It is common knowledge that the more time and effort you can put into developing a skill the faster and farther you can go on the path to becoming great! But after a long day at school, it may be hard to find the motivation to practice.
3 steps to encourage practice:
Below are 3 easy steps to teach a proper inner dialogue for when motivation is hard to come by. These steps will also teach you how to use a Ninja Mind Trick and convince them that it was all THEIR idea!
Step 1 – Narrow the Focus
Ask your child about their ONE most important thing they want to achieve in Martial Arts.
Start the conversation by asking your child to think about their goals in Martial Arts. When you ask they may say things like “to have fun”, “to see my friends”, “to get my belt”, or the infamous: “I don’t know”.
The goal here is to specifically ask for the ONE thing they want to GET. Don’t forget the keywords, “ONE” and “GET”. “ONE” will force them to prioritize and figure out what they really value. “GET” will get them focused on a goal or physical item they can get (i.e. Belt).
Step 2 – Feel the Results
Ask them to describe how they will feel when they achieve it!
This next step is important. Our goal here is to get them to emotionally connect with their goal. We know they want it, but can they tie in the feeling of achievement, pride, and satisfaction?
If we can get them to describe what they will feel, we can trigger the release of “feel good” hormones in the brain that will further enforce decisions that will pull them towards their goal and set them up for the next step!
Step 3 – Plot the Next Step
If there was ONE thing you could do today, right now, that could help you get to your goal, what would it be?
This is the closer! We are going back to ask for one thing they can do that will help them get to their goal. This could be big or small, clear or vague, and depending on their age, we may need to guide them or offer suggestions.
Another key point is the fact that we added a time frame to the question “RIGHT NOW”. So, after they decide on which action is most important (hopefully some sort of practice), don’t wait, ride that wave of momentum and get going!
Use these steps and let us know how the conversation went!
Pro Tip: try using this for homework!
Michael is a 6th-degree black sash under his teacher, Moises Arocho, and has been training in martial arts since 1985. Michael has a degree in Massage Therapy from NY College of Health Professions. He is the co-owner of 4GK Martial Arts in Patchogue, NY, and Skillz of Patchogue, a childhood development facility using martial arts and other movement modalities as the vehicle for kids’ growth and success. Michael is also the Lead Consultant for Skillz Worldwide.