As you know, a martial arts teacher can have an incredibly influential role in a student’s life. Therefore, it is important that we use our influence for the betterment of our students and that our messages are consistently positive and uplifting.
Here’s a technique that is fun and can have some amazing results. We use it primarily with our junior students, but with a little imagination the concept can be applied to people of all ages.
It goes like this: Imagine that a young student approaches you and says he has a Band-Aid on his finger and doesn’t think he can do push-ups today, you say: "That’s what I like about you, Sam! You can train hard and do push-ups even when you have a bandage on your finger." Inevitably the child puffs up their chest and participates in the activity with pride. It works with practically every excuse from just being tired, to having missed a month of classes and everything in between. I can't tell you how many times I have successfully used this strategy and it never ceases to amaze me.
This method works wonders! Here are some of the reasons this works so well:
- It gives the student a new way to think about how they view themselves. You’re literally putting new words into their heads for them to use later.
- Rather than being disappointed or criticizing, you are turning the situation into a challenge for the student to perform at a higher level, even though they feel they are facing a hindrance. You're showing them that they can overcome obstacles and still function.
- Your students then start thinking this way even before they come to see you at class: "I'm not really motivated to go to class today, but my instructor expects me there because he knows I train even when I’m tired."
So, instead of falling prey to sympathizing with or agreeing to someone's diminished view of themselves, be sure to build up their confidence by sharing with them, "That’s what I like about you!"
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