Importance of Multi-level Group Classes
As I’m about to dive into my newest course 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. After all, 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 can improve your business. You will also see your clients truly learning the work and taking it with them for the rest of their life.
Original Work of Joe Pilates
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 abilities. 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 work out 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! How to grow your business, deepen your teaching skills, and a Pilatini® Night. Click here for more information.
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.
Well said Joel! Multi-level teaching just makes so much sense and it’s what will give our clients their desired results. And, it makes our job so much more rewarding, narrating movement does NOT “help them find their individual rhythm and flow in the work.”Thank you!
How does this work for mat classes?
Hi Ann-Maree, thank you for reading this post. That is a very good question. I know Joel will be covering this in more detail in his workshop but it’s similar to equipment. Each student has their own order and starts off and the instructor can guide them. No one is waiting for the teacher or the other students. Instead the do their exercise and the instructor corrects as needed:) however that’s been my experience and I’m sure there are many other ways to do it! If you can get to Atlanta in October it’ll be a great workshop! Xx~LL
Great question. This way of teaching actually works great for mat classes. I suggest having a printed list of the mat order that you can give to your clients. They can put their name on it and even take it home with them. Leave a place for them to write down notes for each exercise. This way this becomes their workout with you as the teacher. You will notice that by the 3rd or 4th exercise in the mat class, each client will start to find their rhythm and then you can start to guide them accordingly.
If this concept is new to the culture of your class you may have to do some “up-selling” to them at first. This is because now their brain is being exercised more as well.
If you have people that show up late sometimes for mat class, this way of teaching really helps as well. They simply get their list start their work from the beginning of the order; no stress that they came late. No one person ever holds up the class.
I love this idea. Group classes always stressed me out because I felt like I wasn’t able to help people progress. But now I have the concern that there is only one me and only so many 8ams in the week. I’d love to learn more!
I’ve got a group class webinar this Thursday (replay until Sunday) and then Joel is teaching this in person in Atlanta on 10/8!!