Sometimes it’s good to be creative in your cueing…but sometimes it’s better to stick with the basics

I have a student who has taught me the importance of keeping it simple. I love creative cueing, and 99% of my students are inspired by it. By I bet you have a student like mine…one who may not get your creative cues! Remember to pay attention to those student’s needs as well. This article tells you how.

I teach at a private club called The Alpine Club, at the Beaver Creek ski area, which caters primarily to a second home clientele who come up to the Vail area for skiing (or they’ve retired up here). The indoor cycling program has only just started for the season, and runs from November to May. Classes are discontinued while members ride outside in the summer. This is a very outdoor-oriented community!


  1. Thank you Jennifer for sharing this. Sometimes I feel that other clubs have eager participants with lots of road experience…definitely not the case where I teach. At my club, MOST of the participants do not ride a bike outdoors. Once I surveyed by a “show of hands” who had seen a mountain (we are on the Gulf Coast). Only about 1/2 had even seen a mountain and of course no one had tried to ride a bike on a steep climb. My cueing definitely needed tweaking. I still use the metaphors, however I learned to go back to the basics and talk about the “perceived exertion scale.” I also began to include other comparisons such as running on an inclined treadmill–what does that feel like, etc. And I always refer to heart rate though less than 5% wear one. For the most part the participants in my classes want to know what their “effort” is so I find multiple ways to motivate them in their “language/reference system.” Music definitely helps. One favorite of mine for intense work efforts (on a hill) is Titans. Increasing resistance during the chorus is a powerful motivator. I love the idea of creating a playlist of motivational songs–I keep a folder with those titles. I also like to end my class with “fun ending songs,” and have started that list as well. I’d love more ideas.

  2. You are so right. I love to use the power of the words in songs. I’ve been collecting these kinds of songs for years, and often used them at conferences. But you’ve given me an idea – I should compile them into a list of motivational songs and put it out to ICA members (and see how many are on Spotify). I’ll add that one to my list. Here’s another great one, Change Your Mind by Sister Hazel. If you know of any others, email me!

    Do YOU think you talk too much? What is the longest you’ve gone without speaking? Next time you are going to say something in a class, hold your breath for 30-45 seconds, then say it! That’s a good way to get more comfortable with longer periods of silence. Your students won’t know the difference in time, except that overall, you will be speaking less often. I wrote an article about talking less while coaching almost two years ago, I think it’s time to resurrect that article!

  3. One of my students told me that another student made the comment that I “talk too much”. I also read an article a while back about the fact that songs with positive words “believe”, “energize”, etc. really do inspire people to work harder. Therefore, I am starting to think that sometimes we can rely on the lyrics in our music to do the cueing for us. A good example is “My Body” from the “Young Giants”. Something to think about. Of course, every member has a different opinion, and you cannot please everybody, right!

  4. At this facility, the room is pretty small. She likes the fan right on her and no one seems to complain (and me, at the front of the room, I’m wearing my longsleeves for the first 10-15 minutes of class!). But there is another fan that oscillates, and it seems to be plenty for everyone. A few don’t like the fan, like me, and simply move their bike more forward out of reach of the oscillating fan.

    In your case, I think that person needs a gentle talking to. She doesn’t own the fan (don’t know if it’s a he or she but I’ll use she for simplicity), and she isn’t the only one in the room. People need a reminder that the club is trying to accommodate as many differing people’s needs as possible (that is, if they are). Is it the only fan? Management might want to get another one, especially a moving one, to accommodate more people.

  5. Great reminder!

    So, how do all of you handle the people who arrive early, position one (or more) fans directly on them and then scowl at others who attempt to move the fans?

  6. I am always searching for new ways to say the same old things to reduce boredom and repetitiveness. This is a good reminder that, sometimes, just being literal is a safe way to go. I am a speech therapist and have worked with special needs children. The strategies you are using are much the same – direct, short and to the point. I can feel your frustration and commend you for using it for growth!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *