February 21, 2008 at 9:54 pm 4 comments

Don’t be afraid to teach.

Hmm…what ever could I mean?

Well…don’t be afraid to command the sessions you teach, drive the workout, cue what needs correction, develop the client’s future in Pilates. 

Don’t be afraid to teach.  It’s your job!

Command the session.  Well, with kindness you must direct your client to do what you want them to do within the realms of Pilates.  Why?  Because you’re the one with the knowledge and that’s what they’re paying you to do.  Your client is there to learn from you.  So…teach.  With kindness and grace.  With strength and authority.  Because you are the authority.

Use active verbs, command forms instead of passive verbs.  For example:

Do say this, “Scoop your powerhouse in and up” as opposed “Scooping your abs”.  Or “Lift your spine tall” as opposed to “Lifting tall”.


Drive the workout.  Your clients are coming to you for a workout.  That’s what Pilates is.  It’s not physical therapy, it’s not meditation, those things are great, but they’re not Pilates.  Pilates is a workout.  A workout at that clients’ level, designed for that client that day.  Still…a workout.  So, don’t be afraid to drive it with flow and strength.  Again, with kindness, we must demand that our clients move forward through transitions.  If there is conversation, we converse with the through-line of the workout always apparent.  Even if our client needs breaks because she is pregnant or he is elderly, the moments for breath are not full out coffee breaks…they are pauses in preparation to continue the workout.

Cue what needs correction.  Always state the good, but also give correction that will both improve your client’s form and ability to stabilize.  And repeat those corrections.  You must repeat your cues over and over again in every way possible:  With words, images, metaphors and hands on cueing.  If your client doesn’t improve by the last repetition, the onus is on you, the teacher.  You must teach in a way that the client improves from repetition #1 to repetition #5.  That does not mean that they get it perfect.  Perfection is impossible to achieve and we must never strive for that.  But we do strive for improvement!

Remember you’re not there to watch them workout.  You’re not there to count.  You’re there to help them get stronger and more supple, healthier and more fit.  You’re not there to babysit or pass time.  You’re there to teach!

Develop the clients future in Pilates.  You are the one who can see where your client needs to go physically and you can guide them there within the realm of Pilates.  So, craft the session and craft the ensuing sessions.  Plan the future for your client, leaving that plan open for change depending on the situation, but see the future.  If you’re working on the shoulder girdle…teach thematically by teach shoulder girdle cues in every exercise throughout the session and keep doing that for several sessions thereafter…5 or 10 or more until they are making strong strides in improvement.  Then…when they’ve got it in a good working way, you can start to layer on the next stabilization cue.  Develop their future by caring about the present and remember what you did so you can repeat it with them again and again until they get a great grasp of the work.

Don’t be afraid to teach.  It’s your job.  That is why your client is coming to you.  Not to be friends, not to hang out, not to hear about your life, but to exercise at her/his level with her/his particular physical limitations or expertise!

When you command a session with kindness and confidence, your client feels safe in your hands and knows that she/he’s getting exactly what she came for in Pilates.


As always, if you have any topic you would like me to blog about or any questions, please don’t hesitate to let me know!   Thanks!

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Classical Excitement! Hips Up…Shoulders Back!

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