Kissing Lips


[firstname] do you struggle with keeping your participants focused on the task at hand? Are you becoming more and more frustrated because it seems impossible to get your riders to understand and comply with your instructions? Maybe you simply have had enough of listening to the chit chatter and would like to learn how to focus your participants during your classes. If so, this article is for you.

The best way to eliminate one behavior (or thought) is to replace it with something else. You probably know (after endless attempts) that telling your participants to “stop talking and focus” is not working. There are two reasons why this won”™t work: 1) Even though you add the word “stop” in front of “talking”, your mind, and the minds of your participants, are still centered on the act of talking. 2) The word “focus” is vague and general. In fact, your riders are already focused; they are simply not focused on anything productive to help improve their training and performance in your class.

How about when you deliver instructions to your participants? Do you commonly use 30 to 60 seconds and a few sentences to convey your instructions and correct technical errors? This method does not produce the best results because it is too difficult for your participants to select the key points and make the mind-body connection.

To improve your communication skills so that your participants concentrate on your class and on their performance, use the following principle:

KISS: Keep It Simple and Specific

Keeping It Simple and Specific requires that you take a moment to identify attentional cues for each exercise or section of your profile. Believe me, there is a big difference between asking your clients to focus on their pedal stroke and asking them to pull back with the foot (one example of an attentional cue). The latter of the two instructions is a simple concept for your participants to think about during their ride. It is also specific in that it directs their attention to one body part (i.e. foot) and one movement (i.e. pull back).

Call to Action

Make a list of the most common technical or tactical instructions you ask your participants to perform. Be proactive and choose a simple and specific attentional cue for each instruction. Each attentional cue should be between one and five words. In class, challenge yourself to implement your attentional cues. You”™ll be amazed how easy it is hold your participants attention in class and everyone will have more fun and achieve higher results.

Believe and Achieve,
Haley Perlus, Ph.D.

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Originally posted 2009-09-13 19:41:19.

Dr. Haley
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