Principles Of A Good Instructor

| 24/06/2016 | 0 Comments More

Methods of Instruction:

Principles of a Good Instructor

Principles of a Good Instructor

Discipline may compel an athlete to take part in fitness and carry out the exercises set by the instructor, but will not compel others.  The three main components you need are:

  • They are INTERESTED
  • There is INCENTIVE
  • They need to see the REASON for doing an exercise or skill practice

To be successful as an instructor, you must have thorough knowledge of his/her subject.  He/She must also be aware of the following principles.

  • Aim
  • Planning & Preparation
  • Interest & Enthusiasm
  • Maximum Activity
  • Simplicity
  • Human factors
  • Progress checks

These principles are amplified in the following paragraphs…


All physical training must be purposeful.  The immediate aims are progress targets set for each individual exercise, lesson and stage training period.  The ultimate aim is to reach the goals of your clients, these will be such elements as; Weight Loss, Toning, Fitness etc.

The instructor must ask him/herself before planning a programme, preparing a lesson or applying exercise – ‘What is the AIM?’ and must know the results he expects from each exercise, lesson or stage of training, and how they are to be obtained.



The physical training programme must be well planned and the following factors must be considered when compiling a programme:

  • Aim
  • duration of the complete training period, number of lessons and number of class members etc
  • Exercises included must be purposeful
  • Physical training should be complimentary to other forms of training your class members may be taking where possible
  • The standard of fitness within the class
  • Medical liaison if needed, you should at least have each member fill in a Pre-Exercise Questionnaire
  • Availability of assistant instructors if needed
  • Apparatus and equipment available
  • Alternative working areas for varying weather conditions or double bookings etc
  • Stages of progression and tests of achievement


Poor preparation will undoubtedly, lead to a muddled and inefficiently constructed lesson.  The amount of preparation required will depend largely on the knowledge and experience of the instructor and the complexity of the training, but it must be thorough.  Time should be spent daily in revising the days work, noting points for the preparation of the following days lessons, activities and that the gym is in order.  He/She should monitor this period personally, giving guidance when necessary.  In the preparation of lessons, instructors must consider each of the following points in addition to those mentioned earlier.

  • Stage of training of the class
  • Number of periods left in the training syllabus
  • Progression aim of the lesson
  • New exercises and skills to be taught
  • Extra attention to less proficient members of the class who need it
  • Space required, and other class work areas
  • Apparatus required (check safety, suitability positioned for class, areas marked out etc)
  • Number of people in class
  • Assistance available – make sure you brief assistants so they know what they are doing
  • Weather conditions and double booking affecting class
  • The question should be finally asked




The instructor must be enthusiastic in his/her subject to become a good instructor, and take personal interest in every member of the class.  He/She must also be interested in all aspects of their work and must constantly strive to improve his own knowledge and stability.  The instructor must set example to his class by his/her bearing, integrity, good living, and all-round physical fitness.  Instructors should remember the three E’s


The Following Suggestions Are Given As A Guide:

  • Curiosity: The instructor must exploit the natural inquisitiveness of their pupils, and encourage them to continue their exercise routine outside of the class
  • Competitions: The class members will perform above their capabilities without thinking when there is an element of competition – this can be on an individual basis or in teams
  • Variety: The instructor must combat boredom by thinking out new ways of presenting a lesson He/She will find that variety will help both the class and them
  • Incentives: Class members must be told the reason for doing or learning something.  The incentives of ‘positive health’ physical efficiency and prestige through ability and leadership should also installed in the minds of the class members
  • Sense of Achievement: All of us are proud of our ability to do something well.  The instructor must appeal to this natural feeling by encouraging the class members to reach high standards and by recognising any new achievements.  They should always be informed of their progress and achievement should be set once every 4-6weeks via fitness assessments for which they strive to achieve better scores than they previously achieved, giving them a great sense of achievement.
  • Class Conditions: Instruction should normally be carried out under the best possible conditions, unless of course the aim is to toughen mental fitness and develop endurance.  It is inconsiderate to give physical training outdoors if the weather is bad without reason.  This could be to toughen mental fitness, as long as there is an aim to the class the the class members will be fine.
  • Class Activity: The average person wants to try out what is shown.  The instructor must demonstrate and, if necessary, explain the exercise briefly.  Then if necessary the pupils should practice with the instructor.
  • Enthusiasm: The enthusiastic instructor will inspire his/her class to show the same interest.

Good Use of Senses:

All learning is achieved through the use of one or more of the five senses.  These are:


In physical training the sense of touch, sight, and hearing are the most important in learning and are normally in the order of importance shown above.  Whenever possible, however, these senses should be used together and instructors should learn the most effective combination.  the use of senses in learning must not be confused with the order of appeal to senses by the instructor in teaching new exercises.  All learning can be divided into two parts.

  • SKILLS: A physical act such as scaling a wall or kicking and throwing a ball accurately
  • FACTS: Knowledge such as anatomy and physiology, theory of progression and rules of basketball

The relationship between skills and facts is made clearer in the following example:

To scale a wall:  To accomplish this the pupil must carry out:

  • SKILLS: Climbing, action of hands and arms, action of legs and feet, balance and co-ordination
  • FACTS: Height of climb, type of surface, grip to be used, thickness of rope required and most suitable method of climbing

No one will be ready to practice the technique of scaling a wall until the skills have been mastered and the necessary facts are learned.  The example can be applied to most forms of physical instruction.  We acquire skills by practicing (sense of touch).  We learn the facts by watching a demonstration and by listening to an explanation (sense of sight and hearing).


The following is a good guide to the proper balancing of time spent during a physical training lesson.


The Ratio for a 40min Lesson:

  • Practice and coaching: 31mins
  • Demonstration: 6mins
  • Explanation: 3mins

The conclusion therefore is…  FAR MORE DOING THAN SEEING AND HEARING



Instructors should make their instructions and examples simple.  The vital points should stand out clearly and there should be no padding.  Technical words and phrases may have to be used but they must always be explained to the class.  At the same time, however, the instructor must adapt his/her instruction accordingly.


In physical training, as in all other instructional subjects, progress must be checked at various stages to ensure that the class is improving physically, absorbing knowledge and acquiring skills.


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Category: For the Trainer

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