Saturday, September 19, 2009

Helpful handful: 5 ways to get more reps

A student of mine who is starting a new club asked me for some advice.  Seems he'd teach a skill and his students would try it 2-3 times then sit around waiting to see something else.  He wanted to know how to get the students to do more reps of the mechanical drilling that is necessary to build skill.  My first thought is, "use a bullwhip or a tazer," but here are five more humane tricks to get more reps out of your students.  You might not do all of these, but try them and mix and match and see what works for you...
  • Everybody works with everybody: switch partners fairly frequently and have them do the same technique with a different body. Keep doing that till everybody has worked with everybody.
  • Add progressive detail: show a technique and have them rep it a few times, then add more detail and have them rep it more precisely. Do this about 2-3 times before you move to the next technique.
  • Line/circle drills: arrange everybody in a large circle or line on the mat, then have the first person do the technique on each person in the group. When that first person is through with all the people he takes his place in the circle/line and the next person does the technique on everybody.  Continue on down the line.
  • Review of all previous moves: teach only 1 technique per class but make a rule that at the beginning of each class they have to rep all previous techniques 10 times before they get the next technique. This will not only force repetition, but it will force them to become more efficient and faster so they can get through with the old techniques sooner.
  • Continuous motion drills: work drills that allow both partners to be active - drills that automatically change sides/roles. For instance, partner #1 does bridge&roll from mount, placing partner #2 into guard so partner #2 does a sweep from the guard, getting back into the mount and the cycle continues. This way the partners get continuous action and don't have to stop and reposition and restart the drill.
Patrick Parker is a Christian, husband, father, martial arts teacher, Program Director for a Cardiac Rehab, and a Ph.D. Contact: or phone 601.248.7282
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