Hooping Certifications and You

certifiable hula hoop[Hooping.org columnist Shannon Herrington takes a closer look at hooping certifications.]

by Shannon Herrington

If you’ve been around the hoopersphere for any length of time, you might have stumbled across these people that call themselves “Certified Hoop Instructors.” While the hoop instructor part is pretty self explanatory, given that they are someone who instructs people on how to hoola, the question here is, how did they become certified? What does being certified mean exactly? Are all certified hoop instructors the same? Do you need to be taught how to hoop by a teacher who has that word attached to their title? If you’ve been hooping for awhile and are considering teaching others, do you need to be certified? And should these certifications be a source of concern for the greater hooping community? One thing seems to be clear, while hooping certifications do not necessarily make the hooper, it does seem like a good time for us to take a step back and take a closer look at certifications and just what they’re all about.

When someone says they are a Certified Hoop Instructor, what this means is that they’ve been certified by some sort of program that was created by either one of various hooping brands that offer this service or possibly by a singular hooper as well who has decided to teach others how they teach and give them a certificate that says they, pun intended, jumped through the necessary hoop to get it.

When you go to your local gym and you meet a trainer or fitness professional, these instructors are certified under pretty clear industry standards. There are, in fact, exams they must successfully pass, and there are college courses to teach them what they need and ultimately prepare them for their exams. Want to teach yoga? Here in Kentucky you need to complete a 200 hour Yoga Teacher Training certificate program consisting of 180 classrooms hours and 20 internship/externship hours. When it comes to hooping, however, most of the currently available hooping certifications mean very little by comparison.

While hooping certifications are not necessary, they do help the hooping community in various ways and there are various programs out in the great world of hooping. Many of these certifications originate from hoop company brands, like BodyHoops, HoopGirl, Hoopnotica, the Canadian Hoop Appeal and others. Other programs are more relative to individuals who teach how they teach like Betty Shurin of Betty Hoops or Mary Pulak of Hooked on Hooping. Hoop Revolution takes an even different approach allowing you to be certified in mentoring your students. Still others offer other types of certifications that are different still. It’s become impossible to keep track of them all. Some allow you to use their brand for an extra fee. Most give you materials of some kind, which vary. Some programs include DVDs, class manuals and more depending on the course that is chosen. BodyHoops will give you a few hoops, a DVD and music. Hoopnotica will give you a manual and DVDs. Some includes discounts on their products and updates to their manuals when they become available. Others include the discount in their optional licensing. And as smaller brands and more individuals seem to be getting on the certification band wagon, the options can be daunting. The biggest key is to research your perfect certification. Location might be your deciding factor, though it doesn’t have to be.

Within the many choices when it comes to teacher certification, some are now offering distance training through the mail or Internet. Body Hoops Distance Learning Teacher Training requires attendees to get their lessons by video online at Hooping University. Others offer “hoops for kids” programs which might be good for hoopers intending to hoop with children in their classes. Most certifications programs require re-certification for an additional fee after a year or two. These programs are pricey considering you could pay around $150 to $600, excluding the reoccurring costs of re-certifications (depending on the levels and program choices). Body Hoops online distance classes will set you back $375 and you won’t get your CEUs if you take their classes online. Let me explain that last part.

Of all of the certifications out there, two are approved by fitness associations like Aerobics and Fitness Association of America and the American Council on Exercise. These programs are BodyHoops (approved by ACE and AAFA) and HoopGirl (approved by AAFA). If a personal trainer were to take a BodyHoops hooping certification class, they’d be rewarded with continuing education units (CEUs) for their American Council of Exercise (ACE) certification. Programs operating with approval from fitness organizations show that the certification has a safe and approved written curriculum and the inventor has to be a group fitness instructor and certified personal fitness trainer. Final approval for hoop programs takes many months to achieve. A hoop instruction certification from one of these programs may help a hooper gain access to teaching in a gym as well.

