Continuing our series on Educating Your Students, Christine gives some suggestions about how to use non-cycling examples to help students understand cycling technique and what they should be feeling while pedaling, both intensity-wise as well as understanding the pedaling movement. She does this primarily through storytelling in her profiles, although that’s not a prerequisite of the method. Christine is an expert at this technique and has been extremely successful educating her students.
In this series on educating your students, Bill, Tom, and Jennifer have made it clear that there are many approaches to pass information on to your students. I have worked hard to find formats that make complex and sometimes dry material palatable to a wide range of learners. In doing so, I have had to rise above the delivery techniques that I was exposed to in college and grad school and have learned to create various types of theatrical productions—think of them as drama, comedy, action/adventure. I then have developed a persona that allows me to offer the scenarios in ways which engage my students. At no time, however, do I disguise the fact that I am delivering an educational experience and my classes know that I expect them to be attentive and to use the information I provide.
A good example of this can be seen in my Hounds of Halloween profile. In a comment about that profile, Ramiro Morejon wrote:
I love the hidden training purpose of it. I found interesting the fact that when on regular basis I try to describe road conditions, people do not usually engage very well. Yet with this story the game changed. The feeling of running back to the house, pedaling on the water, climbing the stairs to to roof of the house, all those elements changed the feeling of the ride for the participants!
I taught it 3 times this week. This morning something interesting happened. Even though I explained the nature of the ride, there were 2 rude people who had me stopping my story telling at one point and asked with bad manners to play “Spinning music.” I was very pleased with the reaction of the rest of the group. They appreciated it, and lectured those two individuals.
One participant said at the end: “I have not taken vacation for a while. This was my vacation trip, my adventure. It was great. Thank you!”
I was delighted when I read those words. Ramiro saw the philosophy behind the silliness. Most participants in indoor cycling classes do not ride outside. As a consequence, while they are happy to play along as we describe hills and flats and cycling tactics like attacks or pacelines, they have not felt those things in their own bodies. This makes it difficult for them to evaluate whether they are experiencing what we are attempting to create for them.
More in this series on educating your riders:
Should Indoor Cycling Instructors Educate Our Riders? Part 1
Educating Your Students, Part 2: Using Humor, Metaphors, and Analogies
How to Educate Your Riders, Part 3: How to Teach Without Being “Teachy”