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I run a lawn bowls coaching class with adults and children.One child, who is nine, (we'll call her Jane) has a technical problem with her delivery. This is easily fixable, and I have given her a sheet containing a simple exercise to do at home three times a day - 2 minutes at a time.However, she has so far not done it, with many excuses like "I forgot" or "I was too busy"I get on great with her on a personal level but am unable to help her until she does this exercise. I have asked, even implored her mother to get her to do it. The last time, the mother looked quite irritated, saying her daughter was just not the competitive type.I was tempted to email the mother, explaining that sport is a chance to test yourself - be the best "you" you can be etc. However, I am afraid this may seem too "preachy" even pompous, and may aggravate the tension.The girl's best friend also comes, and is a very promising bowler. Because Jane's performance is inconsistent due to her technical flaw, this reduces her concentration levels, and causes her friend to lose focus.Do I just let her go on underachieving, or do I persevere with asking her to do the exercises? Do I try to get her mother to understand the need to practice for the sake of Jane's own personal development?
Tough one. I don't think there is an easy solution based on the information you can put into a forum post. Jane seems to have different priorities to you. Perhaps doing her exercises less often, just once a day, would be a good start ?
It sounds as if “Jane’s” motivation for attending your sessions might be to spend time with her best friend as much as it is to become a better bowler.
Perhaps you can tap into this to encourage her to focus more? Perhaps point out that her friend will be moving on to stiffer challenges and won’t be playing with Jane as often in future, unless Jane improves her game?
fwiw - “homework” doesn’t seem to work for me, either. Kids (even at just 9 years of age) seem to get more than enough homework from school. Unless there is some additional incentive, “voluntary” assignments just don’t get completed.
I think you need to find a way to engage her...
Can you make it fun? Why can’t you help her until she does this exercise? Can’t you do the exercise with her in a fun way?
I get the whole technique thing but we are talking about a nine-year-old who has many, many years to master technique.
It’s a long process. You run the risk of losing the girl and her friend for life unless you can find a way of helping foster a passion for the sport - which will lead to a passion for practice and improvement.
I agree with Jon, it needs to be fun. Can you make the exercise into a game for her to play. Can you involve her friend so the two of them do it together, at least a few times a week.
I teach karate and some students struggle with particular techniques. However, this is often due to poor balance which is ultimately due to core muscles. Rather than get them doing the technique at home, which ultimately they might get wrong and develop bad habits I get them to practice an exercise that will help with balance and core development.
First I heard that Jane 'didn't like indoor bowls' and wouldn't be coming back. Then she turned up and had done the exercise! And she has improved her action! She is still lacks concentration and disrupts her friend, but at least she is trying! I appreciate the comments, but I still think there has to be some commitment by those being coached to learn, not JUST to have fun. It's a balance, surely?
The reason we play sport is for enjoyment, surely? Some kids may be made to do a sport and the chances are they won’t continue with it once they are allowed to choose..unless you can find a way to ignite a passion for the game. The only way to do that is to make the learning fun. They enjoy what they are doing and they’re improving.
Personally I would get to know Jane better. What are her interests and hobbies? What is she passionate about? Why is she there? What does she enjoy about bowling? What makes it fun for her? Get to know her and you can find a way to engage her. Take a long term view.
Talk to her parents and get them on board. She might get pressure at home . Tell them you are going to make it fun and all she needs is their support and love. You could even suggest they take her bowling and she shows them how to do it.
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