With today’s economy and the large fees that some are charging though, will a potential hoop teacher be able to recoup these costs through classes? We are also talking about teaching people how to hula hoop, leaving me to wonder if this isn’t just one giant scheme to sell ice to eskimos. Heather doesn’t think so. She chose to get a certification through Hoopnotica. She told me, “[Hoopnotica] has name recognition having been in the hooping business for a significant amount of time, and that appealed to me.” Another point she brought up is the fact that most hoopers forget how to break down the move. Heather says, “The most important thing I learned during the process was how to break down moves for people who have no experience hooping at all, and which ways are easiest to learn. Once you’ve been hooping for a while, it’s hard to remember how to do it ‘wrong.'”

Some people are natural teachers, but having someone to guide a hooper to teach can be amazing for the un-natural teacher.  I took a beginner-intermediate class with Caroleeena. Even though I hadn’t signed up for teacher certification, she taught the class like everyone would be teachers.  The next few days, I implemented what she said in her class.  The confidence of teaching with a proven technique was extremely rewarding.

A certification may open doors for some potential teachers. Abby Albaum from Hoola Monsters found it impossible to teach in gyms in the beginning of her teaching career.  Through certifying through Hoopgirl, she was able to learn how to teach, show gym managers the validity through hooping, and didn’t have to reinvent the wheel.  In Abby’s area, most gyms preferred having a certification.  Other places like dance studios or yoga studios, didn’t care much about a certification.  Abby says about her training experience, “From day one, Christabel told us this class was to empower us to teach on our own and that the HoopGirl program was to serve as a reference point/ guide.” Over time, she was able to develop and hone her own teaching practices. “I have been a full-time hoop dance instructor for more than two years now, and I’ve experimented a lot,” she said. “I’ve held on to the teaching practices that my students respond well to, and I’ve omitted the things that they don’t.”  In January of 2012, Abby will be launching a hooping certification program of her own, which she intends to have approved by fitness organizations

While some seem to know what they are doing, anyone make up a random hoop certification and more are coming out every year. Some hoopers will choose to pay the price for one and others will not. Certifications are not necessary for teaching hoop dancing and hopefully certifications will never be necessary as they are in other fields. While some see certified hooping instructors giving credibility, knowledge, and professionalism to hooping, my favorite local teachers are not certified and they will work with me till I get a move down. Just try telling all of the amazing hoopers out there that they need to have a hoop certification in order to teach. How many of those teaching hoop certification programs have a certification? The biggest thing that makes a hooper a great teacher in my book is the passion to spread the hoop love and loving time with their own hoop.

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Shannon HerringtonShannon Herrington/ of Hoop Love lives in Nicholasville, Kentucky, USA.

23 thoughts on “Hooping Certifications and You

  1. Great piece! I just would like to say that it reminds me a bit of something I learned while my daughter was involved in the pre-pro dance community. She spent 8 years dancing with a company that was at first, impressive. Then I saw a ballet on TV and thought to myself “that doesn’t look like what you’re doing” and promptly sought out other dance studios with “better” credentials. I found The Rock School (based in Philadelphia), and quickly discovered that their instructors were current performers & choreographers with professional companies with graduate degrees in performing arts.
    “WOW” I thought to myself, “lets try this school!”
    After her audition for class placement the ballet mistress took me aside and said to me
    “We have to completely retrain her.”
    I was instantly nauseous, and angry thinking of all the money & time we spent (wasted?) at the other studio and asked her what she meant by that.
    “There are basic head, foot and body positions she doesn’t even know the names of.”
    Then she continued to explain that “Studios like your daughter’s previous studio teach the kids ROUTINES and performance numbers for showcases. The Rock School teaches kids HOW to dance..”
    That made instant sense.
    My point is YES anyone can teach hoop, and GOD LOVE the spreading of the hoop love in all shapes & forms!! However, after going through the Hoopnotica certification- having been trained by a Hoopnotica master trainer, I felt that they were breaking down the moves and teaching HOW to hoop (as well as building teachers’ confidence in their teaching skills AND hoop skills) as opposed to just teaching tricks or routines. Obviously Hoopnotica tends to focus most on the fitness part of hoopdance and the health & mental benefits of hooping, not as much the performance art. I’d say most hoop teachers will do better in gyms, the YMCA, etc by selling hooping from this point and I think that’s where a “certification” will come in handy (Hoopnotica is an AFAA affiliate, by the way)
    HOWEVER- I think the more experienced hoopers could also benefit (and and strive for) classes and teachers that focus on hoop performance art & skills. (Including me!)

