Aqua instructors are continually being challenged to create new and interesting formats for their classes, hence the development of different forms of equipment such as dumbbells, woggles, aqua belts, etc. Unfortunately, not all facilities are equipped with these great tools so it’s up to us to use our creativity to come up with effective, fun, challenging and memorable classes each and every time. Here are just a few ideas to help inspire you to create aqua magic!
Back to the wall
If you’re left with only the structure of the pool to make your sessions creative, then it’s time to turn to the pool wall for a little inspiration. The benefits of using the pool wall are:
- the ability to focus on upper and lower body movements
- you can bring attention to functional core stability
- it is an ideal support for beginners and those who are not comfortable with being in water
- you can easily communicate with individual participants
- it distribution of equipment you may have available easier
- you can add variety to stretches and expand your current repertoire of moves.
Consider using the pool wall when planning class formats. With large classes in small areas, it can be useful to divide the class so that half the participants are performing one exercise on the wall, while the other half are in the main body of the pool. This creates more room to perform exercises. Circuit formats are another option for using the wall.
Experiment with exercises or moves using the wall, whether it is facing the wall or turned side on. By adding an element of variation to ‘comfort moves’, renewed interest and intensity can be brought back to the class.
Music is a powerful motivator and emotion-evoker; it can create both positive and negative responses. Appreciating this point, one of our greatest challenges as instructors, is to put our own personal preferences on hold. We need to always keep in mind that what we find motivating is not necessarily what our clients will enjoy. Finding that magic balance is crucial; after all, providing music that we enjoy but that is appropriate for the age and culture of our clientele can make or break the success of a class.
Today we have access to a wide range of music choices, everything from country and western, to Yiddish songs, to good old rock ‘n’ roll. Try and not to limit your selection to only the top 40 charts.
For most of us, we are limited by what music companies provide us, but do we really look at all the choices? Water workouts allows us to choose a wide range of music options, including Latin, mind body, classical, 70s, 80s, 90s, fitball, cycling, and of course, step and muscle conditioning music options are all available to us. So why not widen your personal view and explore other alternatives? You can only try it; often what you might never opt to listen to in your own home can work really well in your class.
Dance your way to success
Dance is the movement interpretation of music. Do you like to dance? Most instructors would say ‘yes’ because ultimately, our exercise movements are a form of music interpretation; for some, it may even be the reason why they’re drawn to this vocation.
If a great tune is played during a class, do you ever feel like dancing? Do you get the urge to bop along to the beat? Well don’t hold back! What you want to do will also be what the people in your class want to do too! So can you do those moves in the water? Will they work the body effectively? There’s only one way to find out – get in and try it out! Why not introduce a freestyle dance segment to your sessions where people can remind themselves of the sheer pleasure of just moving with the music, rather than having it as a motivating background or having the moves dictated to them?
Fun for all
Sometimes we can be so into our teaching that we forget how important having fun is. Participants in our classes are constantly searching for the smile and humour from us. We all; have a sense of humour, yet sometimes many of us feel challenged to share it with our classes. Participants enjoy having happy, positive experiences, and these are ultimately created by you. Do you realise the enormous amount of power we hold as leaders? We can make people smile, laugh and feel happy. We can even arm them with a positive sense of self – so do it! Remember, only happy class members will keep coming back!
So it’s easy to see that without the latest equipment you can still create aqua magic for your participants. Don’t be scared to try new things and test out your ideas; after all, the worst that can happen is that you discover something doesn’t quite work! No harm done! Just dive in and make it customary for you to really think outside the box when you’re planning your classes!
Good luck and keep having fun!