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One Coach or Four? The Ups and Downs of Circus Monogamy: Part 2

German Wheel Wishbone

I call this move “Wishbone”!

Hello again, Dear Danglers! If you missed Part 1 of this post, click here. I’m asked all the time – “Miss Laura, is it better to train with one coach exclusively, or play the field a bit? Is it OK to cheat on my teacher?” Yesterday, I waxed poetic about my One and Only, Chris Delgado. But today, I need to confess… I have another man on the side. And he’s amazing, and I’m not giving him up. And here’s why.


My (Wheel) Guy On the Side – Wolfgang Bientzle

I’ve only had the pleasure of working with Wolfgang a few times in Chicago, but every minute spent learning from him is pure gold. Aside from his unparalleled mastery of the apparatus, he is an incredible coach (I learn as much about teaching as I do about wheel)! I get a completely fresh perspective – about wheel, about myself as a student, about myself as a performer. And THAT, friends, is the beauty of mixing it up!

With a new coach, you might get:

  • A fresh perspective. Got a move that’s making you tear your hair out? A bad habit that needs hammering? An aspect of the work that’s got you stumped? A session with another coach can break old patterns, teach new technique, or shine light on something that needs your attention. An occasional variation in routine or thought is essential for well-rounded training, and a session with another coach is a great way to get it.
  • A new take on yourself as a performer or student. There are two things in particular that I love about Wolfgang. First, there is NO DOUBT who the teacher is, and who the student is. This boundary allows me to relax, and just be a student. The other is that, when I work with him, I feel like there is NOTHING I can’t do or eventually learn – he makes me feel so damned capable! I am clearly a performer (as opposed to a competitive wheeler), so he encourages me to bring in more aspects I’m familiar with (aerial!), and downplays the rigid 1-2-3 progressions of competition. Another teacher will see you differently, and may encourage you to see yourself in a completely different light! Shifts in perspective are HUGE.
  • Different vocabulary. All coaches have their favorite moves & things they focus on. It’s fantastic to collect a few new tricks here and there to keep things spicy!
  • A renewed hunger for the work. This is my favorite! It’s easy for things to get stale. That new perspective, technique, and a couple of shiny moves translates into energy and rejuvenation!

Some Things to Keep in Mind

  • Don’t get freaked out if the technique doesn’t work for you (… Laura….). 😉 Give it your best shot in the time you’re there. Remember – you can take it or leave it when you get back to your regular teacher!
  • It won’t always be a love match. Sometimes, a new student comes in and it’s all rainbows, glitter, and unicorns. Sometimes, it’s crickets….. That’s chemistry, and it can’t be faked! Get what you can from the session, play nice, and you never have to do that again.
  • Stay open! I know – going out of your comfort zone is weird. Trusting a new coach is weird. Being in a different space with different people is weird. All true things! BUT – there are lots of ways to pluck a chicken. If you have your head up your ass the whole time, you’re going to miss out on some potentially game-changing stuff.
  • Don’t jump from teacher to teacher forever. It’s been my experience that students who bounce around aimlessly as a matter of habit progress more slowly (and with le poo technique), which is FINE, if you want to progress slowly with le poo technique. If you are the exception to this rule, I’m happy for you. 😉


So you see, the answer is: BOTH! Shop around until you find a coach with whom you have good rapport, and who clearly knows their stuff. Make this person your home base, and make sure to take workshops from different teachers passing through town, or just pop into another class here and there. Trust me – your “home base” won’t mind (and if they do, that’s a red flag – make sure you find out why. Anything other than a safety concern is no bueno). You don’t HAVE to train with more than one pro, but it’s certainly not a bad thing. Love and pull-ups, Laura

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1 comment on “One Coach or Four? The Ups and Downs of Circus Monogamy: Part 2”

  1. Cris Reply

    Thank you for this. I switched gyms in January and have felt like a traitor lately because I feel like I’ve been progressing faster at the new gym and its much closer to my home, but I really did love my old teacher. I also have recently found out I was pregnant and got the okay to continue from my Dr. but know that my old coach wouldn’t teach me if I were to be taking classes through her still because of that. My current teacher taught until the week before she had her baby and is willing and happy to work with me. This entry made me feel like its okay that I switched and can still occasionally go back for workshops at my old gym after baby without the worry of being a cheater. I love your blog thank you!

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