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Positive Cueing for Multi Levels – The Right Words Matter


Positive Cueing for Multi Levels – The Right Words Matter

So, we talked about timing when it comes to cueing. Now let’s talk about cueing to different levels. The instructor’s ability to cue to a group of people made up of different dance and fitness levels can make or break a class. Am I right…? When I was in the beginning of my teaching career, there were many occasions where I upset a student based on the words I used. Look, most of us aren’t born with the ability to cue beautifully and positively but it CAN be learned and perfected!

Our goal as instructors should be to lead classes where students leave feeling successful, but it can be tricky when you’re trying to challenge one side of the room while modifying the other. If taught correctly though, you can provide both the new and advanced students with a kick-ass workout.

The great thing about the SharQui format is that there is a natural progression and it hits 2-3 levels so that everyone feels satisfied. But the trick is in the words. Try to avoid using the term “level”. Like level 1, 2, & 3. I mean, no one likes admitting they need to do level 1 when their neighbor is doing level 50…right?  So, when possible, use words like “variation”, “option” or, “version”.  These words sound like the students are in control and can choose what they like best. Everyone can work at their own level and feel great.

Now let’s talk about “how”. Have you ever said this…?

“If it’s too much for you, put your heels down.”

“If your knees can’t handle it….”

“If you can’t do plank on your toes, then drop to your knees.”

All students hear is CAN’T and immediately makes them feel like a failure. Instead we could say…. “If you don’t love how plank feels from your toes, try on your knees.” Then everyone feels successful!

Additionally, avoid using the word DON’T. Participants instinctively want to do what the instructor cues. So, to evoke a positive response, cue the desired behavior you want instead. For example, “Don’t stick your pelvis out”, versus, “Lower down as much as you can while maintaining a neutral pelvis.

I know these may seem like basic concepts, but we do need these reminders to be sensitive to ALL students. Small changes in how you say things can have a HUGE impact.

I challenge you to change how you offer “modifications” and “progressions” in your classes this week and see if it evokes a positive response from your students.

Instruct & Inspire,


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