Tips from the pool deck: the power of prep

Preparation for an aqua fitness class involves more than just selecting the right music and moves.

Choosing the exercises and tunes is not the only preparation you need to do for your upcoming aqua class. Your mental preparation will also have a huge impact on its success or failure.

Have you ever been preparing for your aqua fitness class and found the following thoughts drifting into your head?

  • I can’t be bothered
  • I don’t have enough energy
  • It will be too hot on pool deck
  • It shouldn’t be my job to set up and pack up the equipment
  • I’m over teaching aqua.

And, interestingly enough, your prediction turned out to be true?

Your thoughts become reality

Entering a situation with negativity only creates more negativity.

Luckily, we are free to choose how we feel and react to situations. In this situation you can use your free will to create a more positive experience for yourself and your participants. When an instructor truly enjoys teaching, their participants will benefit and feel enthused by their passion.

Affirmations are an effective way of improving self-confidence, positivity and general mental wellbeing. Can you remember why you chose to become an aqua instructor in the first place? Remind yourself that participants choose to attend the class and embrace what you have to offer, so you are making a positive difference to their lives. Begin the class focusing on the outcomes that have positive fitness, wellness and social benefits. Have a genuine belief that you are doing something that not only benefits participants who attend the class, but also yourself, and the class will ooze excellence.


Give your mind and body a refresher by participating in someone else’s aqua class. Perhaps experiencing all those wonderful soothing, therapeutic qualities we love about the water from the perspective of participant will reignite your aqua instructing passion and your creativity!

As much as regular repetition of the same move allows participants to become proficient, evidence demonstrates that change is also important for the mind and body. A fresh stimulus challenges the body and promotes the development of strength, coordination, balance, posture and general fitness. Get in the water, get inspired and incorporate your new ideas into the plan for your next class.

Steps to making it happen

Challenge yourself to create one or two (or eight!) new aqua moves you’ve never used before, maybe grabbing a piece of equipment and seeing what you can come up with. Practise the new moves until you’re confident enough to implement them in your next class.

Demonstrate with technical skill, but also recognise your own personality, passion, flair and commitment; doing so is an important part of class preparation that will shine through to your participants, taking you from being a good to a great aqua instructor.

Jennifer Schembri-Portelli, aka ‘JSP’, is a skilled fitness and aqua professional with over 25 years experience. She also founded Water Exercise Training Service (WETS), an education provider whose aqua fitness qualifications are now delivered in partnership with AUSTSWIM. In 2015 JSP was named Australian Fitness Network’s Author of the Year.