Somebody’s phone rings…
A car drives by…
“Excuse me? Could I get some information?”, someone else asks.
Even the slightest distraction like another student whispering or a belt coming untied…
These and a hundred more things distract students during training.
One of my pet peeves (and I dare say one of yours too) is when students lose focus during kata practice.
Drives me frikken nuts!
But the good news is this happens a lot less than it used to… AND if you can relate to what I’m saying, I’ve got some things you can try to help refocus your students.
Rant Warning!Let me interject for the briefest of moments. Is it just me or does there seem to be a disproportionate amount of ADHD these days? Sure, some kids seriously have a condition that needs attention. But then there’s this condition I like to call SYOB which is very similar to ADHD, but it doesn’t require medication or any special treatment. SYOB – simply stands for Six Year Old Boy or Seven Year Old Boy. That’s it. They’re boys. They’re visual learners. They’re easily distracted. No medication required. Just need to be taught to correct their action and refocus. However, when combined with PPS (Poor Parenting Skills) SYOB is often misdiagnosed as ADHD. Perhaps you’ve seen it too? – – end of rant – –
Back to the task at hand. Now where was I?
Oh, that’s right – distractions and how to refocus our students. So how do you do it?
Well, one option is you can YELL!
A well placed yell with an equally loud double clap every now and again causes a PATTERN INTERRUPT, which breaks the behavioral pattern of your student. Once you have their attention, simply and kindly remind them to concentrate, to look straight ahead and focus on what they’re supposed to be doing. Consistent yelling however is really a low level solution that causes long term negative issues. Use it sparingly (and without anger attached).
Another option is to HIT!
But you know, striking your students isn’t typically good for business. Again, it’s a low level solution that embeds negativity and resentment. Of course part of training requires body conditioning, but there’s a time and place for that. Striking your students across the knee with a stick doesn’t make them want to bend it further. Probably a good idea to steer clear of this one.
My favorite method is to CHALLENGE!
Yep. The concept is to challenge your students. Have them WANT to excel through various karate drills and exercises that promote this notion. One such exercise is to have students do their “line work” with a cup of water on their heads. Yes, real water, in a cup, on their heads.
This exercise provides both positive and negative incentives. Positive incentive is to BEAT the challenge. Negative incentive is to avoid getting wet. Plus it’s fun. Just make sure you have a mop and towel handy. This is a lesson that has a BIG impact on your students. They’ll remember it. And because of that, you can always remind them to “focus like you did when you had the cup of water on your head”. Give it a try and see if it helps refocus your students.
And as for PPS, sorry but I can’t really help you. Remember, that’s why THOSE kids are in your program in the first place – to learn discipline and respect.