3 Tips For New Instructors

Don't come to class with an agenda. Follow your instructor's lead.

So your instructor is going away for a week or two on holiday and has asked you to fill in and teach some classes. Maybe he is sick or perhaps someone has invited you to teach a few classes at their karate school. You want to teach but don’t have any experience running a class by yourself.

What should you do?

Teaching can be a great experience as you have a chance to share the art of jiu-jitsu and influence other people. There is satisfaction in seeing a “light bulb” go off in the eyes of new students when they suddenly grasp a new technique.

Ironically, it may be you who learns the most when teaching and closely examining the basic techniques. Answering the students’ questions will also challenge your understanding of all of the minute details of even the most fundamental BJJ techniques.

Here are three tips for new instructors

Teach Less Than You Think

You may be so eager to help and share your techniques that you will show too much! I am fond of the saying, “the best way to teach someone nothing is to try to teach them everything”.

Beginners can not absorb more than a few techniques in a training session. Any more than that and their retention of the important stuff diminishes.

Two or three solid techniques is enough for a single class. Fifty-seven variations of sweeps from the De la Riva guard is akin to trying to drink from a fire hose!

Keep It Basic

You will be tempted to get a little fancy and show some creative, advanced stuff to the class. You have some skills and are eager to share (and even show off your knowledge a little).

But the truth is that the students will most benefit from going over some basics techniques. What are the techniques you use every roll? Guard replacement, the fundamental submissions, back take control, and choke. Those kinds of techniques are always useful for students to review and drill.

Show stuff that they can actually use in their own rolls.

Teach What You Know

It is okay to admit that you are not a red belt level expert in every position. In fact, it is perfectly acceptable to say, “I don’t have a lot of variations form that position. You should ask John Gracie. He knows!”

Instead, show what you are confident in. Show those techniques that you have used to tap fully resisting opponents. Share your “A Game” because you may be a belt level or two higher in that one position and have valuable tips to share.

I heard one very experienced black belt say, “There are far better qualified people to show you berimbolo and inverted guard. I can show you what has worked for my guard against bigger opponents.”

Show what you know well.

So, don’t be apprehensive if the instructor asks you to “sub” in (pun intended) and teach a class. You may uncover a whole new perspective on BJJ.

Read also: What Do Most Students Dislike About BJJ Class?


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