Last week, I had the opportunity to attend NIRSA 2012, the annual conference of the National Intramural-Recreational Sports Association, right here in Tampa. Our city could not have been more accommodating - the weather was beautiful, and the attendees enjoyed their conference in a setting framed by water views and palm trees. More important than the location, though, was the focus on development for those students, both present and back home at their respective colleges.
Wednesday, I had the pleasure of meeting with the recreational staff from Auburn University. They are building a new rec center, and we were discussing their group fitness program and how Fitmarc and Les Mills could help them build that program to fit their new facility. The focus of our meeting? Training for student instructors to become a part of the group fitness staff, and how the Les Mills' training program could offer skills training that would benefit the student instructor both outside the group fitness room, and well past their college graduation. I was thrilled to hear Auburn's dedication to developing their student instructors, as many of my college and university customers shy away from student instructors, citing the turnover as just too difficult to overcome - that there were not enough student instructors to stay fully staffed as they experienced graduation, transfers and a host of other reasons that a student might not be dedicated to teaching fitness.
So how could the systematic approach of a Les Mills training benefit a college or university rec center? First, if a student has not been an instructor before, the system provides a pre-choreographed program that has been screened for safety. Second, the student instructor is put through a rigorous training that requires he or she to show correct technique and coaching skills, complete with video feedback and an individualized action plan by a master trainer. Third, the student instructor has to submit a video to Fitmarc for assessment before achieving certification, showing that he or she can teach a safe and effective class, following the guidelines learned in the initial training module. Besides the physical aspects of teaching group fitness, students also learn grace under pressure, gain self-confidence and enhance their public speaking skills.
Do you work in a college or university recreation center that employs student instructors? What is your recruiting and training protocol, and how is it benefitting your students and your school? Contact me, Kelli Hatton, and let me know - your comments and thoughts are welcome.
Kelli Hatton is an active fitness professional, consultant and speaker with expertise in employee development, business development, marketing and management. As a business development professional and consultant, she provides management, sales, marketing and customer service training to organizations looking to increase their productivity. She also leads the Business Development team for Fitmarc, the South Central US Distributor for Les Mills Group Fitness systems. To learn more, contact Kelli today.