Wednesday, August 2, 2017

...once you get on the right foot.

If you read my previous post, you should have figured out what may be the single most decisive factor in attaining higher degrees of command in the skill related activities. However, before one gets to the point where they have to deal with motivation to stay on the course of doing something, they first have to get on the course in the first place and see it as a path that leads somewhere. There are various motives that instigate people to try martial/combative training, and those have been discussed elsewhere on this blog, but the question is: what can we do as coaches/instructors to help them make those critical early steps? not the same as easy
The first thing, in my opinion, is to pay attention to the new trainee early on and acknowledge them as persons – make sure to remember their name, ask them why they joined your group and what do they expect from it. Their answer(s) may not be too coherent and precise, but the point here is not to fully understand your students in one hour. It is rather about them pondering the issue, since it would, hopefully, make them more attentive and appreciative about the experience of training. If your club or training group has a nice atmosphere where people don’t feel like number or plain sources of income, it will help with developing the sense of belonging and thus make it easier to want to come back regularly.

Next in line is the more specific matter of contents of your training sessions. Some instructors seem to have the approach that strives to take advantage of the whole instant gratification aspect of the modern society, so they will start with easily achievable goals and lots of praise and “positive talk”. Now, it probably helps the novice candidates to not be discouraged with possibly overwhelming experience of doing something new, or to see it as entirely out of reach.

However, I think it does not lead to the favorable perception of the training process as a path, journey worth undertaking. A lot of people tend to scuff at such early experiences as “I’m already good at it”, and consequently their recurring appearances will hang exclusively on the thread of extrinsic motivation and rewards. Unless your idea as an instructor is to run a diploma mill with belt exams every couple of months etc, this is obviously not a satisfactory manner of conducting your training.

Instead, my experience shows that trainees (at least the type I like to work with) prefer being challenged in a way that makes them work on accomplishing set goals. There are two stipulations here, however: 1. they need to see that goal as desirable/worthy of effort; 2. They need to see it as achievable after all.

Now, in order for the coach to be able to set proper goals and set adequate demands from their trainees, they need to develop a level or rapport with those trainees and get to know their driving forces, which in turn takes us back to treating them as persons and asking for their feedback. And not just asking, but actually listening to their comments and ruminations. In combination with interesting material, god training methodology and desirable training environment, you will be on the right course to have people joining you for the journey.