Since I became a Les Mills instructor, the classes have always been pretty much Press Play and Go philosophy. Anything really important we might stop briefly to give a quick explanation before the class, but otherwise for the participants it’s a learn as you go philosophy. Generally in Australia there’s so much mixing aswell that participants get used to that nasty thing called “change”.
I’m beginning to discover here in the Netherlands that “change” is a really scary proposition. Aside from the fact that there’s not as much mixing (this is the not issue I’m discussing today), but participants really think that to get the most out of a class they need to know what’s coming up next. This is of course partially true, and is indeed one of the major benefits out of prechoreography. However, I believe that this benefit is more about making instructors BETTER (choreography is only 1 of the 5 key elements) rather than the prechoreography being all about the participants learning the chorrey. It’s to enable the instructors to deliver better classes.
That said, this morning I had a participant give me some feedback on the new release of bodybalance. They felt it a bit confusing that I didn’t stop and explain many of the tracks. Usually when a new release would come out, their previous instructors would drop a track so they could spend more time practising the moves to come up.
I listened to her and thanked her for her feedback. But I also went on to explain that part of it is because they are not used to my teaching style, and told her that there are also benefits to learning to listen, look and do all at the same time. This is a skill which actually has been proven to boost memory and can help reduce the chances of dementia in later life. So while they may feel a bit out of their comfort zone, may struggle a bit with the tai chi, or wobble more in the balance track………all these things are increasing their skills in other areas, even if it’s not strictly helping them get the best physical stretch at that moment. Coordination and proprioception are also very extremely valuable skills as well as strength and flexibility.
Do we sometimes lose sight of this in the effort to coach participants through the basic moves in a class?
I vote “yes” for Press Play and Go