Rick's Training Tips

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Tip: Using a Mirror as a Training Aide

on MAR. / 23 / 2011 | 0 comments

February 28, 2011

If you have room in your dojang try to put a large mirror along one wall. If possible a mirror from the floor to head height and several feet wide would be ideal. There are many reasons to have a mirror. When you are doing one-on-one instruction with a student that has poor posture or a poor stance, take them to the mirror and let them see what you are talking about. Sometimes it is hard to visualize what someone is telling them, but if you can show them it will be easier for them to understand. This will give them a different perspective on what they are doing wrong. Then allow them to practice in front of the mirror, and they can catch themselves doing it, and make corrections. And soon it will become a good habit instead of a bad habit. Another use is to allow students to practice their forms in front of the mirror. They should already know what the moves should look like, but again the mirror will give them a different perspective on what their body is doing. It will help them also see what a judge would see at a tournament and give them an opportunity to correct bad technique before it becomes a regular part of the way they execute the form.

Tip: Understanding How People Learn

on MAR. / 23 / 2011 | 0 comments

February 21, 2011

As we move up through the ranks we are all taught the forms, self-defense, etc. Now as an instructor or assisting in class, it is our turn to help students learn. But even with all that training we are not trained to be educators. Generally, there are three basic ways people learn; Listening, Watching or Experiencing. So remember every student is different, and try and keep all three of these elements in your training routine. For example, when you are teaching a new form, let the students watch you do the form, call out the movements as you do them, and then have them do the form with you several times each. If you just show the form once and then leave the students to do the form, you’re biasing your training to those who learn best by experiencing. Be your own teacher, learn how each student learns best and give them all equal instruction.  Some of the attrition rate of a school is caused when students leave frustrated because they feel like they aren’t learning anything. If this is the case, you have to ask yourself why? If you have students leaving, ask them why, and use that response to make your instruction better. Generally, it isn’t that a student cannot learn, it is the student has a hard time learning the way a teacher teaches. So don’t rush to blame the student. Yes you will have those students that won’t put the effort into class or practice, but it isn’t always the case. Those students usually are starting with the wrong motives in the first place.

Tip: Learn to Use Lists

on MAR. / 23 / 2011 | 0 comments

February 14, 2011

I know many people hate lists. But as an instructor you have a lot to remember about what you have or have not taught a specific student. As a student, you will have a hard time remembering all that is expected of you at test time. It is also good practice in everyday life. Every time my kids go to grandma’s house the same thing happens, they leave something behind. So I encouraged them to make a list when they packed, and to take it with them. Then when they packed to go home, they just pulled out the list, and made sure everything went back into their bag. It saved a lot of turning around (as long as they didn’t lose the list of course). But when it comes to your students, have a premade list of things you want to cover at each belt level and make photocopies. A three ring binder is a good thing to have as well. When you cover something in class and they are there, mark it on their list. Give a copy to your students and have them keep track too. When you get close to test time, you will know what kinds of things were covered and what things were not. We all have busy lives, and even when you have just a few students, it is very easy to lose track of who learned what.  You never want to say “Oh I forgot to teach you that” on test day in front of all those parents.

Tip: Avoid Mental Visualization Traps

on MAR. / 23 / 2011 | 0 comments

February 7, 2011

Our brains use all kinds of stimulus to learn. Commonly, when you practice your forms, your brain records what you see in the room as you do a form. Subconsciously, it is using those visual cues as part of your learning.  Do not fall into this trap of using the room as a crutch. When you practice, change the direction you face. Practice in as many different places as you can. If you do not believe this is true, take the next form you are learning, after you feel you know it, change directions and see if you feel confused. I know one of the first questions is, “Why is this important?” Well the answer is simple. First, you should be learning the form and the techniques so you can call upon it as muscle memory, not visual memory. The second one has to do with tests and tournaments. Many times the students have been practicing in two different places (the dojang and at home) facing the same direction all the time. And now when they are competing in a tournament or at a test somewhere new, the location is completely new. All their visual cues are now gone and they find themselves hesitating and confused more often. So practice, but don’t forget to change it up. My bet is if you actually make some changes, you will be less likely to go blank during a form at test time or at a tournament. If you are an instructor, have your students face the back, and both sides of the room when they start their forms.  You can also try having them start at different times.

Tip: Get Kids to Stand Still

on MAR. / 23 / 2011 | 0 comments

February 1, 2011

Many kids today have a hard time standing still at Chun-Bee. Their brains are easily distracted and some have disorders like ADHD that make it even more difficult. One simple thing you can do to assist them is give them something they can move, yet will not be distracting to the class. Allow them to move their toes and thumbs. Let them know that it is ok to wiggle a little when you want them to stand still.  As they mature, this will become less necessary. With a little practice, you might find them standing still more and you spending less time reminding them to.

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