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Take my Cue: Communicate more effectively with your clients

Merrithew Instructor Trainer - Cueing Technique

Teaching STOTT PILATES® in two languages has taught Merrithew Instructor Trainer Irina Uemura a lot about how to communicate effectively with clients.

The former ballet dancer from Russia discovered STOTT PILATES® while rehabilitating a knee injury, and became an Instructor Trainer in 2016. She teaches at Merrithew Licensed Training Center BODY MODE in Tokyo, Japan— in both English and Japanese.

Here she shares her top cueing tips for fitness and mind-body instructors.

How to improve your cueing technique

“My cueing has become more structured over time. Early on in my teaching experience, I wanted to correct my clients right away and I thought the best way to do this was just to deliver as many cues as possible. I would end up talking so much that it left me burnt out.”

While taking her STOTT PILATES Matwork and Reformer Instructor Trainer course with Lead Instructor Trainer Adriana Rotella, she learned how to better explain each movement step-by-step, gradually layering on more information to progress the client through the exercise.

“Now I use this technique with my clients. I feel more organized in my cueing and I always know what instruction comes next; although I’m sometimes still tempted to pour out all the information at once,” she says.

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More structured cueing will allow you to communicate more effectively with clients.

“It gives me the mental capacity to read the signals in my client’s body, rather than being preoccupied by what cue comes next.”

Irina cueing a Mat class

Set cueing priorities so clients aren’t inundated with information. Breaking down the instruction will improve their Pilates experience.

“While I have a wide collection of imagery cues to pull from and love trying out a new cue, as an instructor, it’s important to also know what to focus on. You should know how to identify what information is pertinent to get across to your clients and what information can wait,” Irina says.

“In every Pilates exercise, there is so much going on. Each exercise has many nuances we want to draw attention to, correct, or inform our clients about, so it’s easy to feel like your explanation is all over the place, which ends up confusing your client.”

Cueing in different languages

Irina can cue in both Japanese and English, and loves learning new cueing methods from her fellow instructors and students.

“Japanese is very rich with nuances and imagery. Students often think up images taken from the local culture or food. It's fun and I try to remember those specific cueing references so I can use them to improve my teaching in Japanese. And in a way it strengthens my relationship with clients; they trust me more because I speak their language and can help them more effectively.”

For more cueing ideas and techniques, check out our cueing videos on Merrithew IGTV!

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