Pilates Matwork teacher training (week 5): More than one Right way

3rd Oct 2015 (Sat)

Another nerve-wrecking Matwork teacher training weekend because it is time to showcase our teaching skills and performance after a month from the start of the program.

I was the “lucky” first one to start teaching the class. Nervousness got the better of me and I ruined the breathing warm-up. I was too caught up with the time allocated and hence rushed through what I planned to teach. Indeed, I had a good 10 minutes left when I only had one more piece to teach only. Kris had me re-teach another piece. My classmates proceeded to teach the rest of the class while Kris stopped the class from time to time to give us a few recommendations as well as question our understanding on the WHY of certain pieces.

The second part of the day, we went on to learn about how to manage common pains that clients may complain of during a Matwork class. I learnt a great deal about the importance of neck alignment in class, and the verbal cues to help clients maintain the length in their necks. This is crucial so that the neck doesn’t overwork and clients do the Matwork exercises from their core muscles, as it should be. Of course, as students ourselves, we have our fair share of discomfort and pain as well, so its really fascinating to know what we have been doing wrong.

We then learnt the advanced Matwork pieces which were really difficult to execute. These advanced pieces are combinations of a couple of beginner pieces, which adds to their complexity and difficulty. It became very clear to me that we must first understand the beginner pieces well before we can practice or teach the advanced pieces. As expected, we were given a few advanced pieces to teach the next day.

4th Oct 2015 (Sun)

We started this morning by teaching each other the pieces we were assigned the day before. Thankfully, I wasn’t the lucky one to start first again so I had ample time to calm my nerves down. With advice given yesterday and throughout the class, I felt that I taught much better compared to yesterday. The entire class lasted about 2 hours, it was physically demanding because many times we had to re-do the pieces after we were given a correction. Thank goodness, it was lunch time right after that.

After the recharge, I found myself teamed up with Issac to teach a Matwork class. We were asked to pick a specific theme and we chose “Precision”. Its quite an irony because over the two days, Kris was constantly ticked off by our lack of precision in instructions yet we chose our biggest weakness for the challenge. But well, its either now or the Big Day so it might as well be now.

Issac and I got feedback that our verbal cues weren’t sufficiently accurate and we weren’t thinking forward enough. The other group, which included Gary, Grace and Priscilla, chose “Stretch” as the theme. I thought they did pretty well! My takeaway was that there can be different sets of instructions to a specific piece if the theme for the class is different. In our case, its a choice between whether we want the clients to feel  more stretch or more precision in movements.

Next time we meet as a group for Module 5, we will be having a theory evaluation and a teaching evaluation. What can I say? It just means practice and more practice. I’m intrigued to see how I will bring in these new information to my next class the coming Sunday.

Written by Jasmine Lee

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