Posted February 10, 2009on:
Hey team! You may or may not recall at the end of December I wrote a post stating that I’d done several classes as a participant in Auckland over the holiday period – noting specifically one class that was pretty, ummm, I think the word I used at the time was; “interesting”. I’m not going to name names but the instructor I was talking about would cue one set of movements and then stop and just wander back and forth on the stage and talk, and at most probably did a grand total of 20% of the class movements. What this meant was that anyone new (and even I found this as a couple of the tracks were very old) had significant trouble following what we were meant to be doing because there was no instructor to follow. The instructor would cue one combination then drop their hands and walk backwards and forwards on the stage talking about anything and everything (Christmas, partying, drinking, specific members – basically everything except the actual class!). The only thing I could put it down to (at the time) was laziness and I’ll be honest it got very frustrating. I’m sure I wasn’t the only one finding this, in fact Raina was there also and to quote her blog “I definitely had a more fun time taking my lead from him [meaning me] and PJ than I did from the actual Combat instructor”. But, in saying that the class was busy and many people seemed to be having a great time – so certainly there were people who weren’t finding this teaching style as frustrating as I – in fact many seemed to be enjoying it.
This got me thinking about the different types of instructors. Obviously because we all follow the key elements/guidelines set by Les Mills, and follow the chorry set by LM there are consistencies from class to class – but, different instructors have different styles of teaching. Here’s a couple of examples:
The Mongrel: I’d probably put myself in this category. This type of instructor is there to push you to the next level – and motivate you to go harder and further than you could go on your own. They use a tonne of motivational cues and phrases, yell, scream and do anything they can to ensure you leave that class happy yet exhausted. And, in reality they are probably there to get a great workout themselves as well so have a vested interest in pushing everyone in the class to the next level. The work their butts off with you at the same time so the entire class finishes strong and finishes hard. They most likely encourage you to yell and kiai, epitomise the Les Mills’ motto “Turn It Up!” and probably play the music loud and have their mic even louder!
The Entertainer: The “Entertainer” is the instructor who almost puts on a comedy show during the class. Constantly cracking jokes and having a laugh this genre is popular with a certain demographic and their motto to is ensure their participants have a ball during the class. On paper they may be ideally suited to programmes like BODYJAM they can of course can successfully teach any programme. They are great at connecting with their class, and probably tell a lot of stories and know a lot about their members. You may not get the best workout or the hardest workout, but you will have a great time and definitely come back for more! These instructors may well be full time, which means they aren’t necessarily there to get a great workout in themselves. Their members absolutely love them.
I’m sure there are other types that occur to you right away but these are the two classes that seem to be most common. Now not everyone is one or the other – they may be a combination of both (that’s probably ideal actually) or, they may be different instructors for different people. For example I tend to teach a 6am weekday class much differently from a 9:30am weekday class. Chances are the 6am participant is more hardcore, and has got their butt up that early to get a great workout in – whereas the 9:30am participant may be a mother looking for an hour of fun or an hour for themselves before going back to looking after their children – quite possibly this person doesn’t really want to be screamed at by a crazed instructor! It pays to bare that in mind!
Of course I’m generalising but you get my point.
The danger however, which is kinda where I was going with this post – is when you become too much of one genre and not enough of the other. The instructor I mentioned at the start of this post was definitely an entertainer. They talked non stop – and it was obvious they weren’t there to get a workout in themselves as they spent more time wandering around the stage chatting than they did training. This frustrated me – who was there specifically to get a great workout in. I left feeling a little discouraged and basically thought I may as well have stayed home and done the workout alone in my lounge!
But maybe I’m in the minority here? If you are a participant I’d be really keen to hear what do you expect from your instructor? What elements really make you want to come back? If you’re an instructor what category would you place yourself in? Food for thought anyway…