INVOLVEMENT IN THE PROCESS
A student who is involved in the learning process is much more likely to learn and retain the information faster. An involved student is one who is not just told what to do, but is lead to the answer by a guiding hand. Our job as instructors is to be an experienced guide, who has traveled the road before and has in-depth knowledge of what it takes to earn a Black Belt. Involving the students requires the instructor to not simply tell the answer, but to ask leading questions and allow the student to experience the answer.
Let the students help in the learning process by allowing them to answer questions that lead to the goal you are trying to teach. This involves the students mentally with the goal, and will help them learn and remember the lesson better. An easy way to involve the students is to give them a choice between a couple of answers, and let them decide which one is correct! Then allow the students to determine why one choice was better than the others!
Q: Which one of these two kicks has more power?
Demonstrate two front kicks. The first one is a straight-legged kick with no snap or knee bend. The second has a good snap on it!
A: The second one was more powerful!
Q: Why was the second more powerful than the first?
A: You snapped your leg on the second kick!
Q: Should I snap a lot or a little?
A: A lot, Sir!
Q: Should I bend my knee a lot or a little?
A: A lot, Sir!
“Teachable Moments” are those timeless times when an athlete is focused on what they need to do to learn, to change, or to improve! Our goal as instructors is to produce the highest number of teachable moments in our students as possible!
1. The greatest coaching principle in the world: The things that get rewarded get done! Always remember to reward the things you want! If you want the students to pay attention, praise the children that are sitting Karate style (as opposed to punishing the children who are not concentrating).
2. The futility of punishment: Punishment leaves bad feelings that eat away at motivation! Excelling at sports requires emotional energy. When kids are punished, yelled at, or criticized, their emotional energy is used up being angry, feeling sorry for themselves, thinking up reasons why the coach is wrong, etc.
Punishment does carry with it some information value and it can stop a behavior, but it rarely can teach new ones. It takes positive reinforcement and recognition to get a student to try something new!
It is the relentless commitment to positive coaching that brings the biggest successes and has the most impact. It’s when things go wrong that you can have the most impact. It’s also the time when it is the hardest to be positive.
A very powerful way to create a “teachable moment” is to use the P/C/P way of correcting a mistake! This method has three parts:
Praise the student for something that they are doing well! This
will put the student at ease, and help create the teachable
“Johnny, way to keep your hands up while you are kicking!”
“Sarah, excellent focus on your kick!”
“Joe, I am so impressed with your flexibility!”
Notice that the examples are specific in their praise. It is important to be specific to add to the validity of the praise! If non-specific praise is given, it can be perceived as praise that is not earned!
Make the corrections in the technique in a positive manner!
“Now let’s take it to the next level! See if you can get a 100% pivot on this next kick!”
“I have got a challenge for you! I want you to see if you can do that same kick with your hands frozen in position!”
“Now see if you can make it faster!”
Never give the student too many things to work on at one time! Try to give them little things one at a time so they can focus on the correction!
Give them a chance to work on the correction, and as soon as they
make even the smallest improvement, praise them one again.
This will build their confidence and give them the “I can do it!”
attitude that is so important to their success!
“That was exactly what I was looking for! Give me five!”
“How did that kick feel?” (“Good!) “It looked really good!”
“Wow, where did all that speed come from? See if you can
kick like that all of the time!!”
By reinforcing the slightest improvement, students will keep on trying to make themselves better!