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ChocolatePizzaRedWine
06-22-2005, 06:16 AM
Hi folks!

I've just been asked to teach a "Teen Cycling" class for the summer. I'm excited, but a little nervous as well. I can count the number of teens I know on one hand!

So... Do any of you teach classes aimed at the 11-17 year old set? What do you do? Is it just straight cycling, or do you include games, quizzes, etc.? How hard are the classes? (I read something on the web that said that teens couldn't keep up with an adult class, but that doesn't sound right to me... I assume that I'll have students at various levels, just like with adults.) What keeps the kids coming back? Are there any surprises I should look out for with teens?

Thanks in advance for your help!

Take care,
Tara

Russ
06-24-2005, 09:16 AM
Funny you say that. I had 3 college students in my class about (18-21 yrs old) and they told me the type of music they wanted to hear and I played it. After about 10 minutes I lost 2 of them. Even after telling them before the class to go at your own pace and not to try and keep up with me. I guess they thought the class would be easy (spinning for an hour). I am curious what you come with on keeping there interest and motivating them.

Also, it didn't happened in my class but I have been in classes where they bring there cell phones and talk while you teach.

Thanks
Russ

kszspin
06-24-2005, 02:43 PM
I seem to recall an article in the spinning newsletter last year or so about an instructor in Florida who created a youth or teen spinning program, does anyone remember this or am I mistaken???

Patrick
06-27-2005, 05:13 PM
As a teenager myself (sixteen, seventeen in a couple of weeks), Spinning enthusiast, and soon-to-be instructor, I can tell you what my experience has been; and what I would recommend.

First of all, games and quizzes probably aren't a great idea. I know I don't want to be treated any differently in my classes than the people twice my age. Try to keep it as mature as you can. Teenagers would want to be with people their age, but they wouldn't want a class to be any easier or more "hip", if I'm making any sense. Obviously your choice in music is going to be a bit different, but other than that, don't try to learn any lingo, and don't make the class any easier than it should be. Dictate your profile difficulty on the ability of the cyclists as people, not as teenagers.
The experience I've had with my friends is this: I have had.... 5 teenagers come to classes with me. Three loved it and had no trouble keeping up; one of them pushed himself way too hard and just about died (I have my own reason for this one- he was having trouble keeping up, but he couldn't bear to pedal slower or against less resistance than me, who used to be the fat kid, while he has always been thin. I think he had to prove himself superior, and he ended up looking like a fool.) That is one thing I would warn you of: teens are more likely to be more competitive and try to show off than adults, so make sure you tell them that letting their ego's play a part in class will only ruin their ride. (of course, you have the adults who spin at ridiculous speeds against no resistance just for attention; I'm sure every gym has one of him, just like I do.) The other teen that came with me neither ate breakfast, nor did she pace herself, and she ended up vomiting in the bathroom. So make sure you preach the basics. As much as the "more experienced" teen cyclists would roll their eyes at your "basic" directions, it will really help them.
To be honest, I don't envy you. The class will be a tough one. Do you mind me asking your age? Some teens might get hung up on it. Personally, I would neither teach, nor participate in, a teen spinning class. Teenagers are too immature. You'll have the dedicated few who are mature for their age, but expect lots of inconsistent participants.

Best of luck- I hope I didn't bring you down, but it will certainly be a challenge to teach. Just try to relate, without being clingy or desperate. Look at it this way, though- you will grow a LOT as a teacher. And, if worst comes to worst, the class gets no participants, they kill the class after a month, and you still get payed. So I do wish you all the best; keep me informed on how it goes- I'd like to know how other teenagers do with Spinning.

alexkaboom
06-28-2005, 07:26 AM
Thanks Patrick... that was a great insight!

I would love to hear how the class is going Tara, if you've started teaching it already, I have a 13-year old son that wants to try one of my classes and although I'm excited for him, I'm also afraid.

My 18-year old stepson took my class once and though he liked it he did say it was "way too hard"... and never came back... It think he said something about not getting up at 5:00am to suffer... :D ...

Good luck!
Alex

ChocolatePizzaRedWine
06-29-2005, 08:19 PM
I would love to hear how the class is going Tara, if you've started teaching it already, I have a 13-year old son that wants to try one of my classes and although I'm excited for him, I'm also afraid.


Tonight was supposed to be my first class, but I got to the gym and found lots of signs saying "No water, no toilets, no showers. Well is broken!" We hadn't done a lot of promotion of the class to begin with, but I'm pretty sure that any teen who showed up was frightened away! I rode alone. Oh well... (no pun intended! :))

Thanks to everyone for their thoughts and suggestions.

KSZspin and Pedaler, I haven't been able to find the article in the Spinning newsletter. Any idea off-hand what month (or season) it was in?

Russ, I've lost some first-time college students from classes too. I wonder if it has to do more with the discomfort of being on a bike seat than how easy or hard the class is. I had one young gentleman who told me he cut out of class after 15 minutes because he didn't want to, in his words, "make things stop working 'down there'." I was too taken aback at the time to respond, but now I try to address the issue with all my new riders. Don't know.

Patrick, you reminded me of how much I've forgotten about being a teen. Thanks! For example, while I have decided to make things a little more playful for this class, I'll let them know that it's not because they are teens, but rather because I don't want them to think about how hard they are working. FWIW, I've used games and quizzes with people twice *my* age. (I draw the line at karaoke, however. ;) ) It depends on the students and the goals of the workout.

And speaking of age... didn't your mamma ever teach you not to ask a lady how old she is? Harumph! Just teasing... Seriously, I'm 40 and am proud of every year. It crossed my mind that that might be a turn-off for some teens, but it's not worth the energy to worry about since I can't change it.

Alex, I hope your able to get your son hooked on spinning! My 6-year-old wants to try, but will have to wait a few years.

Actually, the experience you had with your step-son is one of the reasons I want to make this class work. I've seen lots of parents who bring their kids to one or two classes, and then never come back. Sometimes it's that the classes are hard (especially for a first-timer) and the child is too proud to modify in front of dad. Sometimes it's that mom spends the whole class picking at everything the kid does. (I'm not saying that you did this!) I've been amazed to see people I consider to be 'good parents' spend the whole hour criticizing their teen's hand position or cadence. Whatever the reason, it makes me think that teens deserve some parent-free time in the spinning room.

Anyway, that's why I want this class to work. Guess I'll try again next week!

Take care,
Tara

Patrick
07-01-2005, 08:55 PM
Poor kid. Sorry your class was a no-show. I would've come... maybe. I don't know. I've found that teenagers just suck to work out with. They're inconsistent, whiny, and sophomoric. I much prefer to Spin, or even work out period, with my older colleagues than with fellow teens. They bring me down. They are absent-minded and get frustrated by their ineffective workouts because they refuse to be goal-oriented.

Expect to find a couple teens (if any ever come- just joking :p ) who scoff at your age. Personally, my favorite Spinning instructor, Steve, is 44, and my first Spinning instructor was 48. So, needless to say, the age gap is no problem for me, but people assume from my personality (and persistant five o' clock shadow since the age of 11) that I am no younger than 21. Again, I say good luck; take it from me- teenagers suck when it comes to exercise.

Patrick