Three Coaching Cues To Master

Not all students are created equal, each will require a general plan along with a specific plan to ensure learning has occurred. There are lots of tricks of the trade, but as instructors using verbal, visual and tactile advanced coaching tips will lead to student success.

Student Desired Outcome

As an instructor your job is to help the student learn. We are attempting to affect behavioral change in some manner. There are several ways to see the change. Once the student has absorbed the knowledge, they next need to apply the skill. Moving past a communication error where the student doesn’t understand your instructions and therefore lacks the knowledge we want to focus on the skill application. I have found there are three methods to assist the student in discovering how to complete the task. Just like there are various methods to deliver the message, there are various methods to correct or cue the appropriate action to achieve the desired outcome.

What Is the Value of Your Instruction

The first thing you have to do is place a value on the outcome. Did the student get better, not improve or get worse. When every I’m working with a student I have to quickly evaluate their performance. Did my instruction help the student get better; in which case we want to repeat. Did my instruction produce no change, in which case I may need to check for comprehension. Assuming comprehension is good, then maybe it is the remedial that is not being applied correctly. Did my instruction result in performance getting worse; in which case I need to revisit comprehension of the task and or application.

Vary Your Verbal Coaching Tips

When it comes to the remedial application we all have our “go to” methods, but there are three. As instructors your advanced coaching tips to correct errors are verbal, visual or tactile coaching cues. Verbal is by far the most popular, but it is also the most abused. Meaning you repeat the same verbal cue expecting a different outcome. You may need to relay the information differently so the student understands better. Focus on the front sight, might not make sense. Look at the horizontal line at the top of your post might make more sense to them. Same message, only conveyed differently. 

Better Position For Visual Instructor Tips

The visual cue is an important component to the introduction of the subject. As instructors we must demonstrate what we expect of the students. When it comes to remediation it can be even more important. Not everyone was positioned to see you perform the demonstration or miss a subtle nuance. I expect a quick demonstration for the individual student to have a lot more benefit because they are able to focus intently on what you are doing. When I perform these private demonstrations I make sure to move slowly enough and articulate each action so the student can process the information.

Isolate The Part for Tactile Tips

There may still be some confusion after a verbal and visual cue. The student may have a disconnect that only a tactile cue can fix. The most important aspect of your tactical cue is it must be isolated to its individual part. Whatever is not working, you need to be to identify and then focus on that specifically. I can do this by dividing the labor of tasks and working with the student jointly to fire the shot. I can also work with the student to isolate the task and perform task specific remedies that while not shooting related focus on the task to help bring awareness to the student. Then we return to a shooting related scenario to test the work we completed. 

The ultimate goal of the instructor is seeing and correcting shooter errors. Then having an assortment of remedial actions to assist the student in learning how to correct.

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