The Pole Industry has seen a tremendous growth in the past decade alone and it is continuing to gain popularity as more and more women (and men) become interested, not only in participating, but also in teaching Pole Fitness and sharing their passion with others.
Pole Fitness studios are opening all around us, at a fast pace, and consequently the demand for certified Pole Fitness instructors is on the rise. With the urgent need to supply this increasing demand, the quality of instruction and service provided is often affected.
Unfortunately, we see the industry flushed with instructors with little or no fitness, gymnastics, dance or even teaching backgrounds. This scenario not only puts students at a very high risk of injuries, but it also reflects poorly and unprofessionally amongst the Fitness Industry and related sports.
Teaching is a whole skill and talent on its own: a proficient Pole gymnast does not always have the ability and knowledge to safely and adequately instruct others. Teaching is well beyond a beautiful demonstration, but being able to clearly describe, break down and relate moves in a safe and effective manner, as well as begin to be able to identify difficulties and to provide helpful feedback to students.
Some of the signs of inadequate instruction and lack of educational background commonly seen at Pole studios are:
- No defined class structure – components
- Lack of instruction on proper body positioning, biomechanics, and muscle analysis
- Little or no cueing for safety
- No reference to “shoulder and deep core engagement”
- Incoherent class progressions
- Unsafe spotting techniques
- Insufficient clearance space around poles
- Inability to break down exercises or to clearly describe them
- Little or unhelpful feedback for students.
Pole Fitness Instructors fall into the same category as professional fitness instructors do; as such they must hold a current fitness credential from a recognized institution, have current First Aid and CPR, plus a specialty module on Pole Fitness instruction. Furthermore, to obtain final designations, some institutions do request a minimum of 30 to 50 hours of supervised instruction to ensure some degree of experience. Pole Fitness schools or academies must also be chosen carefully when deciding to invest time and money into proper education: CEC’s (continuing education credits) upon completion, approved by a national / provincial Fitness Association is one way to screen for quality training of some degree. Affiliations with Pole Fitness Associations, proper evaluation methods, adequate class structure with sufficient time (theory / practical modules) are also important things to look for.
As fitness professionals, studio owners and pole dance lovers, it is very important to maintain high standards of education and instruction, not only within ourselves but amongst our instructors, so that the industry will also continue gaining the respect and credibility it deserves.
As Pole students, caution needs to be placed when choosing the right learning environment to avoid injuries, creating bad habits and an overall poor pole experience.
For all of us: “Good teachers are costly, but bad teachers cost more!”