So I recently enrolled a new 10 year old boy in my junior program who’s done 6 months or so of MMA.
I spoke with his dad for quite a while on the phone, talking about their previous training (both father and son). Turns out the dad studied Shotokan years ago and though his son liked the MMA classes he was taking, he had recently become bored.
He was learning the same content over and over for the last few months. And as new kids joined the program, the students who had been there longer simply weren’t getting to learn any more new stuff.
(Common problem when you don’t have a ranking system and you don’t split your classes by rank.)
Anyway, the son is a great kid.
And is open to corrections and loves learning.
In short, so far he’s a model student.
However, what surprised me was something his dad said to me on the phone after the second class.
“You know my son loves your class. He is really enjoying it and he loves it when you tell him when he’s doing it right. He told me that at the other school they never told him when he was doing it right, so he was never really sure….”
**** NEWSFLASH ***
Praise your students when they do well! It raises their self-esteem and confidence in their ability. When students FEEL they do well, they try harder. A simple “Nice job Nick!” or “That’s it Sarah, keep working hard!”, is all it takes.
If the only time you ever personally speak to a student is when you’re being critical, they’ll live in fear while in your dojo. Who wants to be called out in front of their peers for mistakes?
I sure as heck didn’t like that early on in my training.
How about you?
Remember as instructors our job is to not to “treat ’em mean and keep ’em keen”. It’s to empower our students to strive harder, to push further, and ultimately do better.
What do you tell your students when they excel?