by Ann Gilbert

The year may only be half-over, but it’s time to start thinking ahead to next season.  July is the best time to start planning for your Fall teaching focus. It is the “level up” time when aggressive trainers, coaches, and instructors reset their business plans, design innovative new program options, and complete the due diligence needed to launch successfully as the fitness season jumps into the last quarter.

Instructor recruiting is at an all-time high and with a focus on those with land experience willing to take the plunge and dive into new aquatic career opportunities. As a club owner, I can testify that there is a huge need for the certified instructor who wants to prepare for the busy season ahead.

Let’s outline the top ten proven strategies to assist in getting the new pro out of the gate and onto the pool deck.


Understanding of the properties of water and how the body trains with the assistance of drag and buoyancy is extremely important when it comes to teaching water classes. SCW Fitness offers an excellent, fully detailed on-line Aquatic Exercise Certification.


Jump in and practice! It is imperative that you understand exactly how each of your students will feel as they follow your direction from the deck.


Find a fitness mentor who will give you constructive input and be brutally honest to assure you deliver the best experience possible. Be flexible for his or her time is valuable.

  1. VIDEO

Record a video of yourself in action. Listen to your cueing techniques, make a list of “learnings”, and action steps to take before your second video is scheduled. Schedule the second video assessment. Share it with your mentor.


If teaching without a microphone practice lowering your tonality to project across the pool. Talk less and coach more with short and clear directions. Practice directional cueing and remember, your body is the best demonstrator of what the move is to be.


Choose a playlist that has a heavy beat to motivate students, as well as a strong drive and forceful movement.


Frame out the format of the day, preview all new moves and encourage socialization after the workout.


Your stool or chair are considered pool side teaching essentials. Have your sun hat and water near by and choose appropriate clothing that will wick the moisture from your body and assist in keeping you cool. 


With two instructors and twice the energy, it’s easy to create a memorable experience for students who will spread the word of the greatness you create.


If possible, move around the area to create a new front row more often. This strategy gives you the ability to focus on all the students, for each will learn your choreography in a unique way.  

Remember, having a clear vision and plan with achievable expectations will be quickly apparent to new and experienced instructors looking to join your team, and they will be waiting in line to “Level Up”.

Join me at Dallas MANIA®, August 26-28.  I’ll be presenting several workshops for both Aqua and Active Aging along with teaching the Active Aging & S.E.A.T. Certifications.  Also, the SCW Aquatic Exercise Certification will be taught live by MaryBeth Dziubinski.  Hope to see you there.


About the Author, Ann Gilbert

Ann is an owner and operator of Shapes Fitness for Women, in the Tampa Bay area. She oversees the operations of as many as eight certified Personal Trainers, 15 Group Fitness professionals, and coordinates fee-based group personal training programs. Ann is a faculty member of The Shapes Fitness Academy, leading educational workshops for the Franchise chain. She teaches the popular Launch Program, designed to mentor new trainers into the growing business of Personal Training. Ann was awarded ACE / IHRSA Personal Trainer of the Year and has been a popular presenter at Club Industry, SCW MANIA®, IAFC, and IHRSA Conventions for decades.  As a published writer for Fitness magazines, Club Success, Club Solutions, and AKWA, Ann is also viewed as Tampa’s Fitness Expert, on Fox 13’s, Good Day Tampa Bay, for the past 5 years. She fills the role of Education Expert for SCW Fitness Education, teaching the following Certifications: Active Aging, The Fundamentals of Aquatic Fitness, The Fundamentals of Group Fitness, WATERinMOTION®, and S.E.A.T.®.


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