Forum / Let's Discuss! / First time Client Evaluations

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On: December 12, 2013 09:04 AM
Jen, I am working through information (apprentice fusion, lots of observing and apprenticing in my local studio, taking privates, and personal anatomical study) progressively, and Im about to send in my training video, (filming tomorrow). In addition to the training I do with the apprentice program I am doing some paid private sessions with people as an Apprentice teacher and Apprentice group classes. The clients know I am in training and seem excited to help me practice my awareness as a teacher and articulating in class setting. There is a team presence at our studio , that has really helped me slowly come in and helped clients be comfortable with me. Im really loving how our studio emphasizes going deep, so I can really stick to my focus of keep things small and intentional no matter the client. As I begin to " spread my wings" , I want to go about it with intelligence. so here's my question: What is your number 1 priority the first time you meet with a client? I am piecing together in my mind the classical exercises, the prep exercises, the necessary props based on the clients abilities, the release work that I believe is necessary (thanks to you and casey walking me through in the apprentice program) , desire to be specific with each clients, and being well aware of my own strengths and weaknesses as a new instructor to work within my limits successfully. Do you have basic things in mind or references you would recommend, that will help a beginner teacher evaluate a new client ? For example, What things are easy to skip over? Learning neutral ( I am thinking mostly of mat work as that is where I am learning and most qualified) is a massive feat in and of itself. I am looking to gain confidence in finding confidence training the "already movers", who might have an old injury. ideas? motivation? Thanks so much! Laura
On: December 15, 2013 15:45 PM
HI Laura, Lots of good questions and subjects to ponder. I am most impressed that you are really conscious and aware of how you go about layering and progressing a client. It will of course be a different puzzle each time you are introduced to a new client and on a smaller level ,each time you have a session with a client ( even if that client has been with you for years) you must try to see the client with fresh eyes each time. This is the most difficult. I think the # 1 priority is to look at the client in a whole way and not in pieces. Note what your gut instinct is when you first meet the client. What is something about their manner and movement that you notice the most and maybe immediately? Try to figure this out in the in take time before you officially start the session. It might be, for instance, that they always look down. There might be a story here. Afraid they might lose their balance? They have created a tight chest to protect their heart? Depressed? Work at a desk all the time and sit with the same head posture? Making this simple observation will help you to see a theme that the whole body is taking part in. With this understanding you can start to make choices around how to help and balance them. I suggest starting with as much feedback and tactile cueing as possible ( springs, slings, straps, smartspines heated, balls etc) . All of these tools when used correctly will start the unwinding process of waking up and connecting the forgotten and dead spots in the body. I think it is best to start with the above approach. This creates awareness and sensation and the client starts to become a smarter organizer and mover on their own. They learn how to pay attention and how to organize under different demands. Sometimes the "shoulds" of posture, alignment, core activation etc can cause rigidity and confusion for clients if not progressed and layered correctly. The release work and subtle, simple movement of the body in all of its natural ranges should be explored. Understanding how to side bend, laterally translate, rotate, extend and flex should all be done with a easy body and fluidity. We should have the client focus on core training principles first before trying to add strength or muscle mass. This means glide of the diaphragm, joint mobility, and learning how to arrange ourselves without tension given our environment ( Give them different environments!!). Pilates gives us many vectors and is a very exciting and healthy environment for anyone to move in if done with consciousness. When looking at the classical exercises try to break them down into skill sets and what the client might need to do beforehand to achieve success of that particular movement. This is really good practice for thinking outside the box on the choreography. I hope this helps. Keep up the good work. Love Jen
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