One of the most common topics of discussion at WaterART Fitness workshops is “How can I get people to pay attention or stop talking during my class”.
Many people NEED to socialize and interact with other people;
especially those people who live alone. This may be their time out to
meet and make friends in a non-threatening environment. Water exercise
may be more social than land exercise or people may feel that they are
simply young again.
There is no perfect formula for
designing a "cohesive " group exercise program. But we need people to
become "regulars" at our aquatic fitness classes.
with a variety of skills and personalities may be a challenge for even
the most seasoned instructors. It is OK (and natural) for people to talk
from time to time during the program but you do not want constant
chatter which makes it difficult to hear instruction. It is the job of
an instructor to set a friendly atmosphere for the class but it is also
that same Instructor's job to keep people engaged and moving to help
everyone gain the most from each exercise by creating a positive and
enjoyable experience . Yet so many instructors allow a few constant
talkers to sabotage a program to negate this experience for the many.
One of the reasons people start talking is that they lose sight of the Instructor. An Instructor
should always maintain a teaching position facing the class to be able
not only to see if the participants can follow the exercise
demonstrations but also to incorporate more change of travel direction
into every program. Don't let participants turn their backs to you. If
the class has travelled forward then cue to walk backwards. Changing
from walking forward to walking backwards uses the inertia current to
immediately engage the core, challenge balance and begin strength
training for the weak musculature that "follows" in forward movement.
This is functional training and a better use of valuable pool time. If
you allow people to work with their back to you they cannot see what you
are demonstrating so they loose focus and start to talk.
also a safety issue You need to watch faces to see if anyone is
getting red in the face or growing pale, noticeably slowing down,
grimacing or simply drifting into unconsciousness because of forgetting
to take medication. It is your responsibility as an instructor to pick
up on any of these signs., which, if you have to compete with constant
talking, might go unnoticed.
Here are 10 more ideas that may help people get moving and not standing around and just chatting
Don't do the same program every time you teach the same class. You can
use the same moves but mix them up. If the participants know what is
coming they don't need to pay attention.
# 2. Travel more - add travel patterns even if there is only room to take a few steps in each direction.
the inertia currents (see above mentioned benefit). Try side to side -
circles and diagonal movements - stop suddenly to do a body posture
check. Talkers will get a surprise when the currents knock them off
#3. Use one move but change working
position or put two or three moves together for a combination using 3
different working positions. Everyone must pay attention to the changes
of the body positions create with the water. Neutral means no bouncing
so anyone "caught " without their water necklace on or without their
shoulders submerged may feel slightly embarrassed.
#4. Teach a "new exercise" include in the warm up and then repeat with more
ROM, different direction or working position through the conditioning
segment. Again, this requires paying attention to detail.
Change the style of class - if you have been more of a military style
instructor then add more dance moves. Conversely, if you love to dance -
change your persona into a Sergeant of the Troops (aka Noodle Boot
#6. Provide more challenging exercises that
require even more attention to detail - for example use JAX arms with
cross country legs then change to Cross country arms and JAX legs.
#7. If talking still remains a problem turn off the music - keep teaching and see how long it takes before this is noticed.
Sing - you cannot sing and talk - so if you use muscle always put in a
few recognizable songs for people to sing - point out this is the TALK
#9. Pick a volunteer (someone who you know will
help you willingly) to show a favorite exercise. Then chose a talker to
show their favorite exercise. When they do the "I don't know" shrug
it is your chance to say "Oh you want to target the Rhomboids!" Then
demonstrate the thumbs up reverse breaststroke move and say - "Let's do
#10. Add a games Playing games – especially the
“team” type are perfect for this group. They have to move to keep up
with the “team” but at the same time they can shout instructions, laugh,
cheer, offer words of encouragement AND talk to their friends.
all else fails - Have a competition to see who can go the longest
without speaking or simply ask everyone why they come to class?
The number one rule for an Instructor is to Take Charge
- in other words, be the master of your game - talk louder and with
more authority than your chatters. Good luck and keep everyone moving
towards better health!
If you have other ideas on how you can help people move and stop talking Email Us
Full PDF of Article click here
Additionally Check out Some of Our Educational DVDs
DVD067 - Shallow H20 Boot Camp with Tubing
DVD068- Team Work, Partners & Games
DVD071 - Shape Up and Water Train (2 DVDs)
DVD079 - Move to Health with Walking (2 DVDs)
DVD095 Noodle Boot Camp (2 DVDs) click here