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Be Nice to Your Coach


Sometimes, I can be a little paranoid.  Like in class, I have these momentary freak-outs because coach always looks directly at me when he's teaching.

Why's he looking at me?  Am I bleeding?  Is my nose running?  Am I the stupidest person in the class so he's making sure I'm understanding?  

I spent a lot of time asking myself these questions.  And usually, I'm NOT bleeding and my nose is NOT running, and I'm NOT the most lost person in the group (I MAY be in the running for "most lost person" but at least I'm not alone!).

But the next day, I go to my day job as a college professor and then I realize I’m doing the exact same thing to my students.  

As instructors, we tend to focus in on those students who look engaged.  Teaching is hard. We worry a lot about whether we’re being clear and whether our students are understanding the concepts that we’re covering.

As a result, we instinctively lock in on the ones who look most attentive so that we can try to gauge whether we’re getting our point across.  We’re looking for signs.

So, I finally realized, my coach kept looking at me because I know how to be a good student.  After all, I spent four years in college and then another six years in graduate school. With all that classroom time under my belt, I can’t help but have a knack for it.

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For another thing, I really sympathize with my coach when he’s teaching.  (When we’re rolling and he’s making me look like a fool, I’m not quite so sympathetic).  I know what it’s like.  A good coach—one who cares—will often find teaching nerve wracking.

We’re always looking for those clues that we’re communicating effectively.

So, if you are lucky enough to have a good one, be nice to your coach.

First off, pay attention.  Not paying attention is rude.  It’s disrespectful. And even the oldest and crustiest teacher will get their feelings hurt when a class isn’t paying attention.

Second, show some signs of life.  If you understand what your coach is covering, nod your head while they’re explaining.  It may not seem like much to you, but it’s a huge signal to your coach that they’re getting their points across.

If you don’t understand, raise your hand and ask a question.  Believe me, I’d rather have a student tell me he’s completely lost than have to guess whether my students are getting it because the whole class is wearing their best poker face.

Asking questions helps an instructor do a better job.

Finally, remember that your coach may feel out of his element as an instructor.  He or she is probably the most proficient Jiu Jitero in the dojo. But teaching Jiu Jitsu isn’t Jiu Jitsu; it’s teaching.  It’s way different.  

Many people say that public speaking is one of their biggest fears, but that’s exactly what your coach is doing.  Be a kind and attentive audience.  

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Top Game Devastation By Rafael Lovato takes you on a Jiu-Jitsu Journey that is sure to revitalize your Top Game. Learn the Precision style that Lovato has used to not only win a Jiu-Jitsu World Title, but a Bellator MMA Title! Lovato has experience that few others possess. Take his tools and add them to your kit. You won’t regret it!



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