Does this sound familiar?
A child has joined your group because her friend is already in the class. She is super physical, always touching her friend, running away from the group, struggling to listen to instructors and making unsafe choices... You know you have to talk with the parents, but WHAT DO YOU SAY?
These conversations are intimidating for coaches. Luckily, there is a holistic approach... by incorporating character conversations into your class regularly, and even using safe choices as a part of the structure, coaches can find it easy to correct behavior with kids AND breeze through character conversations with parents.
For Ninja Monkeys at Gemini Gymnastics we use a very simple tool. They are called THE RULES, and at the beginning of every class coaches take one to two minutes to quickly review them:
RESPECT YOUR COACH
Follow my instructions. That's how I keep you safe.
RESPECT YOUR FRIENDS Hands to yourself. That's how you keep your friends safe.
RESPECT GEMINI (our gym) Stay with your group. That's how we keep everyone else in the gym safe.
Every character correction moment in class can always be tied back to one of these three rules. In speaking with kids who are making poor choices, I always talk about safety and the rules. This makes it clear and consistent. For example:
COACH: “Molly, what’s rule number two?” MOLLY: “Respect your friends.” COACH: “Correct. Please don’t push your friends in line. Hands to yourself so you can stay safe. Do you understand?” MOLLY: “Yes, Ninja Coach.”