The Art of Coaching

“Bruce had a fine line to tread. He had to teach me to be more disciplined without dampening my love for chess or suppressing my natural voice. Many teachers have no feel for this balance and try to force their students into cookie-cutter molds. I have run into quite a few egomaniacal instructors like this over the years and have come to believe that their method is profoundly destructive for students in the long run.” – Josh Waitzkin, The Art of Learning (p. 9)

“Bruce slowed me down by asking questions. Whenever I made an important decision, good or bad, he would ask me to explain my thought process. Were there other ways to accomplish the same aim? Had I looked for my opponent’s threats? Did I consider a different order of operations? Bruce didn’t patronize me – some teachers rebel so far away from being authoritarian that they praise all their little player’s decisions, good or bad. Their intention is to build confidence, but instead they discourage objectivity, encourage self-indulgence, and perhaps most destructively, they create a dishonest relationship between instructor and pupil that any bright child can sense.” – Waitzkin (p. 10).

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