| 30/06/2016 | 0 Comments More
Qualities of a Good Instructor

Qualities of a Good Instructor

Qualities of a Good Instructor

Although the ability to instruct varies, proficiency is only obtained by learning the technique and by practice in its application. Within these limits, instructors are MADE, not BORN.

The technique of instruction, however, cannot be set out exactly.  An instructor can be shown how best to apply an exercise, how to make the most of his/her voice, and other practical techniques.  But his art is so closely bound up with human relationships that success depends more upon personality and attitude of mind than upon the knowledge of a set of rules.  The qualities required in a good instructor are:

  • The instructor must be PURPOSEFUL: The instructor must have a clear view of what he/she is teaching in order to avoid wasting time on irrelevant side issues
  • The instructor must KNOW HIS/HER SUBJECT:  The instructor must have a thorough grasp of his/her subject; their demonstrations must be skilful, and this means patient hard work spent in acquiring difficult techniques
  • The instructor must be PAINSTAKING: There is no short cut through the preparation drill, however long the instructors experience.  Because the class members will react differently to the same lesson, some require more explanation or practice than others.  The instructor must be able to adapt his/her lesson to meet the requirements of each member of the class
  • The instructor must be ENTHUSIASTIC: An instructor that doesn’t enjoy teaching may make him/herself a tolerable instructor through sheer determination, but only the natural enthusiasm of a born teacher will make a successful instructor.  Enthusiasm must be coupled with wit, intelligence, and humour; otherwise the enthusiast becomes a bore.  Enthusiasm in the instructor breeds enthusiasm in the class
  • The instructor must have a PLEASING MANNER: The word manner means the instructors way of speaking, moving and gesturing during the lesson.  His/her job is to speak plain words to explain, speak clearly, distinctly and emphatically.  Nothing in his speech or action must jar on the class or distract their attention

Instructors should remember the THREE F’s as a guide towards a correct attitude towards their pupils.  A Good Instructor Is:

  • FAIR
  • FIRM

The Instructor:

The members of your class depend on you and the effectiveness of your instruction.  When you take a lesson, ask yourself, are you making the most efficient and effective use of the time available for the class members training?

You are in a position of trust, often working without supervision from senior instructors or management.  This is a reminder to you of your instructional techniques and principles, and is designed for instructors at all levels to maintain a uniform high standard of training.

So Use It!

Your class members will benefit from effective training.  You the instructor will have satisfaction of a job well done.

There are many ways of passing on knowledge and skills to others, which you possess.  But whatever you are teaching, whether it is a physical training session or lecture based session the foundations are the same, they are:

  • Motivation
  • Conformation
  • Question technique
  • Select use of aids
  • And above all planning and preparation

A thorough knowledge of these and their application to the lesson forms a sound basis for all forms of instructional duties.

The instructor should also possess such qualities as:

  • Confidence: This will come from knowledge of the subject and your preparation
  • Manner: Bearing and voice etc…
  • Attitude: The three F’s
  • Diligence: In all aspects
  • Enthusiasm: Particularly when it comes to people with low motivation and that are new to the class

A good instructor will also take into the safety factor, this includes looking at:

  • Weather conditions
  • Dress and footwear
  • Equipment
  • The general health of the class members
  • Stage of the class members fitness levels
  • Time of day
  • Medical cover
  • Water

Within the class, you are looked upon as the leader, taking charge of the session, with this to be a good instructor, you should also be a good leader.  The next segment is information on how to be a good leader:

Key Functions of a Leader:

There are six key factors involved in organising effectively and these can be used as yardsticks to be followed in tackling almost subject and any lesson, be it a fitness session or managing other instructors…


  • Obtaining available information
  • Defining the group task
  • Making a workable plan


  • Explaining the aim and plan
  • Giving the reason why
  • Allocating tasks to groups
  • Setting or confirming group work standards and priority


  • Maintaining work standards
  • Influencing tempo
  • Ensuring that all action contributes to the aim


  • Encouraging group/individuals
  • Disciplining group/individuals
  • Creating team spirit


  • Keeping the group in the picture


  • Helping the group to evaluate its performance and feel a sense of achievement

Instructing/Coaching and Class-Taking


Briefly, coaching means individual instruction.  When an instructor in is taking a class of up to 25 people it may be difficult to define this instruction as coaching.  The following coaching principles should be developed and applied intelligently during all physical training lessons.  The instructor’s main problem will be to apply the coaching technique to a fairly large class or group.

An instructor must give attention to the following points:

  • Individual coaching is essential
  • Classes should be as small as possible
  • The mental outlook of pupils must be studied
  • Weak points should be noted and eliminated where possible
  • Strong points be noted and use made of them
  • Progression stages should be planned for each pupil
  • Exercise techniques must be thoroughly known, ie: the facts and the skills
  • The eye must be trained to see and analyse
  • Spotting the main faults should be corrected first
  • Natural ability should be developed
  • Teaching should always be positive

Demonstration and Explanation:

Information is mainly by seeing and hearing.  And since the brain retains what it has seen better than what it hears, new exercises and activities should first be demonstrated, except for teaching on exercise.  If necessary the demonstration should be accompanied by a simple concise explanation.

Thus the procedure for teaching an exercise, or activity, should be:

A first-class demonstration, with explanation, if necessary

Practice by the class during which the instructor should coach

Correction of class or individuals when necessary

Purposeful repetition of the class to improve form and obtain greater skill

Since class members will learn more by action rather than listening, the instructor should rely more on practical demonstration and respond to the classes reactions rather than just talking.

Coaching and class-taking hints:

  • Where possible, especially with larger groups, an assistant coach/instructor should be used as each member of the class will be working to their own rates and capabilities.  No member of the class should be made to feel that they have to work at a level that is outside their capabilities.
  • All of the class should be within view and the instructor should avoid positioning themselves in the centre of the class except when absolutely necessary.  The general picture will not be seen if the instructor is standing too close to the class members or if half the class can only see the back of the instructor when demonstrating an exercise or movement.
  • Movements around the class must be purposeful.
  • Positive coaching – the habit of teaching pupils what to do must be developed, telling them not to do, should be avoided.  In certain cases, when a wrong method is shown, or when a pupil has to be shown why a certain movement must not be performed a demonstration of the correct method should be performed immediately afterwards, thus leaving the correct impression in the pupil’s mind.
  • Pupils should be grouped for activities according to ability, and progression can be adjusted accordingly.  In certain exercises and games however the class may have to be grouped by height or weight.
  • It is easy to teach a physically/skilled member of the class.  The weaker members of the class need the better instructors.
  • In certain classes where needed the natural leadership qualities of the class members should be encouraged and used – when doing so remember to thoroughly brief the leaders so that they know exactly what is needed of them and what is going on within the session.

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Category: For the Trainer

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