Sharing A Client Between Teachers: Client Exercise Cards

June 17, 2012 at 7:45 pm 4 comments

Mr. Pilates and Clara Pilates with clients – from LIFE photo shoot

Several readers have requested I post my Client Exercise Card and system for notating what exercises your clients do, what versions of the exercises, when they started those exercises, special notes and more…so that clients can move between teachers seamlessly…always moving forward and never having to take a step back because they have a new teacher for one session, multiple sessions, etc.

When would this be necessary or helpful?  Well, I certainly encourage clients moving between several different teachers in a studio.  Remembering that for the most part, clients are coming for Pilates…not necessarily for a specific teacher.  That is what we want to encourage.  With that, when a favored teacher is absent or has a full schedule, we don’t have to tell a client “Sorry…no Pilates for you”…instead, you can feel confident as a studio owner or as a teacher in a studio to simply say “why not take with this other teacher.  She will know all of your exercises and be able to continue moving forward”.  Then clients can fit into the studio schedule.  Also…they appreciate that they are not beholden to a limited schedule.

What about independent contractors who rent space at studios or teach out of their homes…what if you go on vacation, take maternity leave, are sick, etc…then you can offer a substitute teacher who can, again, move your clientele forward.  You are providing a great service.

System of Client Cards:

Here’s how I do my system of Client Exercise Cards.  I didn’t create.  Others do this. The first Client Exercise Card I saw was at Drago’s in NYC.  Then, I used them consistently at Zoe Pilates in Pasadena who must have learned it in Drago’s as well.  Zoe’s notations were particularly organized which really led me to how I do it today.  I’ve made some refinements on the cards over time, but it’s lineage is straight from what I found at Drago’s and Zoe.

In my own studio, The Vertical Workshop, I had a few teachers and several apprentices teaching at most times.  Clients would bop back and forth between everyone…always able to get a session.  Even apprentices could feel confident.  I would tell both teachers and apprentices that it’s absolutely acceptable to hold card-in-hand when teaching…to make sure you know which exercises and versions of exercises the client does.  then you’re never doing the horrible “Umm…do you do ‘Short Spine’?  Do you do ‘Pull Straps’?”  Nothing makes a client more  uncomfortable than a teacher who lacks confidence.  So, here’s another way to have confident teachers and comfortable clients:

Example of Client Exercise Cards:

Below is a filled out card.  You can see the client’s name, start date at the studio, which exercises she does, modifications or variations, springs, date she started those exercises…and…most importantly any notes on injuries, ailments, personal information that the teacher needs to know before even starting with the client.  Teachers should look at the inside page “Comments” first.  Then he will already have information that will inform him to why there are modifications.

So…first look at the notes…then look at the exercises, modifications, dates learned. Note that this printed on both sides of a single sheet of paper, so the first photo is pages 4 and 1, then the next are pages 2 and 3.

Page 1 – Name, Date, Reformer

Page 2 – Comments, Additional Apparatus

Page 3 – More Additional Apparatus

Page 4 – Mat

Client Card Pages 1 and 4

Client Card Pages 2 and 3

If you look at the Comments, you’ll see information about how lovely and strong this client is, as well as information about her scoliosis, left shoulder/rotator cuff, need for technique, and compression of lumbar spine.

Then you go to peer at the reformer and see the date she started at the studio…and see she was elsewhere before…and take a look at her exercises, modifications, dates of new exercises.  Look at Reformer, Mat and then all additional apparatus and extra information.

This client had a considerable history before she came to my old studio…but you can see how it works.  There are multiple handwritings on this card…clearly different teachers were working with her   And, indeed, this wonderful client (whose name has been removed from the card for the purpose of this article) while she studied primarily with me, she also took sessions with many other teachers at my studio either because of scheduling issues from time to time or because I would go away to teach workshops.

Here’s another wonderful client from my old studio:

Client Card 2 Pages 1 and 4

Client Card 2 Pages 2 and 3

You can see by this card, that because this client only worked with me, I didn’t put dates in.  I ought to have, but I saw her 2 or 3 times a week and had a good handle on what we were doing, why and how.  With that, what I’d like for you to see here is that I never erase any of the notes even if they don’t apply for the moment.  I keep the record of the client by crossing out what is no longer necessary, but can always see the progress by never erasing information from the past.

So…

Comments
View them first -and never let your client see the inside of her card…or any of her card.  There is no need and sometimes those notes are about the client’s personality.

