A coach’s role….

30 Dec

“The coach’s first task is to learn how to present his knowledge to his students in the best possible way”
– G. R. Gleeson, 5th Dan Judo

I never liked the term “master” and if you really dig into the Asian martial arts you find it’s a pretty bad translation of the many terms associated with teaching the martial arts. I personally have always viewed myself as a coach, though I wasn’t always prepared to be one!

I have a good friend, Judo coach Mark Tripp, who took me to a book store near his dojo one afternoon when I was in town for a seminar. He told me I needed some books to improve my program. This was a LONG TIME AGO and being new to all this I thought they were going to be some nifty technique books. Instead, they were coaching books, a number weren’t even for a specific sport but were rather general works on coaching. I was initially confused, but ultimately I learned a lot from these books

Successful coaches don’t fit one profile, but the following are some characteristics they all seem to share:

Knowledge of the material
To be effective, the teacher must have sound knowledge of the material. They don’t necessarily have to have been a great fighter or a champion; often the best coaches do not have such backgrounds. However, a good teacher will continually read, observe and attempt to further his or her knowledge. Continuing education is essential

A good teacher is an effective communicator. Good communication with their students leads to mutual understanding. Teachers who confront problems or obstacles head on avoid lasting misunderstandings and resentments.

Ability to understand and address the needs of the student
The ability to communicate is related to the ability to handle and address the needs of the student. A lack of understanding of a student’s motivations and/or problems is one of the major reasons for a breakdown of the relationship between a student and the school.

Organizational skills
One common characteristic of all good teachers is that they are highly organized. They have put thought and consideration into their curriculum. They have designed a rotating curriculum that provides the student with a strong foundation. They have yearly, monthly, weekly and daily plans for their school, their staff and their students. They are prepared for each class.

Knowledge of training and conditioning methods
Perhaps the most distressing feature of the traditional martial arts community is how out of touch and out-of-date many instructors are! An effective teacher must have up-to-date knowledge of various training and conditioning methods. In competition, having the most up-to-date techniques and strategies certainly will increase your chances of victory. In your classes, being aware of advances in methods will not only help your students achieve the results they want, it will also help you prevent unnecessary injuries.

Knowledge of how the body works (exercise physiology)
Directly related to the previous point, a teacher should have a basic knowledge of exercise physiology in order to understand how the body works. This knowledge will allow teachers to understand the science behind various training methods.

Dedication, enthusiasm, maturity

Good teachers display dedication to the task. They show enthusiasm which motivates their students. Students tend to look up to and imitate their instructors, so it’s important at competitions that teachers act in a mature manner. A good teacher demonstrates good sportsmanship no matter what the outcome. Remember, the purpose isn’t to win a lot of trophies or to produce champions. The process is what is important. Every time you step on the mat, in a ring or in a cage, you will learn something and get better.

“Teaching is a constant revision and expansion of methods based on a training program which is systematic and progressive”
– Donn Draeger, 1962



Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: