2612568276918. Teaching and Shaping Skills

Teaching and Shaping Skills

Teaching and Shaping Skills

Coaching Essentials

Teaching and Shaping Skills – Coaching is about teaching students how to compete by teaching them technique, fitness, and values. It’s also about “coaching” student athlete’s before, during, and after interscholastic competitions.

Teaching and coaching are closely related, but there are important differences. In this chapter we focus on the principles of teaching, especially on teaching technical skills and tactics.

But these principles apply to teaching fitness concepts and values as well. Armed with these principles, you will be able to design effective and efficient practices and will understand how to deal with misbehavior. Then you will be able to teach the skills and tactics necessary to be successful in your sport.

Teaching Sport Skills

Many people believe that the only qualification needed to teach a skill is to have performed it. Although it’s helpful to have performed it, teaching it successfully requires much more than that. And even if you haven’t performed the skill before, you can learn to teach successfully with the useful acronym IDEA:

I Introduce the skill.
D Demonstrate the skill.
E Explain the skill.
A Attend to athletes practicing the skill.

Introduce the Skill

Athletes, especially those who are young and inexperienced, need to know which skill they are learning and why they are learning it. You should therefore follow these three steps every time you introduce a skill:

1. Get your student athletes’ attention.
2. Name the skill.
3. Explain the importance of the skill.

Get Your Athletes’ Attention

Because middle schoolers are easily distracted, do something to get their attention. Some coaches use interesting news items or stories. Others use jokes. And still others simply project enthusiasm to get their athletes to listen. Whatever method you use, speak slightly above your normal volume and look your athletes in the eye when you speak.

Also, position athletes so that they can see and hear you. Arrange the athletes in two or three evenly spaced rows, facing you. (Make sure they aren’t looking into the sun or at a distracting activity.) Then ask if all of them can see you before you begin to speak.

Coaching Tip
Writing out in detail each skill you will teach clarifies what you will say and how you will demonstrate and teach each skill to your student athletes.

Name the Skill
Although there may be other common names for the skill you are introducing, decide as a staff before the start of the season which one you’ll use and stick with it. This will help prevent confusion and enhance communication among your athletes. When you introduce the new skill, name it so that the athletes automatically correlate the name with the skill in later discussions.

Explain the Importance of the Skill

As Rainer Martens, the founder of the American Sport Education Program (ASEP), has said, “The most difficult aspect of coaching is this: Coaches must learn to let athletes learn.

Sport skills should be taught so they have meaning to the child, not just meaning to the coach.” Although the importance of a kill may be apparent to you, your students may be less able to see how the skill will help them become better athletes. Offer them a reason for learning the skill and describe how the skill relates to more advanced skills.

Demonstrate the Skill

The demonstration step is the most important part of teaching sport skills to athletes who may never have done anything closely resembling it. They need a picture, not just words. They need to see how the skill is performed. If you are unable to perform the skill correctly, ask an assistant coach, one of your team members, or someone more skilled to perform the demonstration.

These tips will help make your demonstrations more effective:

• Use correct form.

• Demonstrate the skill several times.

• Slow the action, if possible, during one or two performances so athletes can see every movement involved in the skill.

• Perform the skill at different angles so your athletes can get a full perspective of it.

• Demonstrate the skill with both the right and the left arms or legs.

Explain the Skill

Athletes learn more effectively when they’re given a brief explanation of the skill along with the demonstration. Use simple terms and, if possible, relate the skill to previously learned skills. Ask your athletes whether they understand your description.

A good technique is to ask the team to repeat your explanation. Ask questions like “What are you going to do first?” and “Then what?” Should athletes look confused or uncertain, repeat your explanation and demonstration. If possible, use different words so that your athletes get a chance to try to understand the skill from a different perspective.

Complex skills often are better understood when they are explained in more manageable parts. When breaking down a skill, you might take the following steps:

1. Show them a correct performance of the entire skill and explain its function in the sport.

2. Break down the skill and then point out its component parts to your athletes.

3. Have athletes perform each of the component skills you have already taught them.

4. After athletes have demonstrated their ability to perform the separate parts of the skill in sequence, reexplain the entire skill.

5. Have athletes practice the skill in conditions similar to a competition.

Young athletes have short attention spans. Long demonstration or explanation of a skill may cause them to lose focus. Therefore, spend no more than a few minutes altogether on the introduction, demonstration, and explanation phases. Then involve the athletes in drills or games that call on them to perform the skill.

Attend to Athletes Practicing the Skill

If the skill you selected was within your athletes’ capabilities and you have done an effective job of introducing, demonstrating, and explaining it, your athletes should be ready to attempt the skill. Some athletes may need to be physically guided through the movements during their first few attempts.

Walking unsure athletes through the skill this way will help them gain the confidence to perform the skill on their own.

Your teaching duties, though, don’t end when all your athletes have demonstrated that they understand how to perform a skill. In fact, your teaching role is just beginning as you help your athletes improve their skills.

A significant part of your teaching consists of closely observing the hit-and-miss trial performances of your athletes. You will shape athletes’ skills by detecting errors and correcting them using positive feedback. Keep in mind that your positive feedback will have a great influence on your athletes’ motivation to practice and improve their performances.

Remember, too, that athletes may need individual instruction. So, set aside a time before, during, or after practice to give individual help.


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