Gary 'Smiler' Turner's Blog

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Tuesday, 22 October 2013

Problem kids!

Kids are the easiest of clients to work with because they are ‘fresh’ and don’t come with the lifetime of habits and baggage that adults do.

Kids are the hardest of clients to work with because they have short attention spans and low boredom thresholds. Sessions need to be engaging, exciting, fast moving and new.

One of my clients is little Joe (aged 8 ¾). A very bright kid who puts good work in and is great company – and I love teaching him! Recently he moved away, yet his Dad still drives a couple of hours so that Joe can have a session with me once every few weeks. I need to make every session count.

In personal training I work on the mind as much as the body. The two are so interconnected that it makes perfect sense. In a way I combine my hypnotherapy with my personal training sessions. Joe has recently moved and with it comes all the changes, anxieties and uncertainty. I wanted to give him a little hand to be able to deal with things. I also needed to get him to learn new strategies of thinking to help him maximise his judo and Brazilian Ju Jitsu (BJJ) training in his new home.

I decided to teach him all about ‘problems’.

I started by having us both on our knees and I grabbed his arm. “Is that a problem?” I asked. “No!” said Joe, who instantly broke my grip by rolling backwards and twisting. “Good work”, I said, “yet did you really need to do that? Was I actually affecting you?”

We set it up again, and I grabbed his arm. “Is that a problem?” I asked. “No!” said Joe, who then just stayed where he was. “What can you do from here?” I asked. Joe thought for a moment. Then he quickly pushed my shoulder, pivoting me around and onto my back. “So, is it a problem?” I asked. “No, it’s my advantage” was the reply.

Joe quickly learnt the difference between a problem and a distraction. He learnt to ignore the distractions and focus on what he needed to do. He learnt when that distraction was to his advantage, and how to use it to get what he wanted.

We continued working. I would set up a move or position, and Joe quickly working out if it was a problem, just a distraction, an advantage, or whether it could become a problem. If it was a problem the answer was always the same. “Deal with it.” If the move or position could become a problem Joe would ‘future pace’ so he had the answer ready to deal with it as appropriate. And if he didn’t know how to deal with it, Joe learnt to find a solution, and continue testing those solutions until it worked.
In a short space of time Joe was learning to do the right thing in the right way at the right time – and in a very short space of time there were no problems, just results. Well, until I just used my size and squashed him that is. Well, he had called me fat!

I know Joe well, and he’ll now be using these strategies to help him become a better fighter at Judo and BJJ.

I also hope he will naturally start using that same series of strategies in life too, in particular to help him be better placed to deal with the house move and everything that comes with it.I certainly guided him towards this.

Have a look at the strategies I was teaching him. I wonder what you could apply these strategies to – sport, work, social life, families? How much less anxiety will you have as a result of using them, and how much better will your performance be?

As always, we end the sessions with Joe showing just how calm and confident he can be. Two big huskies, one pack of mini-cheddars, and Joe in control. Here's a happy Harley Husky receiving a mini-cheddar with thanks...

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