Pilates Teachers when was the last time you thought about giving your client something bold and new? When is it time to stray off your Pilates plan for that client and pull out the razzle-dazzle and show them that super fun, challenging or awesome move that makes their eyes pop out of their head or when to stick to your Pilates plan for them?
I know when I was a new teacher I had my little sheet of paper with my Pilates sessions planned for that client each day. I stuck to it like my life depended on it! Not only was I not sure when or if to take them to a new challenge in the moment but I also was not confident in my teaching of those more complex moves. I remember how teaching the Rowing series on the Reformer would send me into an anxiety moment each time. The thought of any of the inversions or handstands on Ladder Barrel just sent me into a full blown panic attack! I found that at times I would let the fear or uncertainty take over and throw some challenging or difficult move at a client and either they weren’t ready and it was an epic fail in their mind or I was not confident enough in my teaching of it that it was just a hot mess!
Over time and practice and many, many clients I got confident in my teaching of those exercises but, did I then throw them at the client? When is the time to pull them out for the client or stick to that lesson plan you have? As a new teacher, I thought it would help me keep a client, prevent them from getting bored or make me look like the teacher that knew everything. Now I find that there are a truly only a few different times that pulling out that Razzle Dazzle Move makes sense for you and your client.
The simplest and most important answer on this question is when your client isn’t feeling like they are progressing, getting stronger or whatever goal they came in with has not been fulfilled in their mind. Now, you may know that isn’t true but for them, they believe this!
A perfect example is my client Joyce who has been doing Pilates for over 5 years with me. She was having a bad day when she came in and everything she was doing she felt was not going well at all. I stuck to my plan but about halfway through she said: “ I know that Pilates is helping me with my running and my body but, I just don’t think I am any better at it!” How many times have you heard that right?
In that moment I realized I needed to give her some exercise that she had not done before and was something that would show her how wrong she was. We continued on and then it came to the last 5 minutes and I took her to the Wunda Chair. I said “Ok! It is now time for our Grand Finale today” For her this was Tendon Stretch on the Chair. Joyce came to me due to issues as a runner. She knew her hips and tightness and aches were better, she knew that she ran faster and easier and longer yet she couldn’t see her improvement in Pilates. This was one that had many challenges for her in the beginning due to her tightness and issues. It made it impossible for us to even go here.
Did it happen? Did she do it? YES! It was not perfect but, really when is Pilates perfect right? It is a practice! Joyce knows this. Her face lit up and she was beyond surprised at her strength and flexibility in this move. To her, she had accomplished this as if she was doing Candlestick on the Cadillac. She started to tell me all the things that happened in that moment that before she didn’t realize had gotten so strong!
Here are a few tips for you to keep in mind:
Use their goals- Every client has something they want from their Pilates. For example, if they want to get more strength then give them that move that challenges them in a way that maybe they haven’t been before and you can break it down to make them successful.
Showing the client their potential- Sometimes your client may feel as if they aren’t good or doing things well. They feel as if they are struggling! This is a great time to give them that move that you know they can do, even if it isn’t perfect! Let them see how far they have come in their Pilates practice and see the potential of where they can go.
The client is having a bad day- Your client comes in and is stressed, unhappy with work or anxious. Time to give them a goal of a Dazzle exercise. As you start the session let the client know that they are preparing for a “Grand Finale”. Let each exercise be focused to get them to that point for the end. You want to make sure they can accomplish this one so, make sure it’s challenging but they can accomplish without feeling like it wasn’t good.
Those moves that have that Dazzle are different for each client and knowing when they need challenge is so important as a teacher. Those moments are going to show your client what they are capable of, how far they have come, what they have learned in Pilates with you.