We’ve all been there. Sitting in that course in college or in that huddle on a sports team. The the teacher, coach or instructor has no idea how to efficiently lead a group of people. Being the most knowledgeable person in the world about a particular subject only gets you so far. Not having the ability to effectively put in place your knowledge won’t get you anywhere in the teaching realm. In Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, instructors hold the key to an up and coming practitioner’s success. Students could have all the natural abilities in the world. If they aren’t taught how to properly channel such skills, their likelihood of success will be rare.
We often find students struggling with their comprehension of a sport. This can be due to the fact that learning abilities across a team can be widespread. As an instructor, it is up to you to create techniques and tactics that are inclusive to all learning styles and capabilities. Sometimes, it can be best to follow the “lowest common denominator” aesthetic. This doesn’t mean that the whole class needs to stay on the same skill until they all achieve it. It more means that that each course you teach should continue to review the most basic moves as a refresher for all. Paying that little bit of extra attention to the lowest level student ensures that they are receiving a quality education.
Communication is an extremely crucial aspect of being an instructor. Adaptation of communication methods goes right along side in importance. If you are unable to teach in a way that most, if not all, of your students can comprehend, they re-evaluating your technique should be a high priority. In BJJ there are many moves that require extreme persistence and practice. Being able to descriptively enlighten your students on safety measures must be done in the clearest way possible. For me it’s always important to make sure I cover, and my students clearly understand, the What, How, Why. This is What we are going to do, this is How we are going to do it and this is Why we are doing it.
One of the final ways that you can be sure your teaching methods are up to high standards is by reflecting on each class that you lead. Ask yourself questions such as; Did everyone seem to see the main takeaways from the course? Were there any students who seemed to not comprehend certain moves or drills? Though you should not get too caught up in any negative aspects of a class, assessing yourself and your style only leaves room for improvement. In any teaching scenario, having the ability to critique yourself and make strategic changes, is what will ultimately get your students further.