What made you start teaching circus skills? Did your coach ask you to help out on a class? Were you drawn to the idea of sharing your knowledge with others?

Although not everyone’s experience, my first foray into coaching seems similar to many others I’ve asked this question of. The most common answer seems to be “I had been training for a while, and an opportunity came up to earn some cash teaching what I had learnt to others.” Which begs the question, why would you continue doing a job that is so demanding and constantly challenging? Well here are just a few reasons why I could never stop coaching.

That “wow” moment when a student nails that trick they’ve been working towards.

The feeling your student gets when they nail that trick. We’ve all felt it, it’s almost like you’ve found the Holy Grail. It’s a pay-off that proves the hard work has been worth every bit of blood, sweat and tears of joy along the way.

But I find that there is a double sense of achievement that happens as a teacher. Once a student starts working towards a goal, I become just as invested in it as they are. So when they kick that goal, not only is the student is ecstatic, but I am beaming alongside them. Never be afraid to scream with joy, fist pump with abandon, or generally just lose it after someone does their first swan roll / backflip / 5 ball flash, ‘cos that’s the wow moment happening for you as the teacher too.

You are playing a part in changing someone’s life.

Yep, you really are. I don’t care if it sounds cliche (and if it is a cliche, it’s because it happens so often). You might get caught up in the daily routine of your teaching, but now and then it catches you by surprise and that feeling is AMAZING.

The best changes happen over extended periods of time, which brings me to the next point.

When that ‘difficult student’ finds their feet and you just want to give them all the high fives ever. 

Yes I know, some students can be challenging to teach, while others just reduce you to a shaking puddle of tears at the end of every class. But if you dig a bit deeper, you may find that one thing that changes the game forever. Maybe it’s a lack of confidence; or perhaps they haven’t yet experienced the rewards of practice (most likely both). In other cases it may be just a long road to build up some basic strength and mobility. Slowly but steady, you explore different ways to motivate them. Then you turn around and BOOM! BEST FEELING EVER!

Community – get amongst it.

When you teach in one place for an extended period of time, you become an important part of the local community. Your circus school is a place where students meet new friends, parents catch up while their little ones hang from a trapeze. A couple of terms in the pre-school circus class is a rite of passage for every child in that family of five. Kids are car pooled in for afternoon classes. Nurses, accountants and web designers find common ground climbing a tissu. Amongst all this people get to know each other and make lasting connections.

You help give someone a sense of identity.

Circus freak. Aerial nerd. Tumbling geek. Not an insult, but more of a badge of honour.

Kids laugh at your jokes.

So I’ve been told. This has never happened to me yet.

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I would love to hear your thoughts on this post. What reasons do you have for wanting to be a better coach?

Please leave your comments below!

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