Changing the instruction to foster understanding

Last spring, when I took a jiujitsu class, one of the first moves that we learned was an americana. For some reason, I never quite got the submission. I knew cognitively how and when to try the submission, and I had numerous opportunities to try it, but I always made a mistake in its execution. My procedural knowledge was lacking. When given time to think about it in a non-competitive setting, I could explain the hold, but when I needed to put that knowledge into practice in a time-stressed, competitive environment, the knowledge escaped me. […]

Jiujitsu and Specificity of Language

Note: This article originally appeared in Hard2Guard Player Development Newsletter 5.2.

I took an introductory jiujitsu class this week. Jiujitsu is unlike anything that I have done previously. However, the initial learning curve was made steeper because of unspecific language. Several times, my more experienced partner or the instructor said “put this leg there” or “that arm there.” As a novice trying to imitate an expert’s one or two demonstrations to get a position, the unspecific language made the learning more complex. Which leg is “that one,” my right or my left? When an athlete is confused, “that” or “this” does not simplify the action. When instructing, coaches should use language that is as accurate and specific as possible. […]

You or We: The Power of Language

On TV last weekend, the cameras went into a coach’s huddle and captured his comments. He was frustrated with his team, as he had called the timeout to stop the opponent’s run. He said: “When WE move the ball from side to side, WE get great shots. However, when YOU hold the ball on one Read more about You or We: The Power of Language[…]