Ben Franklin never ceases to inspire! You’ll love this quote!
Tell me and I forget
Teach me and I remember
Involve me and I learn.
Brilliant isn’t it?
Let’s look at how we can apply this with our own students. There is so much we want to teach them, so much they need to learn at times! But do they? Do they want to? I think a large majority of our students do want to learn and are expecially appreciative when we elevate their understanding. Sure, there are some who just do not care to learn anything, either because they are just going through the motions, or because they think they alrady know it all (we’ve all seen those students!) or because they are oblivious to anything beyond the basic I-learn-my-fitness-from-movie-stars mainstream knowledge.
But I’ve been surprised on so many occasiona when students (who I had perceived as not really caring all that much) have come up to me to thank me for helping them, or who are grateful for the information and education I’ve provided them.
So how can we involve our students more so they are more likely to “learn” as Mr. Franklin suggests?
One way is to find out what it is they would like to know more about, and also to find out what they need – which they may not be aware of (poor pedaling skills for example). The first thing to do is ask them! either directly, or through a survey. Second, expand your awareness as you coach. Janet Toussaint’s two articles on using your “radar” to hep you determine the coachable moments are excellent ways to discover what they need the most. (Part 1 and Part 2)
But it’s also in how you deliver the information. It has to be interesting. It can’t be dry, too scientific or too lengthy. Make eye contact, be engaging, ask questions of them. Most importantly, look for nods of understanding if you are trying to teach them something about heart rate or physiology or correct technique. Check for their understanding with questions such as, “does that make sense?” or “can you see how that might help your pedal stroke?” This is how you involve them in the discussion so they can learn more!
Afterward, invite them to ask you more. Tell them, “Please don’t hesitate to let me know if I can clarify that for you, or if you have any other questions on how to smooth out your pedal stroke to be more effective.”
Involving them also makes it far more interesting and fun for you as a coach! Enjoy!