Transforming your children’s drills to be more age-specific

Lesson 51 Chapter 3 Module 3

Written by: Melody Shuman
From 3 to 12, children learn and grow through different stages of development. This is important to understand when training children of various ages in the martial arts. To increase the value of your education and produce effective results, many, if not all of your drills, should be age-specific.

Q: What are the recommended age groups for each stage of development?
A: The 3-year olds, the 4-year olds, 5 & 6-year olds, 7 & 8-year olds, and 9 to 12-year olds.

Q: Why do I need age-specific drills in my school?
A: To reach out to the students on they're learning and growing level. Have you ever taught a drill or an entire class with students of various age groups and at the end of class felt like it wasn't a very effective class? Have you ever thought to yourself that many of the student's aren't learning a lot in class? Have you ever peered over your class and thought to yourself what am I going to teach today that won't bore half of these students? It's a common factor for every instructor to want to teach the best, most highly effective class every time. If you are one of those instructors, read the following tips that will help you increase your teaching abilities.

Tips on how to provide more age-specific training

Tip 1: The best recommended tip to increasing the value of your school is to re-arrange your programs to
accommodate the above age groups. However, your initial challenges may scare you away, such as reorganizing your schedule, drafting age-specific programs, etc. Keep in mind there are age-specific curriculums available if you do not have the time to do the research yourself. Shuman Concepts can also help you make the transformation easier.

Tip 2: If it is not possible for you to provide age-specific programs in your school, then you can split the class up by age groups when you are running them through core drills. All you need is enough assistants or instructors to work with each age group individually. For example: you can keep the various age groups together during your stretching, warm-ups, and cool downs. When you are teaching curriculum or skill
development drills, then split the class into groups according to their ages. This allows you to modify the drill to better fit the stages of development for each age group.

Here is a breakdown of each age group and some ideas on how to create drills that are more age-specific:

1. The 3-year olds

a. They like activities where they take turns.
b. They like activities that are silly and imaginative.
c. They are beginning to build their gross motor skills, therefore drills that include catching,
throwing, jumping with both feet, kicking and using both hands will help them develop properly.

2. The 4-year olds

a. Like to work in groups, so team drills are very fun for them.
b. They like activities that are loud and aggressive.
c. They are refining their gross motor skills, so drills that include hoping or jumping on one foot,
running, rolling, and starting and stopping commands will help them develop the best.

3. 5 & 6-year olds

a. They like to take turns or work in groups.
b. They like to play games, so any kind of drill that is set up as a challenge or competition is right
up their alley.
c. They are beginning to develop fundamental skills, so drills that teach balance, coordination,
control, memory, etc. are the most effective way to teach them martial arts.

4. 7 & 8-year olds

a. They are more fragile, so they like activities that are challenging, yet attainable.
b. They like thought provoking questions and activities, so drills that have open-ended solutions
will capture their interest.
c. The are now developing advanced fundamental skills, therefore drills that teach agility, speed,
technique, concentration, etc. will have an enormous amount of effectiveness in their training.

5. 9 to 12-year olds

a. They are dynamic and competitive, so anything that is not challenging will bore them.
b. They are impatient and do not like to work with others who can't keep up.
c. They are very talented and skilled, so drills that are intense, require independent training, or appear dangerous will capture their attention for long periods of time.

From these ideas, you can totally re-arrange your class planner to be more effective and exciting for each and every student in the class. Once you incorporate age-specific training into your classroom, you will notice the motivation and enthusiasm increase dramatically.

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