Class Logistics for A+ Instructing:
Here are a few tips to ensure safety and high energy in your martial arts classes.
1. When having students make lines to practice striking skills such as a jab, cross combo, make sure you have no more than 5 students to a line. If you have too many students in one line, they tend to be standing and waiting for too long and this brings the energy and focus down. If you're the only instructor on the mat, use equipment like punching bags to create more lines. If you don't have this equipment, have other students hold targets and choose who gets to hold a target based on how hard they're trying in class. This can also be a great motivator! Another option is to have cones behind your lines where students can perform an exercise, like 3 pushups, then run back in line.
2. Creativity is highly essential! Practicing the same skills, the same way ensures students won't be as excited to train. Be sure to spend a little time thinking about how you can change up the drills to keep the energy and motivation high. Remember to pre-plan your classes!
3. Keep it simple. Being creative doesn't mean making things overly complicated. It may be something as simple as taking a solo drill and turning it into a partner drill.
4. Teach according to the skill level of your class. When you teach advanced material to beginners you end up with frustrated and potentially injured students. Likewise, if you only drill basics with your higher-level students, you end up with students who aren't progressing and will likely become unmotivated and bored.
5. Have fun! If you're not having fun teaching, it shows! Some things that keep it fun for me are planning out my classes ahead of time to keep in interesting and being sincerely interested in the martial arts and character growth of each of my students. As martial arts instructors we have to rely on our self-motivation to keep growing and continue to love what we do. If you find yourself unmotivated, bored with teaching or experiencing burnout, remember it's often a mindset shift you need to make and adopting just a few simple changes like the ones on this list can make a big difference!
What are some of your favorite drills or practices to keep classes fun and interesting? Please comment below!