Let’s face it. As humans, we can’t do it all. There is no way to be perfect, knowledgeable, and practiced in every form of group exercise possible. Just as Olympic athletes, we must find our niche.
Now don’t freak out, I’m not saying you should be a one-trick pony. There is no doubt that you need to be well-rounded, educated, and diverse in order to be an effective group exercise professional. What I am stating is the need to find the place where you are best fitted. You need to find that area of fitness that makes you thrive, the one that excites you to be there, and the facility where you can best do this.
Everyone’s niche is different and no one can tell you who you should be. But here are some Olympic’s inspired teaching tips that can help you identify your niche and be the best you possible.
Niche #1 : The All-Around Gymnast
Find your Home
Just like an all-around gymnast, you can teach everything from underwater basket weaving (i.e. floor routine) to handstands on horseback (i.e. the vault)! Great! I applaud you, especially if you have the education to back up all of those genres (check out our full course directory of certifications to get those certs). Remember though, all because you can do it all, and do it all well, doesn’t mean that is the route you always have to take. Discover which are your favorite formats and focus on those.
Also consider your niche to be about finding your “home location”. Don’t try to hop from studio to studio; this will leave you constantly asking what day it is, cramming food in your mouth while driving, and forgetting what code you need to use to clock in at that location you only visit once a week. As discussed in our teaching tip on saying no, you don’t have to be everything to everyone. Find one 1 or 2 locations that speak to you in terms of culture, location, pay, and most importantly, participants and teach your different formats just here. You will see different groups of people within your gym and save yourself mentally from driving all over the world by locking in finding your home gym.
Niche #2 : The Shot Put
Create your signiture
While you may be a member of the track and field team, you only, and I mean ONLY, compete in the shot put. Runners don’t venture into the poll vault, and heaven forbid a distance runner be asked to jump hurdles. They may all be one team, but boy are these guys locked into their sport.
Sound familiar? Some formats incite cult-like followings in their instructors; some to the point where the instructor will only teach this one certain style. There is nothing wrong with being devoted to a style or format. If you do choose not to diversify your class styles, you need to specialize your class by finding your signature.
It’s about standing out. Discovering what will make you more than just one of “those” instructors. Perhaps you are funny, so let your in-class jokes be your signature. Do you have a knack for climbing through the webs of Spotify to create the absolutely perfect playlist? Be the instructor with the over-the-top perfect music (check out our tips on how to create a great playlist; oh and make sure your music is legit). Whatever it is, create a signature that your audience will expect for each class.
Niche #3 : Golf
Be the New Kid
Don’t be afraid to be the new kid on the block. If you are currently in a location with a culture that doesn’t fit your personality, move on. Do not be afraid to get rid of your duds, pass on jobs that don’t fit with your WHY, and say no to formats that don’t feel good to your body. Be willing to hang up a pair of shoes or a hat you’ve worn for a long time if it no longer feels comfortable. Sometimes it’s time to move on or potentially rediscover an old favorite.
So be willing to apply for that new location. Search out jobs that speak directly to your heart. And never be afraid to try a new format. Don’t shy away from new opportunities simply out of complacency or fear. You never know, that new adventure may be just where your niche is!
And when you’re freaking out, just remember these “New Kids” never minded being the ones to stand out and shock people!