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We asked kids in an online survey: "What should a coach care about most?" You might expect them to answer "to focus on winning." But "Put me in, coach!" is what most kids really want.

 

In fact, the majority didn't think winning was all that important. Only 7% of girls said coaches should be most concerned with winning, while about 18% of boys said so.

Here's what boys and girls value most in a coach:  

64% said giving everyone a chance to play

27% said teaching new skills

9% said winning  

Striving for excellence is a great goal, but when coaches and parents apply too much pressure, kids can get overly worried or push themselves too hard physically, leading to injuries. Some kids may even go on unhealthy diets to lose or gain weight to be better at their sport.  

And when sports become too competitive, kids who have only average or below-average skills might spend too much time on the bench instead of learning new skills.  

10th Degree master instructor Greg Silva says, "I have been a  martial arts instructor for 46 years.  I believe there are no better coaches than martial arts teachers."   Martial Arts instructors know that the door to success open "in" not "out".   That means the success to building an athlete who is well balanced yet understands that being in top shape and a top performer begins with the proper attitude, confidence, self esteem, sportsmanship and self control.    This building from the "inside out" will prevent kids from being lazy, giving up, or quitting.   The nature of martial arts with setting continuous goals is a key to it's success.   And there is no bench to sit on.   All kids learn, train and compete while playing the "game" in every class they take.  

To see how martial arts teaches so much join us in our free "Beginners Krav Maga" Workshop on Saturday, April 1. Adults will train from 10:00am-11:15am. Juniors will train at 11:15am-12noon.


 
 
Self-esteem develops over time.

And if it's low, it can be raised. Here are some things parents can do:

Help your child learn to do things. At every age, there are new things for kids to learn. Martial Arts is one of the best sports in which you can enroll your child because they will be learning all the time while having fun. Learning basics, the proper way to exercise, traditional martial arts kata and self defense are all skills that increase competence. Competence increases confidence and self-esteem.

When coaching kids how to do things, show and help them at first. Then let them do what they can, even if they make mistakes. Be sure your child has lots of opportunities to learn, try, and feel proud. Don't make new challenges too easy -- or too hard. Holding pads too high for them to reach may seem funny, but can also lead them to believe that they are not talented.

Praise your child, but do it wisely. Of course, it's good to praise kids. You praise is a way to show that you are proud, too. But research shows that some ways of praising kids can actually backfire. At our school, we use a technique called a praise sandwich. We praise effort, make a correction and praise improvement after the child practices more.

Here's how to do it right:

Avoid over-praising. Praise that doesn't feel earned doesn't ring true. For example, telling a child he kicked almost straight up when he know he didn't feels hollow and fake. It's better to say, "I know that was a tough class, but we all have off days. I'm proud of you for not giving up." Add a vote of confidence, "Tomorrow, you'll be back on your game."

Praise effort rather than fixed qualities.  Avoid focusing praise on results such as doing the best in class or fixed qualities such as being smart or athletic. This kind of praise can lead kids to avoid challenges that may threaten the good "reputation" they get praised for the most.

Instead, offer most of your praise for effort, progress, and attitude. For example: "You're working hard on that split," or "You're getting better and better at these combinations," or, "I'm proud of you for practicing and going to classes -- you've really stuck with it." This kind of praise encourages kids to put effort into things, work toward goals, and try.  When kids do that, they are more likely to succeed.

Be a good role model.  When you put effort into everyday tasks (like raking the leaves, making a meal, cleaning up the dishes, or washing the car), you are setting a good example.  Your child learns to put effort into doing homework, cleaning up toys, or doing great stances!

Modeling the right attitude counts, too!  If you train in martial arts along with your child, get excited about the classes (or at least do them without grumbling or complaining), you teach your child to do the same.

Ban harsh criticism. The messages kids hear about themselves from others easily translate into how they feel about themselves.  Harsh words ("You're so lazy") are harmful, not motivating. When kids absorb negative messages about themselves, they feel bad about themselves, and act accordingly.

Focus on strengths.  Pay attention to what your child does well and enjoys. Make sure your child has opportunities to develop these strengths. Nurturing strengths is better than focusing on weaknesses if you want to help kids feel good about themselves and succeed. All students progress at different rates at different points in their martial arts journey. It's not a belt race - it's all about becoming a black belt over time not "getting" a black belt. --

 
 
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I had the privilege and honor to teach a break-out session and a couple of self defense sessions at a local women's conference this past weekend.  It was such a wonderful, refreshing time spent with strong women who make a big difference in our community and church.  There were ladies there from a wide age range, all different backgrounds, skin colors, socio-economic stations; single ladies, married ladies, divorced ladies; some in church ministry, some lay workers, professional women, business owners, employees; -- all were so beautiful and valuable in their own way.  It was truly beautiful to see so many differences overlooked with love and true ministry to the hearts. There were too many things that we have in common!

This was a retreat put on by our church, but the women these were not your typical church ladies.  They are the ones that go out into the world as ambassadors.  It was not a "bless me, I deserve it" weekend.  It was a "fill me up so that I can go out and pour out on the world" weekend. Empowering!

There were many great moments this weekend and one that broke my heart and also gave me hope. The women were invited to cast off misplaced shame. Women who had been physically and emotionally abused, assaulted, raped, molested - injured at the hands of someone else and had carried the blame on themselves responded to that call. Probably 4 out of 5 of the ladies there were affected by these things. I watched in amazement as powerful and lovely women began the process of healing. The change was palpable.

This was real life. This is what doing life together looks like. It's not judgment. It's not finger pointing. It's binding together in hope and love, becoming vulnerable and finding healing. It is my firm belief that the realm of safety that was established was there because of the blood of Christ. That is where we all find help and healing and comfort. I am so grateful to be a part of a ministry that takes seriously the call of being the body of Christ and ministering to our community.

Find a way to make a difference in your community today. Help to provide for a local shelter, take on the challenge of caring for a child, make a meal for a friend or a stranger, make a needed repair, pray for others. Let's do life together!

Oh, and if you want to train some Krav Maga, you are more than welcome to come on by the gym this evening and join us.  There will be a group from COTR training at 7 pm.