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In Print The Essentials

Taking on Group X Together

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When I was hired as the director of group exercise at Newtown Athletic Club in Newtown, Pennsylvania, I only had three years of group exercise experience under my belt. As a result, I knew my job wasn’t going to be easy. I thought, how am I going to manage instructors with more experience, some with specialties in which I have no training? After all, how do you help someone do a job that you can’t do?

The answer is, you don’t. Instead, you use the power of teamwork. In my case, my team and me came together as a group, using each other’s strengths to find the right solutions for the club. In order for me to be competent in this position and better our program as a whole, we needed all hands on deck.

It started with our “forums.” When our cycling program was under scrutiny by members, we held a forum to discuss where improvement was needed. Over the winter months we will be holding more instructor forums that will discuss cueing and technique, in addition to hosting demos on particular pieces of equipment that might intimidate some members.

As the name implies, group exercise is a group effort. When new employees are hired we have seasoned staff not just mentor, but co-teach with them, to help them find the right spot on our schedule. This helps everyone feel more involved in each other’s successes, and the success of the program as a whole.

As the group exercise director I might be the face of the program, but together as a team we are the “brains.” Bringing together the many opinions and personalities in the group exercise department, instead of pitting them against each other, is the only way I can assure success within our department.

As writer Ryunosuke Satoro is quoted saying, “Individually we are one drop, together we are an ocean.” So the next time you find yourself facing a group fitness conundrum, think about how you can tackle the issue together as a team.

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Emily Harbourne

Emily Harbourne is the assistant editor of Club Solutions Magazine.

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