I overheard heard a woman at a coffee shop say to the group of instructors she was with [I’m guessing they were instructors!] “Talking, coaching cuing, whatever, it’s all the same.” I wanted to jump in and say: Actually, no, they aren’t the same. (I refrained.) But it made me think that perhaps that is a common misconception, and contributes to the reason some instructors talk too much during their rides. I’m sure there are a host of other reasons – being uncomfortable with silence, thinking riders will get bored, not having enough experience to know what to coach – but it’s worth differentiating to dispel any confusion.
Here’s my take on the role of talking: talking is something you do 1) before and after class to either answer technical questions or build rapport with your riders; or 2) a brief personal comment or two during class – something humorous or apropos to enhance the connection with your riders. Other than those two general categories, I refrain. There’s a good chance your riders aren’t coming to class to hear about your kids, your issues or the new car you bought during – especially during their workout.
Cuing is when you prompt riders to do something: We’re going to start jumps on a hill in 3, 2, 1. Let’s go!
Coaching is using language that supports performance and skill: Create strong resistance on the wheel, then gracefully float up and out of the saddle into hand position three and drive your energy into the pedals. Strong, steady, smooth.
How much of each should you use? That’s where your skill and experience comes in and what the make-up of your