HI - I teach a weekly seniors class since last September, and I've seen remarkable leaps and bounds in their skills, but more importantly in their mobility. I only do max. 20 minutes of core hooping, and have a super big hoop (Dave) that they all get a turn to go with. I have chairs around to encourage them to rest when needed, and if they do, it's only for a few seconds or minutes before they hop into hooping again. I take a long warm up with the hoop as a mobility and alignment guide - twists, side bends and flexion/extensions. Warm up wrists by wobbling the hoop, and neck by drawing circles with your nose. Remind them that they're unique, and to stay in their pain-free range of motion, and don't compare yourself to others - especially don't compare to your younger self. But: this demographic grew up with dancing as part of their culture, and know how to dance with a partner, so they have that advantage.
I use small lighter hoops for off-body, and do some shoulder openers before horizontal hand-passing, and go slow with that movement to create the muscle memory to build upon. Gentle breaks and reversals, both on and off body are good. Breaks at the waist, with elbows tucked into torso, are the exact same rotator cuff exercise many of them have done in physiotherapy, but it's way more fun with the hoop.
They love vertical arm weaves, great for their shoulders, but they have a hard time at first with the motion of vertical spinning, and discomfort on their hands. Many have arthritis, and hooping definitely helps, once you get over the discomfort. I encourage them to wear gardening gloves if it hurts at first. And I definitely encourage them to 'try easier' rather than 'trying harder'. This demographic, if they get hurt or bruising, will gossip like crazy between each other and crush the possibility of class sessions. So make it easy on them, address their ego - 'this is a circus skill, and you wouldn't expect to juggle 7 balls the first time you tried, so go easy on your expectations today'. And smile and laugh. It's contagious. I made up a great mix for seniors with Barry White and Tom Jones (She's a Lady and Sexbomb!) and other great songs we can all sing along to. I end up using that mix in other classes too, and it's so popular. Holiday by Madonna, and they love I'm Yours too. I end with Save the Last Dance for Me by Micheal Buble, and give them free dance time, not necessarily hooping, but holding the hoop while they move. It's fantastic to be a part of, I'm very appreciative of my senior hoopers.
Some of them have been with me for a whole year, and can lift and drop the hoop, hoop on hips and chest, and toss the hoop. They're lots of fun, but it took patience and consistency to lead them there. I talk alot about the health benefits of lubricating the joints iwth small, repetitive round movements, and listen to them. If they talk about hip or lower back discomfort, I'll show them some stretches like downward facing dog against the wall that can help. Deep breaths at beg and end of class too. I'm a yoga teacher, so this comes automatic to me. Definitely do some stretching after, that's puts the ribbon on the beautiful package of hooping your'e gifting them with. Have fun!
They love isolations too! and if there's some that prefer to sit in a chair, they can still do an isolation pattern. Isolations are core strengtheners, and I talk about how we've lost the natural strength we used to have when we harvested, chopped wood, and even fished for sustenance. Now we don't even open our own garage door. So lifting the hoop like a garage door, and side to side isolations builds up the strength we used to take for granted.
Jeesh, I obviously love this topic! if anyone has questions for me, or more suggestions on teaching seniors, I'll be following this thread too!
In my experience, seniors love stories and silliness. They love to hear stories of where hooping came from, why someone would do it, what my story is. They also love the chance to shake it inside the hoop, be silly, be smiley, be with others. Younger hoopers have a drive to 'get' a move or to learn a certain number of tricks. Seniors just want to have a good time, socialize, feel good. With older students I do more demos, and teach moves that are simple and gratifying, like posing or simple dance steps with the hoop around the body
Music is VERY important. Take some time to find some songs they'll like.
Jenny - great suggestions!!!
Thanks Sadie, yes, the Seniors are a superfun bunch, and once they let their inhibitions down, I find them the 'free-est' group that really enjoy themselves. I agree they aren't 'trick' driven, but truly love to shake it up. I use another song, "you must've been a beautiful baby' by Bobby Darin and I've made up an easy choreo for them. I'm hoping they'll let me video and post it soon!
Say hi to your mom for me Sadie! we had fun together at HoopCon. She was my partner for double chest rolls :O)
Wow! This information was so fantastic- all great suggestions and it totally made sense to me about the need to make them comfortable way before we get underway. And the music tips are great! I am so grateful to all of you for passing on your knowledge. I'll keep you posted. wendy
Greetings! My mother is a teacher (High School level Seniors as well) and from what I have observed, I agree with you. I think that your approach is probably the least daunting for beginnners, and I know what works well for me is watching a preformance because it opens up realms of possiblity previously unknown. Enthusiasm spreads like wildfire. You can demonstrate moves so that they can be inspired! The best of luck to you, happy hooping :)
I have done some classes for high schools, but unfortunately, in our province you can't get paid for in-school or after school activities unless it's a special event through the phys-ed or drama dept, who are already strapped for cash. I have done it for free, but unless the participants have some 'skin in the game' ie. paying for it, even $2 a class, they may not be fully committed to being there... so no, I haven't had a gratifying experience with high schools. I did some free stuff for my community, and my daughter's high school, but I was glad when it was over. I'm a generous person, but if your offering isn't being appreciated, it's hard to stay motivated. The students and teachers that were truly interested followed me to regular hoop classes, and we're all enjoying that.
But that's just my experience, yours might be completely different! good luck and keep an open mind and heart!