    Even as teachers, we’re still HOOP ADDICTS and ANY instruction, be it with a “certified teacher” or “that chick/dude over there that looks so amazingly tuned into her/his flow”, is always beneficial and food for the soul. Sometimes, the “certified teacher” IS that chick/dude.
    Everyone’s learning style is different, everyone’s teaching style is different, and possibly certifications can get you teaching a class in the gym… but the hoop love is always the same. And any way to spread that love is a way to spread more much needed joy into our world. 🙂

    1. Forgot to mention that although my daughter’s early dance instruction wasn’t “technically correct” it did instill a love of dance that carried over into her technical training, and that is priceless. I feel the same way about hoop instruction.
      Okay, I’m done now.. and possibly had too much coffee, haha!

  2. I will weigh in as both a certified personal trainer and a Hoopnotica certified instructor. First, while personal training has gained credibility over the years, it didn’t start out that way. With the work of ACE, ACSM and others, we’ve achieved a better standard. Still, there are “weekend certifications” that still exist and the public should be wary. Myself I am certified by the American College of Sports Medicine – ACSM, as a Health Fitness Specialist, one step up from Personal Trainer. The test is challenging and I went to college for Exercise Science to prepare. With Hoopnotica, I look at the certification program as being their prime product and the backbone of the company, because teachers add a personal touch to the hoops and DVDs they sell. We are the message to the community that hooping is possible to learn. There are many people, I suspect, that would never pick up a hoop because they think they can’t do it. Certification just ensures that the instructor is prepared with the skill structure, troubleshooting and teaching methods in order to help the student be successful. I also believe that it does go best with additional certifications in group exercise or training, because those provide the base of anatomy, physiology and other concepts of exercise science. If we take someone into a lunge with their hoop, for example, the instructor should know proper position in order to minimize injury. What it comes down to, is being as prepared as you can be, to work with people and I expect as time goes on, hooping certifications will achieve the same professional importance as yoga certs. Hoopnotica has a great structure of master trainers that make sure each candidate knows the teaching points and can demonstrate each move correctly. I feel confident that I have my teacher manual and specific teaching points to rely on.

  3. Oh and also, certifications give hooping credibility, expanding it beyond the performing arts (love you performers) and moving it into mainstream fitness where hopefully, it will continue to grow and remain for a long time, living beyond a “trend”. (I avoid “trend” or “fad” in my marketing — hooping is here to stay) All you have to do is look at yoga and personal training to see the staying power of those branches of fitness and that is largely due to the education of practitioners.

  4. Great article. The explosion in certification programs is kind of a conundrum. Our culture appreciates credentials, so sometimes an “official” stamp of approval means more than anything. Including experience. I’ve often imagined a scenario where a hooper who has been teaching for years (let’s just say Caroleeena, for example, since she was mentioned in the piece) and someone who has been hooping for six months — but taken a weekend course — both approach the same venue, and the “certified” teacher is chosen. I guess this clash between practical experience and paid-for credentials probably happens with yoga and other disciplines, too. Anyway, I thought this article did a good job of exploring all sides of hoop teacher certification, including the benefits and the drawbacks. Thanks for the thoughtful inquiry, Shannon.

  5. Thank you for writing this article. Because of the issues discussed in your article, I wanted to share my thoughts on my very recent Hoopnotica Teacher Training.

    I never thought that I would end up going to a teacher training for hooping but, now that I’ve had the experience, I can’t believe I had second thoughts. For the past two years that I’ve been hooping, I had a solitary practice and watched YouTube for inspiration of new tricks and tips on hooping techniques. But, after so many friends of mine asked me “Can you show me how to do THAT??”, I decided to try teaching a free summer class at my local playground.

