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Learn from others


Good martial art instructors are constantly seeking knowledge. They read about the latest advances in medicine, nutrition, sports, technology, etc. and incorporate what they learn into their teaching. This does not mean that you start teaching other disciplines, it means that you learn from other disciplines and incorporate their good ideas, concepts, techniques etc. into your martial art teaching. Tradition has its place, but good instructors must also keep up with modern advances. For example, instructors should study the coaching techniques of successful sports coaches and use them, such as those of Coach Wooden.

Coach Wooden

Coach Wooden, in his textbook Practical Modern Basketball, make several observations that are applicable to martial art instructors:
"Basketball is a game of habits, and it takes time and patience to develop proper habits and to break bad ones. One of the greatest faults of most beginning coaches is likely to be a lack of patience. Try to convince the players that they must never become careless in practice because they are likely to do in games as they do in practice."
"It is unlikely that a teacher of any subject finds it as necessary to follow the laws of learning as closely and specifically as it is for the teacher of the fundamentals of basketball. A fundamental must be explained and demonstrated, the correct demonstration must be imitated by the players, their demonstration must be constructively criticized and corrected, and then the players must repeat and repeat the execution of the proper model until the correct habit has been formed to the point where they will react instinctively in the correct manner."
"The coach and the players must never become satisfied, but must work constantly to improve. Have perfection as the goal, even though it can never be attained."
"Remember that it is not so much what you do, but how well you do it. Therefore, it is better for you to teach them to do a few things well than to have so much to do that they might not do any of it very well. Do not give them too much."
"Do not overlook the little details as it is the little things that may make the difference. Perfection of a few minor details is often the only difference between the winner and the loser."
"Be constantly analyzing yourself as well as your players and be governed by the result of your analysis."
"The coach must be a teacher... He must be able to explain and provide a demonstration, have the players imitate the proper demonstration, constructively criticize and correct their demonstration, and have the corrected imitation repeated and repeated until the proper execution becomes automatic. He must use and take advantage of all possible teaching aids and constantly be on the lookout for additional ones...."
"Have patience...."
Two educational psychologists studied Coach Wooden's last coaching season and concluded:
"Perhaps the example of greatest artistry is his use of modeling. His demonstrations are rarely longer than five seconds, but they are of such clarity as to leave an image in memory much like a textbook sketch. He models with his body... He promptly demonstrates the correct way to perform an act, and then imitates the incorrect way the player has just performed. He then does it the right way again. This sequence ... is Wooden's typical pattern, and appears to be an effective way of providing both feedback and discrimination training." -from Psychology Today

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