bubble-2You know the type; this is the rider who after EVERY class quietly, almost stealthfully, navigates their way to the instructor bike and starts every class critique by saying "That was a great class!", then pauses for a few seconds and says "But" or "Have you ever considered" or "You should try..." or "why did you...?".

The first few times this happens you're happy to engage, but as you realize this is going to be an EVERY class occurrence, you start to despise this person. I'm all for constructive criticism and suggestions, but it becomes exhausting having to defend or explain your training philosophy, music choices and cueing to the same person after EVERY class.

Some would say that I shouldn't be so sensitive, that I should embrace the fact that the critiquer wants to discuss my craft with me. I would most often agree, especially if the critiquer approached me after every 3rd or 4th class but when it happens EVERY class I start to feel like it's more passive-aggressive than constructive criticism. Quite frankly it becomes more like nagging than anything else.

Eventually, you realize the critiquer's critiques are only self-serving rants in an attempt to turn your class into a personal indoor cycling training session for them without any concern for the 40 or 50 other riders who may be loving what you are doing. As you wise up to the critiquer's narcissistic tactics, you should try to keep your "end-of-class evaluations" as short as possible. Sometimes they get the hint and back off, but in my experience, they realize they are losing control over you and turn into the tattle-tale. Now you need to be prepared for that dreaded conversation with your supervisor. 99.9% or your class participants probably think you're awesome, but this self-serving, narcissistic, tattle-tailing critiquer is about to make your life miserable.

I would suggest being honest with your supervisor. Most likely management has had to deal with this person in the past and will back you up in this uncomfortable situation. In the unfortunate situation that management is not supportive, you have a hard decision to make. If you are regularly filling your classes and receiving positive feedback from your class participants, I would not change anything about your class. Indoor Cycling is a group activity, and you need to do what is best for the group NOT THE INDIVIDUAL. If management feels the need to kowtow to the wants and needs of every self-serving facility user it may be time to look for another place to teach.

I apologize for the negative tone of this post. It's not always hugs and kisses when you're on the instructor bike. Once in a while, you need to deal with challenging situations and "crazy" people. It takes years of experience to be confident enough in your product to stand up to unwarranted critiques of riders and possibly management. After nearly 25 years on the instructor bike the criticism still stings, EVERYTIME! But now, I listen and "take in" the feedback. If any negative comments are warranted, I'll make the appropriate changes and move on as a better instructor. But when I identify someone as a self-serving, narcissistic, tattle-tailing, critiquer. And when this life sucking vampire approaches me with their 5th "suggestion" of the week, I just smile and say "thank you" as I make my way out the door to my next appointment.

Then, when I get to my car I cue up, crank up and scream along to Eminem's The Way I Am and get on with life.

Originally posted 2016-05-28 12:21:57.

Dennis Mellon

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