Here at kids wrestling we are not in the business of criticizing anyone’s coaching, just the fact that you’ve chosen to coach at all is something you should all take great pride in. What we are in the business of doing is helping coaches improve their teaching skills with the best, up to date coaching concepts that are at our disposal. This will ultimately improve the standard of wrestling coaching and wrestling talent the world over!
So approach this article with an open mind and I guarantee you will see the benefits!
An aspect of not only kids Wrestling coaching but sports coaching in general that is continually overlooked is the demonstration. The most frequently used demonstration in wrestling and other combat sports usually takes on this classic format:
Standard Kids Wrestling Demonstration:
- The kids wrestling coach slowly performs a technique while the class is watching.
- During the demonstration the coach will talk through the wrestling technique.
- The explanation of the wrestling technique will be a lengthy step-by-step process (i.e. drop to your right knee and take hold of their left leg).
- The wrestling coach will finish the demonstration process with a question that requires a limited yes or no answer, usually “have you got that?” or “any questions?”.
Although this classic wrestling demonstration method is still an effective way to showcase techniques for adult and kids wrestling but the process can be streamlined in to a much more effective and learner friendly format. This format being the silent demonstration.
Kids Wrestling – Below is a step by step guide on how to perform a silent demonstration:
- Ensure that everyone in the class is positioned in a place where they can see (fairly obvious but sometimes missed!).
- Notify the wrestling students that you are going to do a demonstration and inform them the name of the technique (try to use language that is universal, descriptive and easy to remember i.e. Head and Arm take down).
- Perform the wrestling technique in silence, three to four times (ensure you rotate your position every time to ensure the students get multiple perspectives).
- Ask the group or a few specific children, two to three questions about the wrestling technique using easy to understand language, (where did I put my left hand? Where does my head move? Which leg did I pick?) Ensure the questions you ask cannot be answered with “yes” or “no” .
- Standoff and observe the children, do not worry if they do not perform the wrestling technique exactly how you did, youngster are very perceptive and their ability to learn is amazing, they may develop their own variation of the technique and teach you a thing or two! (This should be every coach’s dream!).
- Interject with students in their partners, this encourages a more person-centered approach, this also builds a better coach-student relationship and allows the wrestling students to get some one on one attention that they may be craving.
Kids Wrestling -The Benefits of the Silent Demonstration method:
- Allows students to use their own initiative when it comes to their learning and progression (allowing students to find the answer to their problem themselves is the most rewarding option for both parties involved!).
- Streamlines the wrestling session, which allows more time for purposeful play drills and wrestling games.
- Encourages students to ask questions and get involved in the session, this develops confidence.
- Encourages the students to think about wrestling technique with the technique specific questions, this allows a coach to check that the students understand and are paying attention, which will ultimately improve productivity.
- The hands off observation encourages students to be creative and imaginative, this will ensure students stay engaged, interested and on task.
- The person centered interjections help build student-coach relationships and allows students to get some one on one interaction with their wrestling coach.
Now I know you may be thinking that is all sounds a bit strange? Demonstrate in silence? Trust me I thought the exact same when I did my wrestling coaching course! As I come from a mixed martial arts and Brazilian Jiu Jitsu background I found this concept rather odd, but it really does work and is incredibly rewarding to watch and practice when it goes well. Remember don’t give them the answer, guide them to solve their own problems! all of this information is also transferable to adult wrestling and other combat sports.
Give it a try and if you still prefer your method that’s great! Yours may be better than ours!
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For more wrestling for kids information, put on your wrestling shoes and go check out our post on kids wrestling games!