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By Team ICG® Master Trainer Chuck Cali
In the movie A League of Their Own, the coach, played by Tom Hanks, confronts player Geena Davis as she quits just before the World Series because, “It just got too hard.” The coach”™s reply is a memorable rant that ends with, “The hard is what makes it great.”

For me, that means: The ultimate satisfaction with a job well done is directly proportional to how much effort it took to do it.
“The hard is what makes it great.” That line has stuck with me over the years, and I”™ve used it often in coaching middle-school wrestling, girls”™ fast-pitch softball, my own golf game, and of course cycling, indoor and out.

It came to me again recently as I worked out with Team ICG® Master Trainers at ICG Academy in San Francisco. This team does the hard. We”™ve met to train more times in the six months I”™ve been an ICG Master Trainer than Brand X has in the three years I”™ve worked for them.

At ICG Academy, in my favorite west coast studio, OMpower, we work hard to help each other get better, deliver the full value of ICG education, and instill our zest for MyRide®+. Team ICG does the hard.

Does the cycling or group X team at your club do the hard? This sort of club-level teamwork seems rare. Am I wrong? Do your club”™s cycle instructors meet and work toward a common goal? Does your club even separate cycling from group X? If so, I”™d appreciate a comment on how your club does it.

In my experience, group X departments leave it in the hands of us instructors. If the hard is what makes it great, then doing the hard work will make your classes great. So, are you doing the hard, and what is that?

Top of the list, and, I suppose, the hardest: Change your style. I know the daggers are flying. Everyone says style makes one unique. I maintain it”™s not your style your riders come back for, but you.

Treat them to something new, or at least different. No matter what we name our profiles, we”™re doing cardiovascular training on an indoor cycle. The key is how you present and perform those ride profiles.

Doing the Hard #1: STOP SCREAMING!
This sort of teaching was the norm years ago (and still is fun from time to time), but I suggest doing the hard. Stop screaming. Start teaching.

Screaming over the music is the screamers”™ comfort zone. They coach high-intensity classes to loud, driving music and somehow believe their classes won”™t have impact unless they scream. A headset mic doesn”™t work for them. They scream into it, causing over-modulation. They finish totally wiped and would find it difficult to teach another class without rest.

Do the hard. Learn to use the headset microphone and the audio mixer — that panel with the knobs labeled mic, iPod, CD, treble, base. Give yourself time to set it up properly for the effect you want. You may be a bit uncomfortable the first couple of classes, but it”™s powerful when done well.

Make sure you can be heard without overpowering the music. Vary your voice and tone. Be upbeat and happy during warm-up as you explain the ride. Use your best coaching voice during the intense moments, friendly banter during recovery. Soften as you cue the cool-down. Don”™t compete with lyrics.

Now that you”™re not screaming:
Vocabulary. On outdoor bikes, we ride on a combination of flat roads, uphill and downhill. We gear up or down, depending on terrain. Stay true to the bike; say “gear”. Use words that describe riding a real bike over real terrain. If you don”™t ride outside or are unsure of correct terms, comment on this post and I”™ll help you.

Define the terms you use, especially for new riders. Also, consider the class. A group doing advanced heart rate or power training needs different cues from a beginner class.

Talking. What and how much is said separates great from good. Talking too much is common. We all need to work on that, but we at ICG suggest always wearing a headset microphone.

Doing the Hard #2: Continuing Education.
When you talk, is there a message? You read ICI/PRO, a good start, but it”™s not everything. There”™s direction to further education on this site, so use it.

Continuing education can come from online sources, workshops at your facility, or specialty certifications. I recommend all three. But I draw the line with this: Whatever the continuing education, it must apply to indoor cycling or cardiovascular training. A kettle bell certification is cool but won”™t add value to your skills as an indoor cycle instructor.

Try the other guy”™s certification. How many of you have not added another certification since your original? Go to conferences; see what other instructors are doing with new bikes, video and great sound systems.

If getting out of the house is inconvenient or too expensive, create your new self by implementing some of the esoteric posts on ICI.
Joan Kent”™s recent post on Focus with the Zen Triangle image was powerful for me. That message is different from what one hears in a typical cycle class. It truly helped me solidify the verbal descriptors I use to help my riders reach that state of liberating the body from the mind.

Or Jim Karanas on Flow, or Effortless Power. John Macgowan on being a celebrity. Cameron Chinatti on “true RPE”. Yours truly on connecting.
“The hard is what makes it great.” Doing any or all of these isn”™t really that hard. Maybe the hard is just deciding to do something different.

Originally posted 2012-12-24 07:31:58.

Chuck Cali
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