Exercises- 
Check Marks – A check mark next to the exercises they’ve done on Reformer and Mat

Additional Apparatus – List in pencil

Dates Learned – write in the dates a client learned a new exercise then you and other teachers know how long the client’s been doing them and you have an idea of what to expect from that client.

Modifications or variations – write in modifications or variations so the teachers know which version to use.

Keep all notes…cross a line through unnecessary versions, but do not erase past notes.

Now, here is an unmarked card that you may use…just download this pdf and print it on one page (front/back):   Client Exercise Card (Blank)

Organizing Client Cards in your studio:

Organizing is pretty straight ahead.  I had a file cabinet where I kept all client cards alphabetized.  Teachers took the cards before each session to review, updated them and then put them back afterwards.  If they didn’t have time to update them right away, they would keep them to the side, update them at the end of their shifts and then put them away or I would put them away.  Pretty simplistic.

Simplistic and Wonderfully Useful!

How to Make This Happen and Work:

Then it takes the studio owner setting up an environment and culture within the studio that supports sharing clients between teachers. This must be discussed with prospective teachers during an interview.  The process must be taught to the teachers…how you want it to go in your studio.  You must not assume that those that you work with will behave the way that you wish…so you must be confident and caring enough to have conversations of how you would like this interaction to go.  I suggest that a studio ask all teachers, reception and management to share with new clients, especially, that they are encouraged to work with multiple teachers.  While you are quite certain that the client will find one or two that he feels most comfortable with, that before sticking with one, he venture and try several.  That, as I had mentioned earlier, all of the teachers will always know what exercises you do and don’t do so that you will always move forward.

With that, the teachers in a studio must always support each other while with a client.  Even when a teacher doesn’t agree with a choice another teacher has made with one client…the teacher must never let the client know.  The teacher ought to have communication directly with the other teacher or with management as a bridge to talk about why a certain choice was made.  In the end, you both don’t have to agree, but you do have to support your client and try not to “throw the each other under the bus” or slight each other in front of a client.

And then, these cards must be used…continuously.  A regular habit.

Within each studio whether you own it, are an employee, an independent contractor or something else…creating A Community of Help”, as I call it, is the goal.  This is just another tool towards that!

As always, if you have specific questions, please reach out to me. Let’s do a consultation session about this or any questions you have regarding Pilates and your clients.  I am grateful for the time you have spent reading this…

Workshops:

Register early and bring your teacher friends for workshops that exceed your normal expectations. It’s time you really got what you need from workshops…I work to provide! Your time and money are precious. Let’s give you what you need.

See full details below for:

San Francisco, CA – POT- July 14 & 15 – see discount info


Pensacola, Florida – July 27-29


Hamburg, Germany – August 4


New York, NY – Aug. 19

Sao Paolo, BRAZIL – early Sept.


Boston, MA – POT – Sept. 15 – see discount info

Iasi, ROMANIA – Oct. 26-28



Sweden (in the works) – likely early Nov. (New date)


Madison, CT – Nov. 11

(and more to follow!)

 

 

July 13-15 in San Francisco, CA – Pilates on Tour

Saturday, July 14 –

Morning Mat Class – 1hr

Beyond The Everyday: Archival Apparatus on the Apparatus – 3hrs

3PMA CECs

Joseph Pilates created somewhere between 500-600 exercises. You know some of the repertoire…it’s time to learn more. In this workshop, you will learn rarely seen and immediately useful exercises on multiple apparatus (Mat, Reformer, Cadillac, Wunda Chair, Standing Arm Springs) all created by Joseph Pilates. You’ll leave feeling confident in the purpose and technique of teach exercise, have time to do exercises, practice teaching and ask questions. You’ll walk away with your own special archive of exercises for your strong intermediate clients…and yourself!

Sunday, July 15 –

Morning Mat Class – 1 hr

Archival Mat and Standing Exercises

3PMA CECs

There are many more versions of Mr. Pilates’ exercises than we see today. Variations, modification, combinations of multiple exercises in one! Fascinating, challenging and all the rest! These versions should not just live in the memories of those of us who had access to them years ago. They ought to be living, breathing exercises for those who need the modification or challenge! Experience this material, then teach it so we never lose track of these great exercises!

Click HERE for more information and registration.

POT Discounts:

If you register using my code, you can get $50 off of registration at any POT.

$50 Discount Code: SHARITOUR12

The discounts must be used when registering and are valid for any Pilates on Tour in 2012.

