Tips for Coaches: Splitting Your Class into Groups
Written by TJ O’Brien

As a coach, the seemingly simple act of splitting your group into two can sometimes turn into a bit of an awkward social experiment. 

If your group easily pairs off, great! But if not, here are some tips. 

Tip #1: Counting Off

Have the group count off, “1,” “2,” “1,” etc, until everyone has counted off as a “one” or a “two.” Make clear directives. “Ones go to the bikes, and twos go to the floor.” 

Tip #2: The Buddy System

If you want your group to have the choice of who to work with, tell them to find a partner, and then start counting down from 10. A little time pressure goes a long way in getting people moving to the task at hand. 

Then, always double check to see that everyone has a partner. Take ownership if there are a few leftover (and often less socially inclined) members at the end of that process and pair them up as best as you can. Warm-up partners don’t make or break a class experience, so do your best to pair off people in a way that makes sense, but don’t put too much pressure on it. 

Tip #3: Take the Thinking Out of the Equation

If you’ve let them choose their own partners, and it’s time to head to the first station, you may hear people deliberating which one to start at. Make it easy for them! Telling them “taller person goes to bikes” or “younger person goes to the floor,” is an easy way to inject a little fun between the partners. It’s also really fun to then have all the tall people or young people work together in a smaller group. 

When coaches understand and implement tools like these, they curate more enriching experiences for members and classes on the floor, have greater impact on client’s goal achievement, foster a greater sense of community within the gym, and ultimately influence higher membership retention. 

Managing classes, especially bigger ones, is a vital tool. Not just because it’s time efficient and orderly, but because it frees you up to actually do what they came for – to be coached! 

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