    It went pretty well all summer long and I thought I’d helped a bunch of enthusiastic ladies (and children) to hoop. My only problem was that I felt like I got tongue tied trying to explain how to perform more advanced moves and wished I’d had a “hooping vocabulary” to pull from while teaching my classes.

    Finally, I signed up for a Hoopnotica Teacher Training course that was offered about an hour away from me. And, after meeting Jacqui Becker, I was SO happy that I’d decided to go for it. She not only gave me the “hooping vocabulary” I was looking for, but also shared step by step directions on how to teach even the simplest of moves in the most user friendly terms. I was not only inspired by her enthusiasm and patience, but also by how confident she felt in her own abilities to teach and to help others. It was like an “ah-ha!” moment when I learned how to break more complicated moves into a bunch of simpler steps – and how to troubleshoot when hoopers “go wrong”.

    I think that obtaining a hooping certification is more for yourself than for other people. It’s not to boast or to show that you’re better than other hoopers, but to make you feel more confident in how to explain hooping techniques with others and how to inspire yourself by knowing the foundations of even the simplest of moves.

    To me, the certification was a very worthwhile experience – plus, I had a lot of fun connecting with other hoopers in my area and knowing that, now, I have a Hooping Family to call upon if I need assistance. I agree that it also helps with credibility – it’s like you’ve verified that you have spent a certain amount of hours learning to teach other people how to hoop…and how to hoop safely.

    Thanks for reading – Happy Hooping!

  6. Great article! Thanks and I too want to share some information regarding the Hoopnotica certification. First, they are AAFA accredited and are in the process of obtaining ACE accreditation.

    I chose Hoopnotica after viewing their basic DVD and the way they break down the moves. I needed to be able to pick up the moves, turn around and teach them with the right words. I have ADD and words are not my friends, LOL. Hoopnotica provided several ways for me to explain to people (we don’t all learn with the same words) how to master the basic hoop moves. They also teach that people don’t connect the words to the movements the same way and their program really emphasizes how people learn differently.

    They teach us how we can instill positive encouragement during the learning process and to empower the student.

    Hoopnotica teaches ways to build intensity for each move and probably most important they have a troubleshooting section for each move. There’s lots of specific ideas and suggestions to help people do it right.

    They are also very knowledgeable when it comes to hoop injuries and how to prevent them.

    I was at at Wellness Fair with one of the master trainers this past weekend and it was really something special to see mom and dad hooping with the kids. Most adults came over with the attitude “I couldn’t do this as a kid, I can’t do it now”. The dads just had to try it when they saw how well their sons picked it up. It was really something to watch when they picked up a hoop, listened to some instruction, and “got it” on the second or third try. It was an experience I’ll never forget and without the Hoopnotica background I would never have been able to empower so many people.

    Thanks again for this article and a chance to talk about my experience with training.

  7. As a certified HoopGirl instructor and performer, I enjoyed reading this article. I agree–getting certified helped my confidence, and a great way for me to learn how to break down moves and teach people how to hoop using “hoop vocabulary.” I think there are people who do things well, but that doesnt necessarily mean they can teach what they can do. And it depends on the person,too–some people are “natural teachers” who know how to break things down. I needed that coaching and certification to help me teach others!

  8. Good information! I teach fitness hooping for a local YMCA branch and am interested in doing the best job I can, including a hooping certification. I think most of the certifications available would be useful to teaching, but as the article mentions, not all are accredited or accepted by the fitness community. I looked into BodyHoops because of its acceptance by ACE, but it’s important to realize that at this moment, their distance learning option is not accredited by ACE. I’m hoping that will be remedied soon.

  9. I researched different hoop companies when I decided to change my life in 2009. Hoopnotica seemed like the most comprehensive, well-rounded program out there. In the process of teaching myself through their wonderful dvds, I lost over 140lbs, my husband lost 100lbs (using their curriculum as our only form of cardio, and making adjustments to our eating) and became a certified Hoopnotica instructor through their distance program. We are AFAA accredited and soon to be ACE as well. Coming from a background of morbid obesity and having NO concept of how to teach or how to DO fitness classes, Hoopnotica provided a sound, structured outline that gave me confidence and knowledge to bring Hooping to my community. I have been teaching for almost 2 years, and am also now a certified ACE group fitness instructor and personal trainer as well, as is my husband-and he teaches hoop too!

