We were all beginners at virtually everything we’ve done in our lives at one point.
Some things come easily for us, other things are more challenging. Some things we learn in one or two sessions, others can take multiple sessions, even weeks or months before we feel comfortable.
But when we are really good at something, when we can do it automatically without consciously thinking about what we are doing, we sometimes forget that we were once beginners. And when we are teaching something where we often have a group of people who already know our style and know what to do and what to expect, it’s easy to forget that they were once beginners, too.
I’m as guilty as anyone else! I like to think I always cater to my newbies in class—and yes, I always DO cater to them and remind them to take it easy and not try to do everything—but I realized recently that there are some things I forget and I still drop the ball sometimes. I made this video with a story about one of my classes and the feedback I got from a newcomer after the class. Let me know if you can identify with my experience and what my rider told me.
Back in the early days of ICA, Bryon Black wrote an article in 2011 called “Never Forget the Beginner’s Mindset.” Bryon was an early master instructor for the Spinning® program and later a master trainer for Kranking, another fitness program developed by Johnny G. I want to expand on what Brian wrote and give you some tips that make it easier for your newcomers to your classes and to help you cultivate that beginner’s mindset so you can always be there for your new riders.
There are things your club/studio can do to onboard new riders, such as offering some shorter “intro” classes during the first month or two of the new year. They can also create a handout that lays out the basics of indoor cycling and gives tips such as what to wear, what to expect, and offers reminders that new participants should take it easy the first few weeks and give themselves time to acclimate to riding the bike.
The following list of ten tips is what you, the instructor, can do when you teach your class to make newbies feel comfortable and reduce any intimidation they may feel.