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Teaching Tips for Successful Hula Hoop Classes #2

Teaching Tips for Hula Hoop Classes


What more could you need or want to make the best hula hoop class or life possible? You are engaged and having a great time, your plan is flowing smoothly with a few unexpected changes that have created a slight shift in your own personal hologram. Questions are being asked and answered and you are the ring leader! Yeh you are. Where to next?

There are all kinds of balances that we aim to strike in hoop class and life, including having the freedom to explore our inner wild and have fun amidst focused learning and growth.

How do we pull focus as the leader of a class - or even the leader of our life - without disrupting the good times and keeping the tough times at bay?

As the ring leader, it is your job to set the tone and guide the experience for yourself and others. When the hoop is involved, the tone is fun as you invite freedom, movement, self-directed practice, wild play and social interaction into a group or solitary experience.

But have you ever been to a party where there are those who are just not enjoying it and quietly shrink to the edge while others are fully immersed in Party Town Central? In many ways, this is a lot like hoop class and also a lot like life.

How do we rope the wild party in or push negativity and sadness out while remaining engaged and focused in lifelong learning experiences? 

Becoming a leader in the hoop and in your life requires you to face challenge and ease equally. Honour both - double your learning. In a teaching context this means becoming the support to both individuals and the group, often simultaneously, while encouraging both ease and challenge as the whole experience. 

By drawing focus to the individual's experience we give them attention, advice, acknowledgment & their own personal space to ask questions or receive help.

Moving amongst the class during practice time and checking in with each hooper - or as many as possible - is essential. Personal connection in a movement class (or any class) activates the class energy.

Perhaps this is something you need in your life outside of the hoop - someone you can check in with who has solid advice on activating joy.

Drawing focus to and for the group is more challenging given the critical hoop mass, especially with kids who are generally very wild!

One of my techniques in teaching kids involves getting amongst the practice session, while the music is playing, and calling out questions like, can somebody show me an Isolation? Who’s got the Ninja? Any Ninja Chops? I’m looking for some dance moves right now - who’s got them?

For kids, another technique is to turn the music off and ask everyone to freeze into a hoop statue. The hoop stars strike a pose and stay still until you have everyone’s attention. At that point you might ask them to either sit down in their hoops where they are, or gather around so you can show them something detailed and specific, or let them flow into the directed practice where they are. 

Beyond the hoop, I feel it's important to interact with groups in a way that develops your ability to engage and disengage in healthy ways. Group energy is like a collective wave that cultivates your ability to confidently communicate, cooperate and celebrate the joy of sharing life. 

You are the magician, weaving hoop magic and shape-shifting a shared experience.

It’s up to you to lead the dance of learning. A successful class, and life experience, usually expands and contracts according to how you guide it. There are times where wild play is the aim and others where focused attention is boss.

With time and practice, you will learn to gauge these fluctuations effectively and instinctively, knowing exactly when to shift focus and redirect energy. Above all else, trust your sense of timing with the ultimate goal being enjoyment for both yourself and those you choose to lead.

Image - Movement and Flow 2013. 

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