    In addition to that, I am a Hoopnotica Master Trainer, and train others to teach Hoop. Hooping has changed my life, and I am not a “natural” hooper that could just watch youtube or go to a festival and learn. I wanted a strong, solid foundation in fitness and layering a class together, especially a multi-level drop in format like the Y offers.

    I certified my boss at the Y, who has been in the fitness industry for decades, and is a trainer of many certifications herself, and she was highly impressed with the Hoopnotica curriculum, the training, and she loves the classes that I offer via the Hoopnotica structure-so much so that she wanted to add it to her list of certifications and teach as well!

    An in-depth training offers confidence, connection, and more importantly, the opportunity to connect with other teachers and become part of something bigger than the area where you teach. Hoopnotica provides ongoing training and support for their instructors, through a variety of mediums, one of the best being their private instructor website. This offers instructors a chance to learn, ask questions, share experiences, mentor new instructors and make the learning curve a little less rocky, and become part of the Hoopnotica family. It is not a piece of paper you pay X dollars for and then move on your merry way.

    Hoopnotica has transformed my life in every possible way-from the outside-49% body fat to 19%, from being a SAHM who’s husband was laid off, to having a thriving business and being on the Today Show, in a variety of national and local media, able to share our journey and pay it forward to others who may feel like they can never become the person they have always wanted to be-and it’s incredible.

    If I had never picked up their dvd and done their certification, who knows where I would be. But I know it wouldn’t be in the place I am today, healthy, happy, and whole, from the inside out. My life has literally been transformed by Hoopnotica, and I adore being part of their family-from the 400+ certified instructors throughout the world, to my fellow Master Trainers, to the CEOs, to the incredible staff at the office who make things happen-this is what their training and their certification has given me, and what I pass on to my hoopers, and the instructors I train.

    JEN
    Hoopnotica certified instructor and Hoopnotica Master Trainer
    http://www.RocCityHoopdance.com
    http://www.Hoopnotica.com/jenmoore

  10. Great article-thought provoking and bound to generate an interesting debate. As a veteran of years of a wide variety of fitness classes, I have learned what makes a good instructor and a good class. When the opportunity arose to teach hooping, I knew that I wanted to be certified for my own personal satisfaction. After looking into what was available, I chose Hoopnotica which I found to have the right balance of fitness and fun. Hoopnotica helped me to plan a structured class for students of various fitness and proficiency levels and to present hooping in a safe and engaging manner. Far from just a weekend workshop or reviewing a dvd, I found the certification process to be very challenging. The written and practical exams were comprehensive and quite detailed with a master trainer providing thorough critiques. The certification gave me the confidence that I could teach students of all different levels in a safe and effective manner. The Hoopnotica community provides me with continuing support and feedback as well as encouragement to keep developing new skills. Do I enjoy learning from my non-certified hooping friends? Of course! Certification alone does not make a good teacher. It was simply the right choice for me.

  11. My apologies if I missed something in all my digging, but I didn’t see any record of Hoopnotica’s program being AFAA approved on their website. Did I miss it on the website?

    @Jennbekah You say Hoopnotica is an AFAA affiliate. What exactly does that mean because it sounds different to me. Most of the other hooping programs use words like “approval.”

    Thanks for all the wonderful comments and stories, everyone!

  12. Hello All,

    I just wanted to clarify something… I have been doing LOTS of research regarding the process of obtaining approval through fitness organizations for hoop dance curricula. When I launch my program, I want to be sure that the certification will mean something in the fitness world and to gyms/ fitness professionals who want to see the validity of the hoop dance curriculum. The following is a message I received directly from my contact at the American Council on Exercise… (In my correspondence prior to receiving this communication, I was using the term “accredited”). And according to my research and communications with these fitness organizations directly, there currently are not any hoop dance certification programs that are accredited. These programs are “approved” and there’s a big difference between the two. FYI – CEC is “continuing education credits.”

