Whenever I travel I like to schedule Pilates at a local studio. It’s an opportunity to connect with teachers, learn a few new exercises, and get a great workout.
On a recent trip to Palm Springs with six of my girl friends, I scheduled a group Pilates session with Johnny Miller of Absolute Pilates. We all absolutely (no pun intended) adored Johnny, and his class was an excellent workout! Johnny possesses two teaching skills I would like to highlight so we all improve our own teaching.
Quickly Size People Up
It an essential skill to be able to meet people where they are and quickly assess their needs. If you can size people up, then you can give each individual what they need in terms of encouragement, corrections, and challenges.
Several of my friends are Pilates experts and several had never done Pilates before. In Johnny’s class he gave some of us additional challenges while he gave others encouragement with tons of positivity.
Build Confidence then Build Precision
It’s important to know when to sacrifice precision for building confidence. Of course safety is the first priority in any session, but after safety communicate only as much precision as the individual can handle without becoming discouraged or feeling like they are doing everything all wrong.
One of my friends does not exercise and gets very intimidated by fitness. She says she feels like such a disaster that she thinks she will be kicked out of the class. But Johnny’s approach made her feel welcome, worthy, and capable.
We must remember that someone new to Pilates may be nervous and lack confidence. As a teacher we gravitate towards new students because we want to help them. But spending the whole class helping them through every exercise may create negative consequences. The student might be mortified by all the attention. After all, they did sign-up for a group class not a private session.
Finding the balance between prioritizing good form and building self-esteem is key.
During our session, Johnny demonstrated his ability to size people up and build individual self-esteem by making the judgement call on several occasions to encouraging instead of correct. My friend who was nervous about taking the class was told, “You’re doing a beautiful job!” This has to be a minute by minute assessment because when students are doing things that could be dangerous, correction is the clear choice. But for new clients it is nice to get a little bit of forgiveness.
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And as always, thank you so much for reading.
If you’re in Palm Springs, go see Johnny and the team at Absolute Pilates!