One of the gems of a good instructor is that when correcting an exercise, it is very important to start with a neutral approach. This probably won't surprise many, since not everyone likes to be corrected, and since correction is always perceived in a subjective and contextual way.
Correcting someone can often result in an unpleasant experience for both the corrected person and the corrector. The verb to correct itself certainly evokes in the minds of many people memories of school desks, embarrassments and discomfort. And in fact the subjective approach to correction starts with childhood and strengthens during adolescence.
All adults with whom you have interacted in the various family, school and sports environments participate in the interpretation of the correction. The very interaction between different adults confronting each other on the correction of the child/pupil makes each experience of correction even more unique. All these experiences create the subjective perception that everyone has of the correction of oneself and of others.
Those who, both outside and inside the house, will receive only the negative consequences of an error (reproach, marginalization, derision, mistrust) will live the corrections as a moment of frustration and failure, whereas those who, both inside and outside the home, are guided in the uncovering of the positive consequences to which the error can lead, will live them with great impetus, with a discovery approach oriented not only to the causes that led to the mistake but also to self-improvement
The importance of the first moment
In an instructor-client relationship the goal is always to improve the performance of the client: therefore, it is good first to probe the ground and understand what kind of subject you are facing, in order to be able to correct him by following his personal approach to correction.
Often it is the first moment or the initial approach that intimidates the instructors, especially those who supervise the equipment room and have the task of interacting with people mostly focused on performing the exercise or isolated from the music they listen to from the earplugs. In reality, the approach is much simpler than we think.
Correcting is all about the approach
A great way to approach people is to sympathize by asking them some questions, so to obtain a level of confidence that will correct them. This prelude to correction is an excellent method to break the ice, and avoids the instructor transferring personal preconceptions about the act of correction to the pupil. Then, just keep in mind his reaction and always act accordingly.
Once the attention of the interlocutor has been obtained, it is better to ascertain the reason and the objectives that push the member to carry out that exercise in that way, before going full throttle into correction. This makes it possible to evaluate whether the incorrect technical gesture is wanted or unconscious.
If the performance of the incorrect exercise is actually perceived as correct and useful by the user, care must be taken to modify and correct this belief. Especially in the case of those who do not have a long experience of fitness behind them, types of functional training initially guided by an instructor are essential in correcting technical gestures.
The best approach involves a gratifying introduction, followed by a question to understand the reasons and objectives, and then to be able to proceed with an advice to improve the exercise and make it even more effective.
Advising, rather than correcting, is the access key. While a correction may be poorly accepted, advice is always welcome. In this way, you do not obstruct, but rather boost the strength of your message.
Especially in front of a person convinced to know everything or almost everything about training, it is important not to compete by overcoming the customer and correcting it, but rather to show respect and admiration for the knowledge of the interlocutor and then add some suggestions.
The dynamics of the instructor in a group
Correction however, does not only concern the instructor who works in the tool room, but also (and above all) the one who teaches group courses, whether they have the choreography of a circuit training or the static nature of a spinning class.
In this case we are faced with a group, sometimes very heterogeneous in terms of age and athleticism. It is important that the teacher knows how to relate to each participant in the most appropriate way. Once the exercise or choreography has been set up, it is very nice to see the instructor move around the room to check, correct and improve the individual performances. Even in this case, the important thing is that in every correction there is always a bit of gratification: for example, saying "good!" or "ok!", regardless of whether the movement is performed perfectly or not, motivates the pupil and makes him more open to the advice of the instructor.
A good teacher knows indeed how to recognize the degree of difficulty perceived by the individual student and for this reason he can understand how important it is for him to be gratified. For example, even just saying "that’s better" triggers in the listener a powerful positive and motivating feeling, which lets him understand his progression in the athletic path and his departure from the starting point. Such a sensation can more easily encourage the learner to continue his training and maintain constant frequency.
And this should be the goal of every correction: to motivate the person to continue his or her path of improvement, renewing his or her daily challenge and making him or her focus more and more on the progress achieved with respect to what is still not good.
Gratification is a friend of correction
Therefore, it is essential to always conclude each correction with a new opening towards the future, creating new expectations and goals for the next training session. Creating a sense of anticipation will stimulate the customer to personalize more and more his training plan, building loyalty to your trainer and your gym. From this point of view, it is right to ask oneself: what power do advice and gratification have, especially if they are given by an instructor who wants to propose himself as a personal trainer?
Lastly, changing one's point of view and empathizing with the learner revert the approach to correction, turning what could be a critical moment into an incredible opportunity. Try it for yourself!