As an instructor your cueing can be one of the most important things in a class.
It keeps the participants working together, focused and most importantly looking like a team. Remember, if you don’t know your moves or what your aims of the class are, how do you expect your participants to work hard? It is important that you create a fun environment (and safe) whereby your participants want to come back to your classes again and again. Let’s be honest, the higher the number of participants the better the atmosphere; the better the atmosphere the more people want to work; the more people work the quicker we all get fitter together.
So what is Cueing? Cueing is making sure your participants know what the next move is before it actually happens. You also have to make sure you allow your participants enough time to register their ‘cue’ to allow them enough time for their body to initiate the move.
Cueing is really important for the ‘pre-choreographed classes’ for example Body Pump/Body Attack etc. So the first thing you need to do is listen to the music and learn the music. How do you do this? Well you can’t just listen to a track once and think that you have learnt it. You’re body needs to embodied the music so you know exactly what comes next in the song, where the high points are and the low points. If you don’t know what is coming next in the song how do you expect to have enough time to motivate your participants and give coaching points? So listen to the music, learn the music so it becomes completely second nature.
Once you have embodied the music then you can start to learn when to pre-cue the moves. Remember, you need to allow enough time for your participants to register the cues so make sure you give it with plenty of time. If they don’t have enough time to register and learn the move then they make get put off and become de-motivated because they feel like they can’t do it with the rest of the class. Remember your job is to encourage participants, which ultimately leads to growth in numbers.
There are two different types of cues, spoken cues and visual cues. With spoken cues it is important to be audible. Make sure you are clear and precise with your cues, be loud and confident with and know exactly what you are going to say. This comes from learning the music so that you know when you need to use your voice to pre-cue. With visual cues remember you also have to be clear and precise with what they are. For example if you want a class to move to their left make sure you indicate it strongly with your right arm, make it long and direct so that everybody can see clearly the direction of the movement. Visual cueing can be really effective if you want to let the music do the talking.
If the track has a strong beat and it is up-tempo then there is no need to drown out the track with your voice. Use strong visual cues; an attitude on your face and you will have your entire class moving to the same beat of the music!
If you get a cue wrong don’t show it. Remember only you know the choreography. Who is to say that the participant’s previous instructor didn’t get it wrong? Definitely don’t apologise if you get the choreography wrong. Say it confidently, proudly and clearly. If you have learnt the music and the moves you know that you can easily get it back on track. So take a breath and move onto the next move. As long as you are confident with what you are saying the participants will never know.
Remember effective cueing doesn’t just come from the choreography. It also links to coaching points and motivational cues. If you know you are doing a difficult move or challenging move for example; bottom half squats in Body Pump. Make sure you give a coaching pre-cue point i.e. brace your abs!
This also works with motivational pre-cue points. If you know it’s starting to get difficult and near the end of a track then perhaps pre-cue the bottom half squats with ‘Stay strong’ ‘We are nearly there’ “Let’s get through this together’ etc. Knowing when these difficult sections are within songs are important so it is important you learn when you might need to use motivating and coaching point cues.
Engage with your participants. You may need to adapt choreography if the participants are finding it difficult. (This applies to self-choreographed classes) Or makes sure that you are providing options with already choreograph classes. By adapting the choreography or the moves then you will need to in turn adapt your cues and what you are going to say. This links all the way back to learning the music and it’s important to always have options as an instructor. If someone is finding a move difficult or doesn’t understand it try and provide an option to the whole room. Don’t single the individual out because they can feel isolated and picked on. Secondly you could try making eye contact with the participant and then giving the instruction. If however after a couple of times this doesn’t work you may have to result to singling them out but makes sure it is done in an encouraging and productive way.
After all, we want our classes to be unique to us and as much as possible new and fresh every time. Even with pre-choreographed classes you can still make it unique and special to the individual instructor. So learn the music and learn what you are going to say. Really effective cueing can be the difference between a good class and a great class. Make your classes fun and enjoyable so your participants just keep coming back!