“The successful man has enthusiasm. Good work is never done in cold blood; heat is needed to forge anything. Every great achievement is the story of a flaming heart.”
Would you be interested in advice on coaching yours or other kids to barefoot? If you are, then you will love this News from THE EDGE. Brent Benoist is one of the most successful father coaches in barefoot water skiing today. Brent’s sons, Billy and Brody, have destroyed most of the National Junior Boys records out there and are excellent examples of how athletes should handle success and failure.
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Teaching Skills to Kids by Brent Benoist
Lane had asked me to write an article on teaching kids to barefoot. Instead, I have chosen to write some of the tips that have helped me in coaching kids over the years. In addition to water skiing, I use these tips in teaching Sunday school, teaching camping skills, and coaching soccer. (They also work on adults, but don’t tell anyone.)
Make sure that you don’t ask too much of a child. As a teacher, you must keep your students motivated. Try to break down the skills into the fundamental parts, and make the correct execution of the parts (not the whole skill) the goal of the teaching session. Complicated skills should be taught in parts, for example: first teach the correct position, then teach the movement.
Limit skill-coaching sessions by the time/age rule. That is, “in general”, if a boy is 12 years old he can pay attention (and enjoy himself) for about 12 minutes. (Girls tend to have a little longer attention span.) So if you are teaching a new skill, work on it with him for about 12 minutes and then move on to something else. For 4 year olds, work with them for about 4 minutes, then let someone else ski, and go back to working with them later. If the student is having success, and enjoying the session, then you can give him some extra time. Just don’t keep beating a dead horse, that is, when something is not working, move on!
Types of Learners
Try to determine which type of learner that you are working with. Some children learn better by seeing, others by hearing, and others by doing. So try everything! First demonstrate the skill (dry land demonstration) that you are trying to teach so they can see it. Second, tell them how to do the skill so they hear the explanation. Finally let them demonstrate (dry land demonstration) the skill themselves. Then put them in the water and let them attempt to demonstrate the skill on the water.
You May Need Professional Help
Don’t be intimidated by the idea of seeking help from the professional skiers. The cost of going to a ski school for a week may seem expensive, but in the long run, learning from professional coaches costs less, and produces better results more quickly than trying to “figure out” the proper techniques on your own. Sometimes a coach needs some coaching too. So I recommend seeking out a great ski school and having the coach and student attend together. My kids and I go for lessons at the Footers Edge Training Center and I take notes while Lane is coaching my boys. Then the kids get to see dad working on new tricks, and that helps to keep us all motivated. The real value of water skiing is that it can be a sport for the whole family to enjoy.
Only one Coach
Remember the old adage “too many cooks spoil the broth”. Only one person should be coaching. If you have 4 people in the boat telling the skier what he needs to do, he will not be able to focus on anything. I have at many times had to stop parents from coaching “with” me. If someone else insists on coaching, then I shut up. This, by the way, is something that other coaches have had to tell me at times. So, knowing the rule and it’s value, I don’t take it personal, I just sit quietly. Anyone who has a comment or advice for the student that the coach may be missing should tell the coach, and then he can tell the skier.
Don’t Worry, Be Happy
Everyone likes a coach who is happy, excited, and enthusiastic. Your attitude as a teacher, or coach is the most important way to keep your kids excited about learning something new, and their excitement will motivate them to learn exponentially. Remember this, a happy, and excited attitude is a choice that we as teachers and coaches must make, it is not the result of how our day is going! When you get into the boat, make sure you leave any bad attitudes on the dock.
When working with kids in cold weather, please give them a break. Hypothermia is a function of body mass, and the lower the body mass, the more quickly a person is affected by cold water. So, keep this in mind. Make sure that kids have good wetsuits, or drysuits to keep them warm. Keep the sessions shorter in the winter and when the kids look like they aren’t having fun, then take them out. I have found that my kids love to ski in a drysuit. Apparently there is something special about the new type of cold weather armor.
Applaud, Award Accomplishments, and Have Fun
Applaud everything, and let the kids have a few runs everyday where they can do whatever they want to do. At our house, we usually do a brother-brother, or father-son ski around the lake at the end of the training session. The boys love this and we always make a big deal out of it. We also practice butt slides to see who can go the farthest. After skiing, I try to do something like go out for ice-cream, or in the winter, we have hot chocolate waiting at home.
Also, please help me out and forward this to as many footers or even potential footers as you can. This will help to make this newsletter a BIG success! We want everyone to have a GREAT chance to achieve their own miracles!
I am available to personally help you achieve your skiing goals by calling 877-685-6270 or visit our website @ www.thefootersedge.com Feel free to email me personally with any requests that you have and I will try to make time to help you achieve your true potential!