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Kovar Systems
Student Retention Staff Development

How to Teach Younger Martial Arts Students

By Dave Kovar

Here are a few guidelines that will help you to have the best results with teaching your younger martial arts students.

Make it fun:  This is the most important rule in developing young students.  In order for students to be interested and excel in the classroom, they must have a good time.  The class structure of discipline, respect, and concentration does not have to be compromised in order to achieve this.  Remember, there is a difference  between having fun and being funny.

Don’t be overly picky about good form when they're getting started:  In time you can become more detailed.  Initially, however, be happy just having the kids follow along. 

Show a lot of examples:  Young kids learn best by copying other people.  If possible, have an older, more skilled student demonstrating and participating in the entire class and being a good example for all the little guys and gals to follow! 

Change drills often:  The average child’s attention span is very short.  To work with this fact, keep the drills even shorter.  Never do any one thing for more than three minutes.  You can, however, do a lot of repetition.  It is merely a matter of disguising the repetition. 

Praise efforts/encourage participation/celebrate often:  Initially it doesn’t matter if the students are improving as long as they are trying their best. This is why earnest effort should be praised.  Shy students should be encouraged, not forced, to do things.  Make it as easy as possible for them to participate and then celebrate their victories, giving lots of high fives, focus claps, and say “you’re awesome” a lot.

Make a big deal over effort, regardless of where they placed:   So what if someone came in fourth place in the relay race.  If you saw them give their very best effort, go out of your way to let everybody know what a great effort they gave. 

Remind students not to compare themselves with others:  When students compare themselves with others, one of two things happens.  They either get a false sense of superiority or they get a false sense of inferiority.  Remind your students that they win whenever they give a good effort. 

Set realistic goals followed by constant feedback: Students need to have a clear image of where they are going.  For this reason, it is important that each student has set specific goals.  It is the job of the instructor to help set these goals.  Remember, each student has different strengths and weaknesses, and they should be taken into account.  Feedback is the breakfast of champions.  Once goals have been set, constant feedback should be given to help keep each student on target. 

June 26th

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by Dave Kovar