coaching cues

For teachers, coaches, and personal trainers mastering the use of teaching strategies, cues are vitally important. So what exactly are cues?

Cues are quick, direct words that will allow students to effectively recall instruction, form, or rules.

When giving directions always begin with stating the number of cues that will be used. Conclude the demonstration by reflecting back to the cues.

For example, if you were to teach a class how to bump a volleyball you should visually demonstrate the action as well as verbally state areas of importance. These areas of importance will make up your cues.

When discussing the cues with the class you can call them anything you want. Be creative. For this example we will call the cues “keys.” The directions will sound something like this.

“There are three keys to effectively bumping a volleyball. The first step is adjusting your position. You do this by moving your feet. You must judge where the ball will be and move yourself accordingly.

The second key is dropping your hips and creating leg drive. The power of the strike should not come from the upper body. It should come from dropping your hips and generating force up the kinetic chain though leg drive and hip extension.

The last key is the follow through. Make sure you follow through in the direction you want the ball to go upon contact.”

That is a lot to digest, but concluding with your cues will help students quickly recall this information and allow you to efficiently and effectively communicate with them during activity. So, conclude your directions and demonstration with this question…

“So what are the three keys to bumping a volleyball?”

Guide the students toward the cues you want to use. If a student gives you an answer that is correct, but is not the exact cue you want to use (ex: “run to the ball” but you want to use “adjust”)be sure to express that the student is correct but make sure to emphasize the cue you feel will be most effective.

You can do this by by saying, “run to the ball is correct but lets call it adjusting. So the first key is to adjust.”

Follow that statement up with the question, “What is the second key?” Again, guide the students toward the cue you want to use. A great cue for the second key would be “leg drive” or just “hips”.

Continue doing the same thing for the third cue. A suggested cue for this step would simply be “follow through.”

Once all the cues are set, repeat them.

“So the three keys will be adjust, hips, and follow through.”

Once the cues are set ask the class, “Who can repeat the keys for me?”

Call on multiple students to repeat the cues. This will help it sink in, give the cues more meaning, and make them more effective.

With these cues intact it will be easy to address form issues while the students are engaged in activity.

For most students you can now address form issues simply by stating the students name and attaching a cue. For example, if you see a student named Billy is struggling to crate leg drive you simply need to say, “Billy hips.”

Billy now knows that he did not drop his hips, get leg drive, and did not extend his hips properly. The instructor just communicated all of that using 2 simple words.

As you see, it makes communication and instruction much easier and time efficient.

Granted some students will still need additional assistance, but using cues along with other teaching strategies can cut down on the time needed to address form issues for a majority of the class. This will allow increased time to focus on the students who need individualized instruction. Good Luck and let me know how it goes by commenting below!

Image courtesy of digitalart / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

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