“Coaching” your martial arts students

29 Dec

What was the last coaching material you reviewed? Unfortunately, for a lot of traditional martial arts teachers that question leaves them scratching their heads. I distinctly remember boarding a plane bound for Detroit (insert your own joke here!) to train with a friend who was a Judo and Sambo instructor. I had just started putting students into MMA competition and was looking forward to learning some new grappling and ground techniques. I arrived at the airpot and he told me we were going to pick up some books. BOOKS! He must know some cool martial arts book stores around Detroit!

Well, we walked into a Barnes and Noble in a megaplex shopping mall and we walked into the sports section and he started piling up books on coaching. These were generic books, some had runners and football atheletes on them. I was confused. He said “buy these and READ THEM”!

I didn’t crack them open until a few weeks after I had gotten home to NYC. And I admit I did so hesitantly. What could be in here? Well, as it turns out, A LOT OF VALUABLE INFORMATION. Infomation on how to arrange a practice (ie “run a class”) and how to present a technique. And how to “trouble shoot” when people have a problem. I learned an important lesson, these principles are UNIVERSAL. I started changing the way I taught classes, the way I drilled techniques, and I started seeing results.

I started getting more coaching materials. Since sports are a major part of the American experience, there are actually a LOT of good books for prospective coaches. Of course, USA BOXING has coaching materials. So does USA wrestling. Be sure to pick up Dan Gable’s book on coaching wrestling, it will change your life.

If you consider yourself a professional martial arts instructor, act like one. Be prepared, continue your education and exopand your horizons.



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