On your A-Game: How to Take your Coaching Skills to the Next Level

Quality martial arts instruction and coaching is invaluable for a martial artist who is looking to reach their full potential. Whether you’re focused on martial arts tournaments, forms or fully mastering all of the traditional details of your art, a good martial arts coach can guide and inspire a student.

Martial arts instructors who are looking to improve their coaching skills have a lot to think about. What qualities and skills enable a coach to be successful? This week, we break down some of the important factors martial artists should consider, when taking their coaching skills to the next level.


Patience Is Truly a Virtue

Patience may be the most important trait of a successful coach. Every student learns at a different pace. Just because someone is a slow learner doesn’t mean they can’t reach a higher potential, relative to a faster learner. Without patience, frustrations can affect an instructor’s effectiveness and your student may have a hard time learning from someone who is giving off negative energy.

Taking deep breaths and reminding yourself that your job is to figure out how to most effectively convey your teachings makes it a challenge that good coaches will strive to meet. With the unique skillset and learning speed of each student, patience will help you adapt to the differences between each of them.


Make it Personal

Trust-building is very important for instructors and students and a good coach needs to know how to make that personal connection with their students. Figure out what makes each student tick; having a genuine interest in their personal interests and learning what people in their age group are like will give you an idea of analogies and examples you can make, to help communicate your point. Once you build that trust level, your students’ willingness to learn will increase as well.


Light that Fire

We recommend all high-level martial arts coaches take some time to study sports psychology. High performance athletes all require a great deal of mental strength that comes from proper training and mental framing. Learning about the differences between intrinsic and extrinsic motivation and how it affects short and long-term motivation is the first step in keeping motivation levels high.


Educate Yourself

A good coach needs to be knowledgeable, in order to get the most out of students. There will be always be the regular curriculum you have to teach for your particular martial art but a good coach will go above and beyond, especially for martial arts tournament competitors.

Learning about proper nutrition, good sleep habits, sports psychology, and match strategies will enable you to help your competitors perform at their very best. Planning and organization also play big roles. If you’re teaching a particular topic, you should brush up on it the day before, so you’re able to better teach the subject to your student.


Be Adaptable

Being agile is one of the most important traits for success, in today’s fast-changing environment. Especially when coaching students, various issues and obstacles may arise during training or competition. Being able to roll with the punches to keep guiding your students to success is imperative, for a good martial arts coach.

For example, if you’ve trained for a fight and are expecting an opponent who is highly technical and cautious, being able to adjust if the opponent comes out brawling will be a key for success. You can plan all you want but your strategies may go out the window, once the first strike is thrown.


Elite Needs Elite

For elite athletes, there are quite a number of coaches and specialists who help them succeed. World class mixed martial artists, for example, can have a sleep doctor, nutritionist, cardio coach, submissions coach, striking coach, wrestling coach, etc. This isn’t always possible when resources are limited and, for most levels of martial arts, it can be overkill. That being said, elite martial artists will want to go all the way and will require the additional investment, in order to enter the top ranks of international competition.

One example of a martial arts school that takes coaching very seriously is Life Ki-Do. Utilizing psychology, meditation, mindfulness, and a deep understanding of martial arts, Life Ki-Do focuses on life skills, as much as they do on martial arts.

What are your best tips for getting the most out of your students, for a belt test or martial arts tournament? Let us know on our Facebook and follow us on Twitter and Google+, to stay up to date with all of your ChampionsWay news.