Ask The Expert: How Can I Tell If My Class Is Too Easy or Too Hard? Part 1

Michele asks: I am a new instructor and I have a question. How can I tell if the class is too hard or too easy for the riders?

This is such an excellent question, Michele, one that will help many instructors, both brand new to teaching as well as seasoned instructors with many years under their belts. 

I’m going to give a brief answer for the short term in this post, and a more in-depth answer for personal growth as an instructor (who hopefully wants to be more of a coach) in part 2. In fact, I am going to give you homework at the end of this article.


  1. I thank you for this timely article, Jennifer. We’re none of us so “seasoned” that we know it all ….. something I like to remind my class members of from time to time when some overly self-confident jokester offers up a veiled criticism if it’s perceived that I’m spending too much time on “education”.

    I think it’s good for those brand new to teaching to be aware that it’s almost impossible to satisfy everyone (or even anyone) in class 100% of the time, even though in theory the “elites” should be able to gain benefit from the same class as the relative newbies. In reality, I think a gen-U-ine “elite” rider could…’s the elitists that’re the problem.

    We’ve had such iffy weather here this past Spring that my well planned classes have become a bit haphazard……with folk who’ve decided to dump the indoor stuff returning when the weather turns nasty. Now, as much as I like to use professional training formats for my basic teaching tools, I happen to prefer to pitch my stuff to the enthusiastic amateur…….or better yet, the new-to-fitness regular person who’s intimidate by walking into a <> SPINNING class. Whilst I don’t try to turn my classes into a physics and physiology lecture, I do try to spend an extra few minutes during warm-up, recoveries etc. on giving a bit of info on the why and the how in order to compliment the what and the when……the better for everyone to squeeze max. benefit from 40 mins or so spent sitting on a glorified log-splitter and listening to my music.

    I’ve had a couple of incidents of late where I sensed a bit of frustration with my efforts to ease the newbies into the role of Athlete-In-Training coming from elitists and Libertarians who’ve become weather related one-night-standers for the season. I feel bad that yesterday, I resorted to pointing out that for someone such as myself who’s very fluent in English, it would be a bit of a waste of time to attend an ESL class and then be bothered if I was frustrated by the low level conversational content

    Well, I don’t feel that bad…….but you get my drift, right??. At least, it beats “Will you look at yourself!!?!


  2. some great points here, Jennifer ! And some good “homework” questions. I’m copying them to keep as a self-evaluation every now and then.

    I am fortunate that I was a member of some of the classes I now instruct. So, some of the riders are friends of mine, and I would ask some of them that I trusted to be honest with me, if the class was too easy or too hard. They are pretty helpful and I appreciate their input.

    most frequent answer?

    “pant …pant … pant …. I’ll let you know if it’s too easy. LOL

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