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It’s no secret that great Group X instructors lead to great Group X classes. But what does it take to get those great instructors working at your community rec center? For the Ward Downtown YMCA, a branch of the Ozarks Regional YMCA, it starts with the hiring process.

“When hiring a new instructor, I not only look for their skill set and their ability to perform the exercises, but also their ability to lead others, and coach in a positive way that keeps people coming back,” said Kelci Scott, the senior membership and program director at the Ward Downtown Y. “You can always coach the technical aspect of teaching classes — you can’t always coach personality and effective communication.”

According to Scott, what makes a Group X instructor great is their ability to push people beyond their limits and keep them coming back for more. For the Ward Downtown Y, Group X is a team effort with other coaches, so an instructor’s ability to be a team player and lift others up, while also challenging them, is something special.

Once the Ward Downton Y hires a great instructor and goes over the basics and their mission, Scott has them begin team teaching with established coaches to familiarize themselves with members and get a feel for the facility environment. “I like our instructors to team teach at least five classes in their assigned formats so they feel comfortable leading, and so the members are familiar with them,” said Scott.

When determining if a Group X instructor is successful, Scott looks at class numbers compared to other classes, seeks member feedback and takes the classes herself.

To further ensure she’s putting the right people in charge, Scott uses these four rules for hiring a great Group X instructor:

  1. First and foremost, make sure they have correct, current education and certifications.
  2. Look for a person who is willing to be coached, and eager to continue learning and perfecting their craft.
  3. The instructor should be a leader and have a passion for coaching others. If they are there just for a paycheck, they won’t be engaged.
  4. Listen to your current instructors. Sometimes motivated members who love classes turn out to be the very best instructors. You can always get someone certified, and coach the technical aspect of creating effective classes and learning choreography — you can’t teach passion, and love for health and wellness.
Taylor Brown

Taylor Brown is the assistant editor of Community Rec Magazine. She can be reached at taylor@peakemedia.com.

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