Coach’s Perspective Week 6
As the summer speeds by, I have the pleasure of bringing you another article in the Coach’s Perspective series. As you may know, there was no article last week as I was taking part in the Grandmaster Camp for my benefit as a player. Doing so gave me not only a small rest from my job as a coach, but also an insight into how students feel when working so much each day. This is especially relevant for the many younger children we serve. At six years old, some of them are learning strategies that I did not know until I was around 10. Furthermore, they are able to stay focused for lessons that last for up to an hour. In fact, the youngest students are usually the most cooperative during lessons. Mostly older students, who think that they are too good to listen to their coaches, are usually problematic students. I understand, of course, that the day camp is nowhere near as intense as the Grandmaster Camp. On the other hand, our camp is far more intense than most other summer activities in which small children usually partake. Many children spend their summers either sitting at home doing nothing or going to camps that are meant simply to take them off of their parents’ hands. It is amazing that so many kids come and learn a lot at our camps and I am honored to be able to teach them.
Unfortunately, some of our students are not satisfied with the way camp is run. One student, whose name I will not give for privacy’s sake, had a very hard time listening to the coaches this week. He would constantly make noise during lessons. When he was told to stop, he would simply ignore the coaches. When, inevitably, he was then told to take a time out so that the lesson could continue, he would constantly argue that he was being treated unfairly. In a way, I understand his stubbornness toward authority. After sitting in school for 10 months, coming to chess camp and working on material that is likely more difficult than that taught in school might not seem appealing. Still, he is a strong player and his frequent delinquency is hurting both him and distracting dedicated students around him. Thankfully, and surprisingly, everyone else more or less ignores troublemakers like this and they still learn despite the distractions. Personally, I would probably rip my hair out if I had someone screaming right next to me while I was at camp. I must say again how grateful I feel to work with such dedicated students every day.