Using visualization and imagery coaching techniques to inspire your students allows you to connect with your students on a much deeper level. Part 1 discusses the immense power of using visualization. Part 2 will provide colorful examples of expanding your coaching language. Parts 3–7 will give specific cues for flats, climbs, high-intensity efforts, and warm-up and cool-down. You will never run out of things to say again!
One of our more popular series on ICA is a set of articles with various strategies for inspiring your students up long climbs. The series was called Strategy for Strength, and is one of the favorites we’ve done on ICA. One of the strategies was to inspire students to come up with a mantra that they repeat over and over to themselves as they climb. Of course, mantras aren’t just for climbing. I was inspired recently to come up with some for sustained tempo pace.
The next installment of our Creative Visualization and Imagery series focuses on coaching your riders to focus on their breath, how to connect their breath with their pedal strokes, and how to talk about pedal stroke dynamics. These are the tricks that help athletes ignore any possible negative thoughts such as doubt and fear, and lead them to success. While these are exceptional for sub-threshold intensity cueing (like endurance classes), they put your riders into the right mental space to take on higher intensities.
In this chapter, I discuss the use of metaphors and similes to add color and personality to your coaching. These spark your riders to be more creative and to use their imagination. They are an incredibly powerful coaching method and will set you apart from the typical bootcamp-style instructor who only shouts out commands, telling people specifically what to do. Here are 52 metaphors and similes to spice up your cueing.
The language techniques described here will help you to greatly expand your vocabulary, use different ways for expressing a similar idea, and will add color and excitement to your coaching. In part 1, I discussed the physiological effects of visualization and imagery techniques and how the mind doesn’t know the difference between a real or imagined event. Your creative cueing will take advantage of this fact to help guide them to higher levels of performance and success.
Part 2 of this series outlines the six steps to help you as you pursue your journey to develop your style as an instructor. When you become an authentic and inspirational coach, your students will remember your words any time they encounter challenges in their lives, physical or mental. I guarantee that when you do, you will hear comments such as, “because of you, I didn’t give up!”
This challenging mind-body profile (from my presentation at the 24-hour indoor cycling marathon) includes three long climbs with powerful and motivational cueing. Each climb is devoted to a different focus or emotion that cyclists feel when riding. The first climb is love; the second, soul or spirit; the third, feeling free. Each of the songs used in the climbs reflect these emotions.
Downtempo is my favorite genre because it gets into your soul. The words I use to describe this music are enchanting, hypnotic, immersive, meditative, mythical, introspective, mesmerizing, magnetic, ethereal, magical, seductive, earthly, other-worldly, bewitching, captivating, and present moment awareness. Have I got your attention yet? Let me teach you how to teach to this amazing genre of music!