Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Coaching the Deaf?????

Brian McCormick got me thinking..... again. In his recent post he talked about 10,000 hours with regards to coaching (go read it!!). He mentioned in his post that one summer he had to coach a young basketballer who was deaf, and how he had to adjust his coaching style.

This has my mind going bananas right now. What a great way to coach and to learn how to coach!

Why? Well obviously you will come across very few athletes who are deaf in your lifetime, but lets take the idea to your preparation. Call it programming for S+C coaches or practice plan for sport coaches.

What if you prepared the way you teach like you were coaching a group of deaf athletes?

1. You would probably come up with great progressions that lead the athlete into the desired result. Instead of yelling a command that they either didn't understand or probably weren't even listening to, instead you put them in the right situation where they LEARN what they're supposed to do. I am a huge advocate of coaches talking less and instead they put their athletes in situations (games, drills, etc) that force them to learn the objective. Too much talking (or yelling) only leads to athletes playing like a robot and are unable to make the decisions on their own in the heat of competition.

2. Demonstration will be improved dramatically. You will have to focus on what you want them to do and what you don't. In my opinion, you will have to use the John Wooden technique of "Do this, not this, do this." What a better use of that technique than if you were teaching a group that couldn't hear. They see the right way, see the wrong way, then see the right way again. Deliberate Practice at it's best.

3. It slows your mind and there mind down. You now must take everything in smaller steps. Why is this better? The idea of "Chunking," where you practice smaller parts separate from each other than bring them together as a whole unit, is a fast track to learning new skills. The Talent Code by Daniel Coyle talked about how he saw a trend in numerous "Talent Hotbeds" where they all forced athlete's musicians, artists, to slooooooowww doooowwwwwnnn. If they can't perform a skill at a slow pace how can they perform at a high speed? Preparing to coach to deaf students might be the way to slow a coaches mind down and really evaluate how you are doing things. Something I will definitely try.

My suggestion? Take 30 mins-1 hour a day and go over each area of your program or practice plan. Imagine your coaching to deaf kids and how you might teach it. They can't hear you and you can't talk. My guess is you will see a lot of things that need improvement with your program. I personally want my athlete's moving better even when I'm not there or continuing good training even when they move on. This is just a theory but my hypothesis is that it will do nothing but improve your ability to get your athletes better.

Until next time, I'm off to attack this task. Future posts on if it improved my ability.......

Here's also a fun game to see how your observation skills are.

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