Focus is a skill we all begin to learn on day one of our martial arts classes. We quickly understand that having good focus will be super important to learning our forms, improving our techniques, and moving through belt ranks. Focus is the ability to concentrate without being distracted.
Parents: When watching classes you will see the kids standing at attention, sitting with their hands still or kneeling with their hand on their knees. The goal is to put kids in a position when learning so they can't be distracted by other kids moving, using their arms, squiggling around or being restless. Once the body is focused we teach the children to keep their eyes on the instructor. One of the cues we use is to yell out "Eyes on who?" the kids respond "Eyes on you!" Kids learn that their eyes must be on the person talking. This is taught in class and of course we remind the kids to do this at home and at school. Then we teach them to "focus their mind." The idea is that when distractions are at a minimum the children find it easier to concentrate.
I want you to focus on the future. I want you to focus on your goals. You become what you think about the most. If you think about all the negative things in your life or remarks you hear, you tend to notice them more and more. I want you to focus on positive thinking and the things you do well. This will come around and help you improve the things that need work.
We asked kids in an online survey: "What should a coach care about most?" You might expect them to answer "to focus on winning." But "Put me in, coach!" is what most kids really want.
In fact, the majority didn't think winning was all that important. Only 7% of girls said coaches should be most concerned with winning, while about 18% of boys said so.
Here's what boys and girls value most in a coach:
64% said giving everyone a chance to play
27% said teaching new skills
9% said winning
Striving for excellence is a great goal, but when coaches and parents apply too much pressure, kids can get overly worried or push themselves too hard physically, leading to injuries. Some kids may even go on unhealthy diets to lose or gain weight to be better at their sport.
And when sports become too competitive, kids who have only average or below-average skills might spend too much time on the bench instead of learning new skills.
10th Degree master instructor Greg Silva says, "I have been a martial arts instructor for 46 years. I believe there are no better coaches than martial arts teachers." Martial Arts instructors know that the door to success open "in" not "out". That means the success to building an athlete who is well balanced yet understands that being in top shape and a top performer begins with the proper attitude, confidence, self esteem, sportsmanship and self control. This building from the "inside out" will prevent kids from being lazy, giving up, or quitting. The nature of martial arts with setting continuous goals is a key to it's success. And there is no bench to sit on. All kids learn, train and compete while playing the "game" in every class they take.
To see how martial arts teaches so much, join us in our free "Beginners Martial Arts" Workshop