New Teachers Teaching Skills

Learn to Organize Teaching Cues (Try these Flashcards)

September 17, 2017

It’s tempting to try to cue every correction, in each single repetition. But not only is this a mouthful, it’s also difficult for clients to understand what to focus on.

Instead, try to cue something new for each repetition of the exercise. This way the client receives additional information about technique.

I’ve created some flash cards that you can download below to help you begin organizing your cues and corrections.

Before the first repetition, start by giving the exercise name, spring and equipment adjustments, and describe the start position. Then explain the “What” of the exercise or what the client needs to do to get moving. This will give the client necessary positional and movement directions, or the basic step-by-step breakdown of the exercise.

Next, cue the “How” and “Why,” using lots of descriptions of the muscles that should be working, exercise goals, and explanation of why the exercise is beneficial.

Here is a video demonstration of a students attempting this strategy. This video was their first attempt at organizing their cues in this way. I was blown away by the immediate positive changes in their cueing.

“Thinking this way gives me a deeper understanding of the structure, purpose, and essence of the exercise,” commented a students who tried this technique.

Download and print your own copy of our cue cards (PDF): PracticeTeachingFlashcards


1) You can see the teacher begins with the first flashcard by saying:
Exercise Name
Adjust Springs & Equipment
Describe Start Position
Cue Basic Movement

Now, the teacher has the students moving and generally doing the exercise. So she flips to any of the other flashcards.

2) Give One Student a Personal Correction The teacher looks at her students and offers one individual an way to refine her movement. “Control your ribs.” Clients love to feel like they are getting attention. Plus as a new teacher it’s hard to remember to look at the clients when your trying to do so many other things.

3) Cue Goal of the Exercise Why are you having the students do this exercise? What is the point? Telling students what the goal is will help them know where to focus their attention.

4) Cue Muscles: Stabilizers and Mobilizers What should be stabilizing? What should be mobilizing? Reminding client what where they should be feeling the work will help them pay attention to those harder to feel muscles.

5) Cue Pelvic Alignment It is always a good thing to remind client to check their pelvic alignment. Often the difference between them feeling an exercise and not feeling anything is as simple as reminding them to use the abs to stabilize their pelvis in neutral or imprint.

6) Cue A Principle The instructor in the video cues Breathing Principle. Anytime you remind client to focus on a principle, you get a better quality of movement.

Now, it’s your turn to give it a try. Let me know what you think.

Good Luck, happy teaching!

  • Reply
    Raquel Stratton
    August 26, 2018 at 2:35 pm

    Love this idea! Going to try it.

    • Holly Furgason
      Holly Furgason
      September 23, 2018 at 11:59 am

      Awesome Raquel! Good luck with your practice 🙂

  • Reply
    June 26, 2018 at 1:39 pm

    This is amazing!! I always get nervous with what to say so having an organization to my thoughts is extremely helpful! I cant wait to try this.

    • Holly Furgason
      Holly Furgason
      July 6, 2018 at 7:01 am

      Hi Karolyn.

      Thanks for reading and the comment! It’s so normal to get nervous. Having a plan ahead of time for what to cue will help you when nervousness tries to get the best of you. Let me know how this goes in your practice!

      Happy teaching!


  • Reply
    Megan Amal Rogers
    May 7, 2014 at 10:38 pm

    This is a such a helpful suggestion!
    It is tempting to unload all of your knowledge at the get-go, but as a student it’s true that this can be quite overwhelming.
    It is also easy to get stuck when you don’t pace yourself. Taking the time to give information when it will be most beneficial to students is an important skill.
    The student teachers in the video are impressive in their knowledge, professionalism, and confidence.
    Thanks for sharing!

  • Reply
    Ambyr Dawson
    February 27, 2014 at 2:35 pm

    This is incredibly helpful. This is the way I was trained as a student and helps me in being a more efficient and understandable trainer. It is challenging as we learn so much, to curb our excitement and knew found knowledge, when practicing and perfecting our rhythm when training and educating our clients.

    • Holly Furgason
      Holly Furgason
      March 6, 2014 at 3:08 am

      I’m so happy to hear that the flash cards will be helpful for you!

  • Reply
    February 18, 2014 at 12:22 am

    This is a great idea! I always try to give too much information in one exercise which wastes my time because at the end I have to break it down since it is hard for students to focus on one thing.

    • Holly Furgason
      Holly Furgason
      February 18, 2014 at 5:48 am

      Yes absolutely! We can only process so much at a time, so it’s like you’re taking all the information and breaking it down into little bite sized packages.

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