Teaching group Reformer classes can be very challenging, especially when there is a mixture of experience within the group.
Sometimes it can feel like herding cats!
Here are some of my top tips to help make teaching group Reformer classes easier for both you and your clients.
At the end of the day your aim should be to make them accountable for their own Reformer workout and make your life as a teacher easier!
- Each Participant should be at the correct level for the class they are attending.
- Keep the floor around the reformers clear to prevent slipping or tripping. ( This includes props.)
- Ask clients to place their water bottles out of the way. At the back of the reformer near the risers, is least likely to be in their way when they are moving around the reformer and changing position.
- Make sure they get into the habit of checking the safety strap for the short box series before the lesson begins.
Encourage a studio etiquette
- Apparatus should be wiped thoroughly after every class by each client. ( Some may choose to wipe it down before their session too, so they know they have cleaned it for themselves.)
- Clean and return sitting box, pole and any other props to correct place before leaving.
- Place any used wipes/cloths in bin/wash, as they exit.
This is their responsibility, saves YOU time at the end of the class and should be common practice!
Rules of the reformer
From their FIRST class teach your clients:
- The name of the exercise
- The spring settings
- The carriage/sitting box/headrest setting
- The movement of the exercise
- No banging the carriage!
The more familiarity clients have with the repertoire and their apparatus the more self- sufficient they become and the class will flow better.
It also makes it easier to gauge a clients progress and when they can be challenged.
Teach them to make any changes to their reformer working from one end of the reformer to the other.
This is a HUGE time saver and helps them remember what needs to be in place for each exercise.
To go from Short box to Long stretch series
- Remove the sitting box and pole and return to correct place
- Put head rest up and add non slip mat if using.
- Adjust springs
- Put footbar up
( Or reverse the order and work from footbar to headrest, which ever they prefer and can remember the easiest!)
To help your clients remember the exercise for future lessons remember to deliver the teaching cycle:
Your explanation of the exercise, including demonstration if possible/necessary, the name of the exercise and spring settings.
Ideally we want the client to learn and know the exercises INCLUDING the reformer set up for each exercises as this will allow us to progress them and begin to include variations and new exercises.
- Layering of cues as they do the exercise
- Observe the clients movement to see how they have responded to your teaching
- Re-deliver the cues and change your approach where necessary
- Delivering the same cues repeatedly will not effect change…just frustration!
- Allowing the client time to absorb the learning is as important as the words/movement cues you have delivered.
- This is where the true learning happens
- When your client can recreate the exercise without needing any external support and requires correction only to improve the movement you can drive them forward and progress.
Dealing with awkward/difficult clients
Thankfully, clients like this are few and far between.
But we do need to remember the reformer is a large piece of apparatus and a client can potentially harm themselves if they do not know what they are doing.
So what do we do when someone in our reformer class is disrupting the flow?
- Stay calm
- Consider WHY are they behaving that way?
- Are they feeling out of their depth and embarrassed?
- Are they unfamiliar with the reformer?
- Be kind and supportive no matter how disruptive they become, remember the class WILL end and they and you will leave!
- However, you do also need to be clear that they are in a group class.
- If you feel they are compromising their own safety or the rest of the group by demanding your attention, this needs to be dealt with after the class.
If you are working in a large studio, speak to your manager afterwards. The client may need to be reminded of studio etiquette!
Reformer classes are great fun, for the client and us. The more familiarity you have with the exercises, settings, transitions and how to deliver all these points the easier it will become.