Coaches Corner

5 coaching tips for teaching martial arts to children

3 Mar 2022

When teaching children martial arts, there are many factors to consider. Often children are taught in the same way as adults, which isn’t always ideal. Children are very different from adults and require varied methods of coaching.

Tips 1 Children Require More Attention – A more hands on approach is required when teaching children martial arts. A coach should look to join in with more sets and reps of techniques with the children, rather than just showing the odd technique. Children are often more visual learners and will be keen to keep up with their role models, for the child it will often turn into a bit of fun healthy competition between them and the coach.

Tip 2 – Games and Drills – Children have a shorter attention span compared to adults. A coach should look to break the session up into smaller sections, by including numerous drills and martial arts related games. Children love games, so if a coach can take a particular technique and make a game out of it, maybe with some kind of points or scoring system you will often find the children have a lot of fun partaking in this.  

Tip 3 – Don’t Punish Children with Exercise – Disciplining a child with exercise with only assist in their dislike for exercise. If you are going to discipline a child for disrupting the class a better option would be a time out. No doubt the child in question will soon be eager to join in again when they see their classmates having fun.


Tip 4 – Motivation– Martial arts coaches are renowned for constantly picking up on what the child needs to improve on, however children love praise and to hear how well they are doing. As a coach you should offer children motivation as well as constructive criticism. If you try and give a fair amount of both you will soon find you have an engaged learner.

Tip 5 – Impower advanced learners – In a martial art setting use higher graded children to demonstrate techniques in front of the lower grades, this will give the higher grades a sense of achievement and hopefully create a bond between fellow students.

Conclusion, any last thoughts about this topic? Keep the classes fun, engaging and create a bond between child and coach. Children get bored easily, so as a coach you need to constantly adapt your methods to keep the children entertained.

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