Tomorrow never comes ….
I said .. “You can have it tomorrow!” and the reaction was not what I had expected. A few tears and a stern look. Hold on, didn’t I just say “Yes”? The problem was not the yes or no but the timeframe.
You see I was talking to my 6 year old daughter (some time ago!) and for her, tomorrow was a lifetime away. I remember the discussion with a fellow parent who said that her child had no concept of time so she always said anything would take 5 minutes. A little mean I thought but nonetheless I got the idea.
If you have ever read my blogs before you will know that I try to learn from the kids all around me! Kids never speak without reason. There is always an intention to communicate something, it is just our inability to receive and decipher that creates the confusion, or perhaps more accurately missed opportunities.
So what can we do with this nugget? Children are on a different, shorter, time frame which influences the way in which they focus, understand and ultimately learn. The question of course is what are we going to do to make the situation a more effective learning environment.
At first I thought that this just meant that we did things in shorter blocks of time but now things have evolved (as they have a habit of doing in our company), and a new consideration has risen and taken shape. The bad news is that it does involve breaking one of our most ingrained habits.
Ask a group of coaches when they play points during a kids tennis lesson and most will say “At the end!” This is based upon the premise that we are building a skill or set of skills and then gradually taking them through cooperative drills and practices and gradually opening the skill from a closed situation into an open one.
The problem for kids is that context is king! Why they are learning something has a huge influence on their motivation, especially when acquiring a new skill. A motivated child learns way faster than an unmotivated one!!
If tomorrow seems like forever, because the child is on a tighter time frame, then leaving points until the end of the lesson equally doesn’t quite make sense either. In fact it makes more sense to take train the skill then play the points, then train the skill then play the points. Place three or four cycles like this in a one hour lesson and you are far more likely to make progress as players associated what the benefit of the training to an actual game. The clubs that we have used this with have reported better discipline, motivation, engagement and more, plus and maybe more importantly progress!!