My sister (and business partner) is the assistant coach of a high school girls cross-country team. Our conversations about the team are always very interesting. It is easy to hear how much admiration Stacey (my sister) has for the head coach (Mary). As I listen to Stacey talk about Mary’s unwavering words of encouragement to the cross-country girls, I am again reminded, how positive reinforcement really works. We all know high girls (and boys) tend to find “excuses” why they can’t participate in practice or how they can’t run very far etc. However, the girls on Mary and Stacey’s cross-country team do perform each day, and usually with a smile.
This is amazingly right in line with our company “Hot Topic” for 2011/2012. POSITIVE CLASSROOM MANAGEMENT.
The coaches (Mary and Stacey) have created a positive environment for the girls and they are thriving. Below is an outline the coaches use for their cross-country team that could easily be adapted to a classroom.
10 tips for running a good practice:
1. Start and end on time.
2. Let the girls know what is expected of them. (Today will be a light run, hard run, speed workout. We will do strengthening work after our run and practice will end at 4:30PM)
3. End each practice on a positive note, with a brief team meeting discussing what is in store tomorrow.
4. Remind them to drink plenty of water, get enough sleep, eat a nutritious meal and most important BE POSITIVE. The best time to start preparing for your next run is after you have just completed one!
5. Try and have one fun thing to do each day such as…
• Have two gals arm wrestle to determine which run to take
• Make it a competition to see who can do the most sit-ups in 2 minutes,
• Tell a funny story or play a guessing game while holding a plank stance for one minute
• Setup a secret buddy system where each girl will get a low-cost motivating gift and inspiration from their secret buddy before the cross-country meets.
• Post results and photos to recognize accomplishment. Announce personal records set, outstanding performances and acknowledge hard work.
6. Play minute to win-it games at beginning of each practice. For example: each girl gets 2 minutes to get a Oreo cookie from their forehead into their mouth without using their hands. Winner gets to lead warm up. See photo of Stacey trying to do this – too fun!
7. Tough guy-award. These gals won the push-up competition so coaches posted this photo in their office window.
8. Acknowledge those that go above and beyond. The “Happy Camp Poster” is a tribute to the girls that signed up and completed this difficult run, outside of their regular practice requirements.
9. Do not discuss the lack of hard work from the previous day, instead explain why today is important to work hard.
10. Make a personal connection with each runner. Ask each runner something personal to let them know you are interested in them as a person.
For example: How is school going? Are you going to homecoming? Are you caught up on your homework? What is your favorite class? Do you have any blisters? Do you like your running shoes?
Fun short video – you’re in for a treat! http://youtu.be/yEH4Yum4nN4