So you coach Ninja classes and you’re looking for fresh ideas?
You might ask for advice on Ninja Coach Facebook groups, look up youtube videos of skills, chat with other Ninja coaches in your gym, or stare at a bunch of mats hoping you’ll come up with something clever and interesting. That last attempt always seems crazy – but you’re actually moving in the right direction. Sure, watching what others do can teach you… but how can you become a Ninja Coach that CREATES your own brilliant ideas?
What if it’s all about how you think & play – NOT what you learn from others?
While it is so important to observe others’ performances (creating a class experience and coaching the students), it’s even more important that you give yourself the opportunity to fail. That’s right – try weird things. Experiment. Repeat. Transforming your mindset as a Coach of children might just be the most critical skill-set of them all. How can you deliver a class experience to your Ninjas that will rock their worlds? Look at the world from their perspectives.
Ninja Sports International is excited to provide the following steps (we’ll call them secrets since Ninjas are stealthily sneaky) so that Ninja Coaches around the globe can feel empowered and inspired as they become more creative and more confident.
1. THINK THEIR AGE
What age group are you working with? Each class should look and feel different based off the age of the Ninjas participating. The more you can relate to how the Ninjas think, the more engaged and excited they will be to follow your lead.
Ninjas age 3 to 5 will need a Coach that speaks to how imaginative and colorful their world is. Using words they understand helps them feel more confident. Try replacing technical terms with silly phrases to help them remember each station’s task within the rotation. Ninjas feel more accomplished when they believe they are doing what they should be. For example – asking them to “stretch out their longest dragon tail” might be easier for them to remember and execute versus “make your back leg straight from a lunge position”. In no time your dragons will be able to jump their long tails to the sky (and secretly learn the handstand you’re wanting to teach them). Did one Ninja do something different than what you’ve asked them to do? Try saying, “WOW! That was a really cool idea. I like how you thought of doing that. Next time try doing it this way since you’ve already mastered the other way!”… because in Ninja class, we celebrate creativity and redirect effort to promote eventual growth.
Ninjas age 6 to 8 have been in school and amongst peers regularly at this point. They are not only aware of how they fit into the group, but are also concerned with how others think and feel. Competitive spirits might be present due to other sports, video games, or sibling contests. Channeling that competitive drive and gearing it towards self-improvement is healthy. Try incorporating “self challenges” that inspire the Ninjas to beat personal records rather than beating others. Challenges that relate to popular videos games and have (meaningless) points really pump up this age group. “You get 3 points if you make it one bar further on the monkey bars, 5 points if you make it across, and 10 points if you can make it across backwards!” Be sure to shout out points to Ninjas during the rotation and you’ll most definitely see their faces light up! Lost track of the points? No worries… they’ll most likely forget when it’s time to switch to a new rotation. They will, however, remember how great it felt to work hard and receive praise.
Ninjas age 9 & up might need a more-serious-you. Silliness can seem embarrassing and they desire someone “cool” to look up to. Ninjas this age notice how prepared you are, how you respond at all times, and how you are setting them up for the future (more difficult skills eventually). Talking to them about how the small steps along the way lead to more difficult (and impressive) skills encourages them to care about progressions and details. You are in a constant leadership role with this age group – the Ninjas are learning from how you give corrections and challenge each student. Be sure to lead with enthusiasm, passion, positivity, and absolute care. The more they feel like you care about them, the more they feel like they can trust you. The more they trust you, the more impact you will have as you teach them to truly care themselves in every way.
2. GROW YOUR “WHAT-IF” MINDSET
3. LIMIT YOUR RESOURCES
4. JUST PLAY AROUND
5. IMAGINE STORIES & JOURNEYS
6. USE PROPS – THEN MORE!