    “I wanted to clarify something with you before you proceed. You are not receiving an “accreditation” as you stated in your email. All we do is review your course and approve it so you can provide CECs at the workshop to ACE professionals who attend the workshop. Getting an actual “accreditation” is a lengthy process through the NCCA. There are 12 organizations that have an NCCA accreditation: ACE, ACSM, NSCA, NASM, etc. The NCCA accreditation is to the fitness industry as the USDE (US Department of Education) accreditation is to college curriculum. So, be careful how you position yourself and don’t say your program is “accredited.”

  13. yes, this article is not completely accurate in the information that is being shared here.
    1. Bodyhoops does not offer certification, because as Abby pointed out ACE doesn’t allow that phrasing for trainings that are approved by ACE, we offer a training course that includes a one year license.
    2. The bodyhoops distance training is currently in review by ACE and will be approved for CEU’s in 2012.
    http://www.bodyhoops.com/Distance_Learning_Teacher_Training_Level_1_p/dltt.htm
    3. Bodyhoops is the only LIVE training program that is currently approved by ACE and AFAA. This is the Level 1 and Fit Kids live trainings and again, the distance trainings for these programs will also be approved in 2012.

  14. totally love this article as the concept of certification is something i’ve been struggling with personally as of late, specifically the whole “there are so many options, is it worth it to me to be certified by a bunch of different people/what will i learn/is there too much redundancy/is it really worth it”

    I don’t think that people need to rely on their certification to teach, but on some level i think doing at least one program to learn how to instruct people can be helpful. I know I’ve taken some classes with astoundingly good hoopers who had never taken a certification course and we learned at a very slow pace. (Like, I was taking classes on the east coast for about 6 months and could not figure out chest hooping at all, as everything was taught in a more organic “when you get it, you’ll get it” and then I moved to LA where it kind of feels like everyone is Hoopnotica certified and they had people doing chest/shoulders within weeks) So while the teachers themselves were excellent and awesome people, they weren’t technically proficient at articulating the movement or thought processes that would make understanding the mechanics behind certain moves easier. On the inverse, I’ve taken courses with “certified” teachers who were not phenomenal hoopers (like, to the point where they apologized), but were excellent teachers. I think both approaches have their pros and cons, as there really is something to be said for “When you get it, you’ll get it” because it does foster a natural environment where we were essentially teaching ourselves, which was super gratifying. There’s also the element of the pleasure principal and how awesome you feel when you nail a move in a short amount of time and totally understand -why- and -how- you did it, something that often stems more from the tried and true methodology behind the companies that do certification.

    Obviously one issue with any certification is that there is no consistent hoop terminology, which just throws a huge wrench into the whole machine really, since what you learn from a HoopGirl teacher v a Hoopnotica teacher might be the same thing but uses entirely different lingo which just makes it super confusing, especially if you’re a total newbie. Plus the knowledge foundation for a level 1 Hoopnotica teacher might be totally different than level 1 for HoopGirl or Level 1 Hoop Revolution (and I’m speaking from experience here as I’m certified through both Hoop Revolution and Hoopnotica and there are pretty big variances in what each curriculum has per level)

    I also think that certification speaks to different audiences. While the author of this article, or myself, might be more into learning in a spin jam/ “work it will we get it” environment, there are people who are totally into the RAAAR HOOPING = WEIGHT LOSS mindset, and they’re gonna be more attracted to a certified teacher since they might not care about the dance element, and are all in it for the cardio.

    So yeah, I think there are pros and cons to both, primarily what i said earlier about having worked with fantastic hoopers where there was a steeeeeep learning curve vs working with less than fantastic hoopers who could articulate moves/tricks super eloquently and quickly. I think in the end it really depends on what the student wants. I really enjoyed my 6 months of hoop classes on the east coast because we were totally a little community who shared things with each other we’d picked up online or our teacher who show us things she’d picked up in various hoop related travels. There was no itinerary or expectations. Being as I was in no rush to use hooping to lose weight or to be an entertainer, I loved it. That said, there are people who just want to learn the basics and use them for exercise, who want super structured classes or series, and I think in those cases, certification can help.

