So you’ve come to the end of your teacher training and its now time to venture into the world of being responsible for other peoples bodies, minds and spirit.
There’s more than enough to worry about with remembering our order, spring settings, keeping the clients safe, not to mention, have we chosen an outfit that matches our fresh and new professional image?
However, have we stopped to consider our apparatus?
Its not just a new teacher issue, many experienced teachers, who confidently rock their stuff day in day out, develop an understandable block when it comes to the upkeep of their studio equipment.
Knowing that your apparatus is in safe order is important.
Now before you roll your eyes at me and move onto a less obvious article I assure you I really don’t write this to cause offense. Its an obvious statement but I simply want you all to have a safe and prosperous Pilates life.
Of course, we’re going to check the immediate and obvious things, things we are comfortable with, but its often the case that many teachers can feel a sense of worry, or perhaps ill-prepared when it comes to maintaining the studio at a nuts and bolts level.
The issue is not just for the new teacher, it’s something that many trainings don’t really go into and if you’ve been renting space or working for someone else, then the responsibility has usually been falling to the owner.
However, we should understand that knowing if the apparatus we are using is safe or not, is our responsibility too, and in rolling up our sleeves and grabbing a tool box, we can connect with the method on a whole new level.
Besides, if its your client poised for action below the push through bar, you’re going to want to know that that safety chain is regularly checked, and the nut on the eyebolt is tightened to perfection.
When we consider that Joe Pilates actually built and designed his own equipment, I feel that it highlights what a great tool understanding the apparatus you are using can be, towards really understanding the exercises you are teaching, and going deeper into the method.
Initially this can be as simple as completing your training to begin working in a studio that has a completely different brand of manufacturer to the one you trained on.
In this case its a straight forward fix. Trust in the system, and your knowledge of the method and get on those apparatus and explore before you teach.
If you have any doubts or queries, ask other more experienced teachers, and ultimately get on the piece and experience the difference yourself.
If your training was with a good school, then you should feel equipped to teach the body in front of you on the apparatus you have available. If this is not the case, then you may need to dig a little deeper, but, with the right effort, the information is out there, with people only too willing to support.
Either way, remember, its ok not to know everything. As a teacher, this is where the real learning journey begins, and should never end, so ask questions, read blogs, join forums, and review your manual.
But what happens when its time to venture out on your own and the studio is yours? Your equipment, your responsibility.
Here is where I often see people’s fingers twitching over the panic button.
Alarm no more, there’s many options out there available to make sure your studio is safe and ready for action.
If you’re buying new from one of the bigger brands, such as Peak Pilates, then you can be confident that your apparatus is in great shape, but even so, its important to be part of the process of putting it all together. Even something as simple as putting a pin in the wrong way can result in parts not lasting, or bolts shearing, so pay attention to the assembly instructions and once again, if in doubt, ask someone in the know, or contact the manufacturer.
Most manufacturers are pretty keen to have you sing the praises of their apparatus, so will be helpful. However, having the serial number at hand when you call will allow them to reference the exact piece you are working on. So its a good idea to dig this out, or photograph the label, before you get started.
This is also the case when replacing parts or repairing gear. The serial number ensures that the new pieces are compatible with your apparatus and makes sure you get the right part.
Keeping a maintenance check or repair log book is a good idea too. Do a regular check of all gear, rotate springs where applicable and note what was checked and any repairs performed. Even highlighting future repairs will help you to plan for ordering parts and not leave you with apparatus out of service.
This is a great practice for studio owners, to support our insurance too.
For those fortunate enough to live in a Pilates dense area, then chances are there’s someone around who provides a reputable maintenance service. In Southern California The Pilates Guy provides this and is used by many studios to ensure that their equipment is in good functioning order. Elsewhere, ask other established teachers or studios.
Another option is to take a specific maintenance workshop, which can be a great way to develop the skills and confidence to work on your own apparatus.
If you’re happy getting hands on with your own gear, or trust someone who is, then Peak Pilates offer a few simple safety checks on their website. Its helpful stuff and although written with Peak gear in mind, can easily be adapted for other makes.
I think that once the barrier of getting hands on with your beautiful apparatus has been breached, the reality of doing the maintenance yourself can actually be a fun new aspect to being a Pilates teacher.
As you gain confidence with your alum key and hex spanner, you’ll also develop a deeper relationship with the inner workings and mechanics of each apparatus and even the idiosyncrasies of each individual piece. This can only make your connection and understanding of the method deeper, and your teaching even stronger and more confident.
So if you want to find out a little more, then check out my blog MAINTENANCE TIPS and grab your tools, and lets go to work.
And as with all things Pilates, if you have any questions please feel free to be in touch.