Addressing an Obstacle to Skill Development

On December 14, I participated in an event called, “Stress-Free Finals with Your Teen.”
Many of you, including Bill Howe, the Director at WC Howe Institute, have been kind enough to read the article I posted promoting the event. I want to share with you Bill’s response because he made some great points and asked an interesting question.

From Bill Howe:

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As a retired high school teacher, I always wondered why stress had to be a component of learning. I understand that stress is a part of life, but how much and ages. In my Tech program, I preferred demonstrated competency. My Principal wasn’t that keen on the idea. Lol

I tried to explain that memorization was not nearly as important as showing me what they could do. Communication and application trumped knowledge, as I viewed knowledge as a tool for everything else. As my old college teacher said once, “If I can find the darkroom formula in a book, why would I need to memorize it?”

Good topic, though. I was told that stress was an inhibitor to skill development in coaching. I am not sure how this squares with Education?

A game causes stress, much like an exam. I am not sure how much is learned from others, except for demonstrating capabilities. If stress reduces competency, should we consider stress an inhibiting factor or take the outcomes as learning achievement? Should we not deal with that issue separately if a child is impacted heavily by stress? I am assuming that the child has demonstrated competency without the stress? Stress management is not the same as learning. Kids do need help here!

To answer Bill’s questions, I start with a question of my own: if there’s stress during learning and stress during a game, how do teens learn?

Although it’s not a complete answer, part of the answer is preparation. If teens have practiced and learned the skills, there is less stress. When playing a game, they know what is expected in 80-90 minutes of play, when there may only be one goal.

Imagine the stress on the goalkeeper and opposing field players when a potential shot should be taken in the last few seconds of play. That goal could decide the game. Who will rise to the challenge? Will it be an incredible shot for the score, or will it be a block that saves the game for the other team?

Teens experience similar stress during finals week. Will they do well and win the “game”, or will the final become a block that stops them from moving forward?

Just like athletes who put in hours of practice to gain the skills to score goals, your teen needs to gain the skills to win at school. Doing well at anything requires practice and effort.

What can you do to help your teen gain the skills to score in soccer and in the classroom and not become stressed out? My portion of the webinar answering this question will be published in a future FUNdamental newsletter – Please Look for It…!

Your FUNdamental Koach Karl

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