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Master the learning curve


You see your kid and they are doing it wrong. You go over and tell them, and show them how to do it. They continue to do it wrong. You’re getting frustrated, but not as frustrated as they are until you hear that phrase that drives every parent/coach crazy- “I Know!” “Well if you know, why aren’t you doing it?!” 

I’m going to answer that for you 🙂 Head knowledge doesn’t immediately translate into ability. I can study how to make the perfect golf swing but struggle to carry it out until I’ve had significant practice. Our bodies have to do it, create feedback on its own, adjust and continue as the learning process continues. 

Every time you interrupt to again show and explain it, you break up the learning process. You’re actually making it take longer for them to learn rather than helping them. Constant interruption-based feedback also takes away from their ability to self detect errors. We want them to be thinking- I noticed that if I get my hands back farther, the swing is harder and faster. Connection is made. 

Similarly, in a game situation, they may have head knowledge that they need to do something a certain way, but because of the incredible amount of variables that can exist in how a game plays out, their mind and body have to draw connections with each experience. When they are given a play by play, from either sideline or worse- both, those connections aren’t made because your voice is filling the space instead. The end result? Well, never miss a game because you are creating a problem where they won’t have the ability to react and form decisions based on past knowledge. 

 Imagine putting together a complicated puzzle. Meanwhile someone is yelling instructions at you every time you pick up a piece or try it to see how it fits in. How much would you retain in that situation? Or would you rather they let you concentrate, focus, try pieces here and there,  and figure it out. 

There are certain facts we think we know as we go through life. The shortest distance to anywhere is a straight line and that if we have learned something we can teach someone else and spare them the learning curve. Those are partially true but sometimes the shortest way isn’t the best way and sometimes a person has to experience it for themselves to retain learning. 

Want to help? Let them try over and over. Give them a single task cue (get your bottom hand low) and then let them come back to you and ask for another step. Provide time for them to just try it, uninterrupted. Avoid giving directions during a play and let their brain make the connections. That includes letting them do it wrong and find out it doesn’t work. Let them tell YOU why it didn’t work or why it did work, later, in a quiet setting when they aren’t in game mode and can switch into a reflective mode. 

 

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