Reaching Out to Newcomers
By Lawrence Biscontini, MA

W

hen preparing to teach our group fitness classes, we sometimes overlook the participants who most need our

help: the new attendees. Whether they are novice exercisers or just fresh faces in our own classes, these students tend to gravitate to the far recesses of the room, where they can’t see or hear properly. It’s a Catch-22 situation that these newcomers who need assistance more than anyone often get the least attention. Our job is to find ways to reach out to these back-row participants while still giving our seasoned students what they have come to expect. Here are some proven practical strategies that can help you extend a hand to even the most timid participants.

Supplement to November-December 2002 IDEA Health & Fitness Source

Before Class
As fitness professionals, we know it is standard practice to arrive early to our classes. Doing so ensures that we can reach out to new participants before they take their places in the back row. 1. Welcome newcomers to class by introducing yourself as they come through the door. And don’t forget to ask them their names! (One way to remember a newcomer’s name is to repeat it immediately in your reply; this can also personalize the experience for the student.) 2. Use this interactive personal technique to break the ice: Find out and remember one piece of personal information about each newcomer and then incorporate it later in a discussion during class. This way you can show the new clients that you have remembered their names and also help them feel part T i p s f o r Te a c h i n g Newcomers