  15. Oh one more thing that I do worry about with certification is that for people who rely on that for the entirety of their hoop learning, they kind of collapse at the end of the itinerary because they are so reliant on it for knowledge that they aren’t trying to expand their own skillset organically (if that makes sense?). Like, I’ve taken classes with people who are certified through level x from brand x and that is essentially -all- they know. that’s more a concern for people who want to learn hoopdance v hoop exercise though

  16. I agree with this article in many ways. I think that it is important that you point out the abstract nature of being a “certified hoop instructor”. However, I was certified in 2009 by Body Hoops and have found it to be a useful tool in gaining credibility and respect for moving forward with my hoop business. Though a credential does not inherently create a “teacher”, it does help “teachers” to gain status and respect when representing hooping as a legitimate fitness resource when you are looking to start a class at a local gym, school, community center, etc. Certified teachers lend legitimacy to all hoopers because they show that there is a structure and methodology to hooping that gives hope to people who consider themselves uncoordinated, clumsy, or without artistic expression.

    Just like, not everyone who takes a yoga class can teach yoga to a group or even another individual, not every hooper can teach hooping to another person because sometime they don’t know how they are doing what they do.

    A certification class can give you helpful tips on how to help new students trouble shoot, prevent against injuries, and transition skills into dance. Though not all “certified instructors” are good teachers, not all good teachers are certified. If you are teaching classes regularly in a facility or even just in public parks, you will want to obtain fitness insurance to protect yourself against our overly litigious society. Having a certification behind you make finding affordable fitness insurance waaaaaay cheaper (I’ve checked).

    For me, becoming certified has allowed me entrance to several spheres of influence that I may not otherwise have been able to access as “some hula hooper”. The choice to get certified is individually sacred and not an end-all-be-all decision. My certification gives me confidence to teach a class knowing that I am trained to safely and efficiently help spread hoop love at any institution I want; whether it’s a public beach or a private dance studio. Hooping is a communal love and I doubt that the whole hoop community will implode because I few people spent the extra buck to gain the confidence and legitimacy they require to move forward with their dream.

  17. WOW – thank you Shannon first of all for writing this and thanks to every single one of the comments posted on this article. I have been hooping for a mere 6 months now and from early on, I just KNEW that at some point (when I got “better”) I wanted to share my love and grow this community.

    I have evolved from being isolated in my own home teaching myself through DVDs, inspiring myself by going online and listening to others’ stories to someone who was willing to join a class and learn in the live environment, not only from the teachers (certified as well as non) but from fellow hoopers as well (non-certified and certified as well.) I have learned greatly from BOTH.

    Just like in college, I didn’t learn by just going to class and listening to the (certified) professor, but by being a part of the class discussion. The times my education expanded the most was when I listened to what other students had to say. The class discussion would not exist without the professor leading the discussion, who is certified to do so.

    However, knowledge spreads in many ways. Socrates, Plato and Aristotle were not “certified” but so much of what we know today stems from their teachings and the discussions of their teachings. Was Beethoven a certified music instructor? Many great kings and leaders have been educated by tutors, who were not certified. My daughter has a math tutor, who is not yet certified as a math teacher, yet this young tutor is an excellent guide and resource for my daughter as she struggles to learn math.

    Education comes from the relationship between teacher and student, each learning from the other. Knowledge grows when both interact. Further, when the student then becomes the teacher, the knowledge in our community grows and our society flourishes.

    I view our non certified teachers out there as our founding fathers of our hoop society. They are the forerunners of this movement, who have had and continue to have such passion for learning and sharing and teaching that have inspired the rest of us to learn to hoop, continue to hoop, to teach the hoop or just share with anyone who wants to know what we certifiably know – that hooping is good for your soul.

    So thank you to all the certifiably non certified as well as the certifiably certified. You ALL make the world a better place.

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