Coaching Communication

Following on from methods of communication we use for learning martial arts, the next area of my research project involves communication used by martial arts teachers to coach – b) As a martial arts teacher, what methods of communication do we use to coach?

I see this area of the project; include methods of communication to also mean different communication mediums, as well as the different communication techniques in each area.

A coach needs to be able to control their classes, know what they are doing and make sure they are able to effectively communicate to their students what they are trying to teach them. Coaches teach. Teaching is predominantly made up of talking and so when teaching, a coach uses verbal techniques presenting to one person or to larger class. Method of communications martial arts teachers use to coach include informing. Informing – is the dissemination of information – allows a teacher to coach students’ martial arts and try to reduce misunderstanding. I found this on one website saying:

“There is an old story that, in the First World War, the front line sent a message via runners to the general. The message said: “Send reinforcements, we are going to advance”. By the time the message reached the general it said “send three and fourpence, we are going to a dance”.”

This shows that the way you give information to people can impact the final message received by people and if teachers don’t give the message in a direct clear way to their students, sometimes they don’t get the right message and can end up performing something dangerous and incorrect or even offending students.

Martial arts teachers also use the technique of advice to coach there students. Every student has goals and aspirations they would like to achieve in martial arts. The teacher’s job is to give advice and coach their students in the most relevant ways in order for students to achieve their goals.

Moving back to the communication methods, there is an increase in martial arts teachers posting on blogs and often about coaching. These posts are on blogs for students and the public to read. Some posts are there to coach students into the right mind set for learning martial arts, thus allowing them to reach their full potential. Others explain why we do different things in martial arts, such as repetition giving students a deeper understanding on some aspects they may be unsure on. Also this helps further consolidate what students may have learned in class. This is an easy way for martial arts teachers to coach their students in what they personally think about martial arts and what they think their students should be doing to improve on their practice.

Due to the uprising of YouTube, there is an increase in visual videos posted by martial teachers to coach students. These can vary widely on watch they teach. Some coaches post videos on how to perform and improve certain techniques such as a roundhouse kick, and others post videos of forms and katas for their students to practice in their spare time so they can study what and how their coach is doing the moves and if necessary consult their instructor in their next class.  Methods of communication like this are on the increase however there is a downside. With videos there is no direct interaction with a martial arts instructor so this can lead to some students not practicing safely if they are performing techniques incorrectly, but also lead to “rookies” who’ve never trained before trying to teach themselves which could be unsafe.