 

 

July 27-29 – Pilates Core Training – Pensacola, Florida (Northern)

Though we’re still considering some fine details, it appears to be:

Friday, July 27 – Evening

Sessions:  Privates and Semi-Privates

Saturday, July 28

Mat class

Back Problems:  C1 to Coccyx 2 or 3 hours

Mysterious Aches and Pains 2 hours

Archival Mat &Standing Exercises – 3 or  4 hours

Sunday, July 29

Mat class

Pelvic floor 1or 2 hours

Pregnancy 2 or 3 hours

Advanced Classical Pilates Reformer w/transitions 3 or 4 hours

Contact Barbara Bruni at Pilates Core Training for additional information and registration:  ph: 850-287-5836; bhbruni@aol.com

 

 

August 4, 2012 – Studio 1880 – Hamburg, GERMANY

2 Semi-Private Sessions

Beyond The Everyday: Archival Exercises on the Apparatus – 3 hrs

3PMA CECs

Joseph Pilates created somewhere between 500-600 exercises. You know some of the repertoire…it’s time to learn more. In this workshop, you will learn rarely seen and immediately useful exercises on multiple apparatus (Mat, Reformer, Cadillac, Wunda Chair, Standing Arm Springs) all created by Joseph Pilates. You’ll leave feeling confident in the purpose and technique of teach exercise, have time to do exercises, practice teaching and ask questions. You’ll walk away with your own special archive of exercises for your strong intermediate clients…and yourself!

Flow & Rhythm – 2 hrs

2PMA CECs

Flow is much more than moving quickly through a list of exercises. Let’s figure out what flow is and how to create it within each move, reception and exercise. Flow has a lot to do with how you think of the workout and how you use your voice to set rhythms, give accents and emphasize certain points of each exercise. It will change your teaching for the better.

Mat Class of Flow & Rhythm – 1hr

1 CEC

 

Here is the studio’s announcement:

Special Guest- Workshoptag mit Shari Berkowitz am 04.08.2012 im Studio 1880 in Hamburg!

Am 4. August 2012 wird Shari Berkowitz im Studio 1880 unterrichten. Ich freue mich sehr, dass wir es geschafft haben Shari endlich nach Deutschland zu holen. Neben einer Advanced Matclass unterrichtet sie folgende Workshops, Archival Exercises – Beyond Everyday und Classical Pilates it is a workout – Flow and Rhythm, unterrichten. Wer möchte kann auch an einer der zei Semi- Privates teilnehmen. Die Unterrichtssprache ist englisch.

 

We have limited space available! Registration starts on the 16th of april. Open to all teachers of all levels and all schools! Course language will be english.

For more Information regarding pricing, lodging, travelling, CECs etc. please call Power Pilates at +49 40 52570172 or e-mail us info@powerpilates.de. We are happy to answer your questions.

 

 

August 19 – Form Pilates – New York, NY

11a-6:30p

BioMechanics: How Our Bodies Really Work and How to Cue That Reality – 6hrs

6PMA CECs

While your physical intuition is an important asset in teaching Pilates, intuition is not enough. To sincerely take care of your clients, you must know the truth of how the body works. Cue the reality, not the myths or mistakes. Being a confident teacher depends on it…demands it. We’ll work to understand the biomechanics and functional anatomy surrounding the pelvis, spine, shoulder girdle and how to apply this information to your teaching. Knowing and understanding is the only way.

To register or for more information, contact Lindsay at formpilates@yahoo.com

 

 

September in Sao Paolo, BRAZIL – Much information to come.

 

 

September 14-16 in Boston, MA – Pilates on Tour

Saturday, September 15

Morning Mat Class – 1hr

Beyond The Everyday: Archival Exercises on the Apparatus – 3hrs

3PMA CECs

Joseph Pilates created somewhere between 500-600 exercises. You know some of the repertoire…it’s time to learn more. In this workshop, you will learn rarely seen and immediately useful exercises on multiple apparatus (Mat, Reformer, Cadillac, Wunda Chair, Standing Arm Springs) all created by Joseph Pilates. You’ll leave feeling confident in the purpose and technique of teach exercise, have time to do exercises, practice teaching and ask questions. You’ll walk away with your own special archive of exercises for your strong intermediate clients…and yourself!

Archival Mat and Standing Exercises – 3hrs

3PMA CECs

There are many more versions of Mr. Pilates’ exercises than we see today. Variations, modification, combinations of multiple exercises in one! Fascinating, challenging and all the rest! These versions should not just live in the memories of those of us who had access to them years ago. They ought to be living, breathing exercises for those who need the modification or challenge! Experience this material, then teach it so we never lose track of these great exercises!

