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Old 10-22-2014, 09:30 AM   #1
Chris Sinagoga
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Formal vs. Informal training/coaching

Recently I started to do "gym classes" twice a week at this local day care for 3-4 year olds. So far, it has been one of the best learning experiences as a coach that I can remember.

Mainly, the thought of formal vs. informal coaching has been going through my mind since the first day. How much should we coach young kids? How much should we just let them do their thing?

What about for teenagers? What about for adults?

I have been doing a Day Care Diary series on my website, and I would like to share the third installment with you guys and see if we can get a conversation started on here about formal and informal coaching.

Quote of the Week/Day Care Diary vol. 3
(w/f safe)
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Old 10-24-2014, 08:16 PM   #2
Larry Bruce
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Re: Formal vs. Informal training/coaching

There's certainly a lot of benefit of learning the basic movement patterns at a young or every young age - it will help them throughout life. But usually it's conveyed in a fun and playful manner.
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Old 10-24-2014, 10:57 PM   #3
Blair Robert Lowe
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Re: Formal vs. Informal training/coaching

For the most part, with the under 5's in gymnastics, it's pretty exploratory unless they show potential and IF said gym has a competitive or elite track. Some gyms may have a competitive track but may not start till 5 or 6/schoolage. This is more for the girls though maybe at 4 or 5yo, there may be a separate track for the more athletic boys. This is also so they don't get bored dealing with the other kids in the coed group that are just not as developed physically.

Pretty much any other sport, like MA too, it's fairly exploratory besides learning basic social skills like listen to the teacher, socializing with other kids, and how to play and develop the juvenile mind through play and kinesthetic development.

As they get older, it steps up unless it's just a recreational class like say a CFkids class. Which is fine. There are many kids who don't have the desire for this or that or any sports but might like movement. Many kids love to train, hate to compete (and the viceversa which means go find a rec competitive league).

There is definitely something to be said about teens classes but I worked out well being tossed into the adults at high school age. For teenagers, you could continue to have a teens class (for those that enjoyed the social aspect) or integrate them into the adults class. This seems to work fine for many boys...but holy hell, adult women will often hate them and the teen girls won't like the adult women much either so buyer beware. This always isn't the case, but if they are more interested in that social aspect, it's just better to keep them separate.
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Old 10-26-2014, 01:27 PM   #4
Chris Sinagoga
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Re: Formal vs. Informal training/coaching

Quote:
Originally Posted by Blair Robert Lowe View Post
For the most part, with the under 5's in gymnastics, it's pretty exploratory unless they show potential and IF said gym has a competitive or elite track. Some gyms may have a competitive track but may not start till 5 or 6/schoolage. This is more for the girls though maybe at 4 or 5yo, there may be a separate track for the more athletic boys. This is also so they don't get bored dealing with the other kids in the coed group that are just not as developed physically.

Pretty much any other sport, like MA too, it's fairly exploratory besides learning basic social skills like listen to the teacher, socializing with other kids, and how to play and develop the juvenile mind through play and kinesthetic development.

As they get older, it steps up unless it's just a recreational class like say a CFkids class. Which is fine. There are many kids who don't have the desire for this or that or any sports but might like movement. Many kids love to train, hate to compete (and the viceversa which means go find a rec competitive league).

There is definitely something to be said about teens classes but I worked out well being tossed into the adults at high school age. For teenagers, you could continue to have a teens class (for those that enjoyed the social aspect) or integrate them into the adults class. This seems to work fine for many boys...but holy hell, adult women will often hate them and the teen girls won't like the adult women much either so buyer beware. This always isn't the case, but if they are more interested in that social aspect, it's just better to keep them separate.
Cool post Blair. Our sessions are usually mixed with adults and kids (which is probably why our adults act like kids haha).

I think one of my biggest problems coaching was not using the "exploratory" method, as you called it. It was always, first you do this, then you do this, then you do this, and finally you get to this. Seeing bad movement would always freak me out, so I would try to fix it right away instead of sitting back sometimes and seeing if the athlete can figure it out themselves.

It's an old habit that I'm trying to break. And teaching the babies is definitely helping.
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Old 10-26-2014, 09:25 PM   #5
Blair Robert Lowe
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Re: Formal vs. Informal training/coaching

I'm not very patient. So the whole, "let's see if they figure it out" kind of just annoys me. It's useful but at some point, I'd rather just step in and show them what they need to do. Especially when it's my job to help them learn said thing.
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Old 10-27-2014, 01:13 AM   #6
Alex Burden
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Re: Formal vs. Informal training/coaching

I have been coaching children for years in soccer 7 years and Kyokushin Karate for 8 years.. the ages are from 5-16 but never 3-4yr olds.

There are so many different things to think about when coaching kids and you always need to be on the alert and be able to change on an instant to make things work or easier to understand and execute.

The most important thing is to make it fun and come down to their level. There is nothing worst than watching a coach stand tall and look down at kids.... if you really want to get into their brains then make it fun and when you are done you leave on a high note... by that I mean they want more but the time is over, because they can't wait until next week.

Have you ever just laid down on the ground and talked to the 3-4yr olds and given them instructions? Get them to lay down too they will love it.... it will bring everyone closer together.

Just telling kids what to do and handing it to them on a plate all of the time is not a good solution. They need to be challenged all of the time and made to think outside of the box..

I have a thousand ideas when it comes to coaching kids...
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Last edited by Alex Burden : 10-27-2014 at 01:24 AM.
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Old 10-27-2014, 07:39 PM   #7
Blair Robert Lowe
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Re: Formal vs. Informal training/coaching

Yeah, I used to have the kids circle up at the beginning of birthday parties in TV position to explain rules (with sillyness). They always enjoy it.

Same thing when you take a knee so they are at your level.
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