As I’m about to dive into my newest webinar on Group Pilates classes I thought it only fitting to have Joel Crosby owner of Vitality Method in Atlanta, GA shares the importance of multi-level group classes. Afterall, I know many teachers do not often have the space for group classes or perhaps you only have one piece of each apparatus? Offering group classes can be essential for getting more students in a room, offering options for clients to get more sessions in a week and for some at rates they can afford. But, are you limiting yourself by offering classes where everyone does the same exercises at the same time?
When teaching something as amazing as Joe’s work, it is only fair that you also empower your clients. Teaching this type of session can be challenging at first but realize that Joe did all the work for you. Teaching this way can take pressure off your clients to “perform” like others. Establishing this with your clients, and it can improve your business. You will also see your clients truly learning the work and taking it with them the rest of their life.
Establish this with your clients, and it can improve your business. You will also see your clients truly learning the work and taking it with them the rest of their life.
The original work of Joe Pilates is amazing and can be life changing for people of all fitness levels. As teachers, we care about our clients, and that is why we do what we do for a living. However, you cannot be there for them all the time. This is a key principle in successfully teaching a session with clients of various experience levels and ability. Our clients need to be able to apply and retain the movement principles that they learn in the studio. They need to be able to do the Mat work no matter where they go or where they are. A martial arts teacher cannot always be there for their student when the skills they learned need to be applied to a situation. You as a Pilates teacher cannot be there when your client is moving furniture, on vacation, performing or playing their sport. Over time the work must be part of them; it must be how they react and how they move now. This will not happen if their hand is held all of the time. It is your duty as a teacher to empower your students, and they will always come back to you.
Teaching this type of session can be challenging at first. However, everything has already been in place for almost 100 years to teach this way in your studio. Joe developed a progressive regimen of exercise on the Mat and the Reformer and addressed individual needs on the other apparatus. After some private sessions, clients could work out in his studio along with others. These would be supervised by Joe and other teachers working in the studio. This proven regimen was like what you would find in boxing gymnasiums at that time and even now. The progressive order of Joe’s exercises needs to be committed to memory and understood fluently by you as a teacher.
Clients that are less experienced or with less ability often feel intimidated by more experienced clients. This is particularly true when taught in the common “line-up choreography” style, and everyone is challenged to do the same exercises. More experienced clients must wait for less experienced clients to catch up and then there is no flow in the exercises for them. Less experienced clients may feel discouraged because they are holding up the class. Learning the valuable skill of teaching multi-levels at the same time will allow everyone to find their individual rhythm in the work with your guidance. If your studio has only one of each of Joe’s apparatus, this way of teaching will allow you to teach more than one person at a time. If you work in a busy studio and you have three clients, but there are not three reformers available, no worries, your clients can start with maybe two on the mat and one on the reformer. You will have the skills to smoothly teach and guide all of them.
If your studio has only one of each of Joe’s apparatus, this way of teaching will allow you to teach more than one person at a time. If you work in a busy studio and you have three clients, but there are not three reformers available, no worries, your clients can start with maybe two on the mat and one on the reformer. You will have the skills to smoothly teach and guide all of them.
Being able to teach multiple levels at the same time will allow for more clients to come in and workout at convenient times for them. You will not have a class just for beginners or just for advanced. After a client completes a number of private sessions you feel they need, they will be able to come in anytime and be able to join a group without time slot restrictions.
The most rewarding aspect of learning this skill set is seeing the difference in the progress of your clients. They will begin to truly learn the work and take ownership of their exercise regime and their health. Learning to teach this way will take some work at first. However, it will take your teaching ability to the next level. This is not an “open studio” scenario. You are still guiding your clients; quickly helping them find more depth in each exercise and helping them find their individual rhythm and flow in the work. The brain and the body will be working together more uniformly.
If you find yourself intrigued but have more questions that’s great! Join Joel October 8th for his workshop on Multi-Level Teaching (description below). And while you’re at it join Joel and me for a weekend of workshops to grow your business, deepen your teaching skills and a Pilatini® Night. Click here for more info and to snag your spot.
Big thanks to Joel for sharing this awesome tool of “multi-level teaching” with us this week. Below please comment or connect with Joel and his studio.
“Multi-Level Teaching” How can you teach a successful session to multiple people with various levels of experience? Teaching multiple level clients at the same time is challenging, but it can be done successfully. Learn key strategies in safely, effectively, and progressively teaching small groups of new and experienced clients simultaneously. You and your clients will feel empowered working the body and the brain.
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