Click HERE for more information and registration

POT Discounts:

If you register using my code, you can get $50 off of registration at any POT.

$50 Discount Code: SHARITOUR12

The discounts must be used when registering and are valid for any Pilates on Tour in 2012.

 

 

Oct. 26-28, 2012 – Iasi, ROMANIA – Pilates Convention

The workshops are not set, yet, but date, presenters and location are! Are you in a neighboring country…come to Romania for great workshops and workouts!

Here is what they wrote in their Facebook:

www.pilates-convention.com gets bigger this year!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Get also functional and well burned out with aerobics. The new theme of instructors are waiting you on 26-28 October: Shari Berkowitz, Orlando Fit Lopac, Mirela Anic, Giorgio Radici, Antonella Riviera, Mirjan DoubleTrouble, Laura Wilson, Gil Lopes, Paula Drosescu, Tatiana Chesalina, Judith Szereday, and more.

We’ll invite you to learn how to take care of the spine, of the hole body, of the mind, how to have fun with the kids teaching them how te exercise, special population trainings, and so many other things!!!

Looking forward to see you at the convention!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

In a wihle we’ll up-date the location, prices and shedule!

Thill then, don’t make other plans for 26-28 october, 2012!!!!

I’ll post more information when I get it to share with you!

 

 

Early-Nov. – Sweden (in the works)

All Dates and Information TBA! Check back soon!

 

 

Nov. 11, 2012 – Pilates Barn – Madison, CT

All information TBA – Check back soon!

**************

And so many more workshops to come…we can do one at your studio, too!

 

****Please share this information and tell your Pilates teacher friends and colleagues to come on over for workouts and workshops that will get your Pilates-teaching-juices flowing.****

Again, these are not your typical workshops where you might get 1 useful tidbit. You will leave full of new teaching skills and ways to look at Mr. Pilates work. You will have a new perspective on Pilates that will enliven your teaching and your own workouts!

Shall we set up something at your studio or the one you work at? Clearly, I travel to teach and enjoy it! Read below for more info!

Workshops in Your Studio:

If you are interested in my teaching workshops and/or semi-private sessions for your teachers at your studio, please contact me at info@TheVerticalWorkshop.com

I’ll be thrilled to put together a program with you for your needs!

While my vocabulary of exercises is classical Pilates, the principles behind my teaching and workshops apply to every style of Pilates.

We have countless topics to play with within technique workshops, biomechanics and functional anatomy workshops and teaching skills workshop that apply to all!

*******

Sessions:
If you’re in NYC and want a Pilates session e-mail me at info@TheVerticalWorkshop.com

Workshops:
If you’d like a workshop and/or semi-privates at your studio, e-mail me at info@TheVerticalWorkshop.com I travel all over the world and would be thrilled to come to you!

Consultation:
If you’d like to set up a meeting on the phone or in person to ask questions about teaching or building/maintaining your business, e-mail me at info@TheVerticalWorkshop.com

*******

Thank you, as always, for taking the time to read this blog! I hope you’ll search around the blog and find articles that appeal to you, write comments, ask questions…I hope you’ll really make use of this! Then…I do hope to work with you in person, too!

Enjoy!

– Shari

Entry filed under: Uncategorized.

Dystonia – Let’s Learn! Independence Through Pilates…

4 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Michele Hayes  |  June 17, 2012 at 9:42 pm

    Hi Shari,
    Always have liked the idea of note taking on clients, if not for the benefit of other instructors but for myself. Sometimes I see so many different clients and if they are not consistent with their classes, I tend to forget what exercises were done on the last session. Very helpful to have notes. Thanks for the info.
    MH

    Reply
  • 2. lizazmail  |  June 17, 2012 at 10:32 pm

    This would have been very helpful in a studio I worked at, we did not have such a simple and efficient system to work from and clients were reticent to switch trainers. You are absolutely right, it allows for seamless transition from one instructor to the next and after all we are there for the client’s needs.Thank you for sharing this wonderful tool with the community!

    Reply
  • 3. Dolly Kimbro  |  June 18, 2012 at 11:00 pm

    I was fortunate to have worked in a studio that utilzed this type of system. I love your version – do you have a listing of the other apparatus excercises or do you just write them on the second page? Thank you for sharing this valuable information – I appreciate you!

    Reply
  • 4. The Vertical Workshop's Pilates Teacher Blog  |  December 6, 2012 at 10:22 pm

    […] Sharing A Client Between Teachers:  Client Exercise Cards […]

    Reply

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