Tips for coaching children

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Nick Burrows
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Tips for coaching children

Post by Nick Burrows » Wed Mar 15, 2017 10:50 am

I've been asked by a friend to teach their 7 year old son who likes chess. I have never taught anyone before, so could use some advise in how to keep a young person engaged with the process.
Any definite Do's and Dont's? Any good books on how to teach chess to children?

John Upham
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Re: Tips for coaching children

Post by John Upham » Wed Mar 15, 2017 11:29 am

One of the most important aspects of teaching children this young is to realise that (unless they are very bright) then they will not let you know that they do not understand.

In other words, you can explain things very carefully indeed but you will need to work hard to establish if they have actually understood it.

Also, your use of language has to work for the child. You will surprised by the words that you might use they have not heard of or used before.

Do not worry about being patronising whatsoever.

Logic and reasoning in children is developed at different ages. Some are good at this by five years old. Some do not develop these skills until say 8 years old.

Above all make it fun and entertaining !

Jonathan Bryant
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Re: Tips for coaching children

Post by Jonathan Bryant » Wed Mar 15, 2017 1:18 pm

Nick Burrows wrote: Any good books on how to teach chess to children?
Steps.
http://www.stappenmethode.nl/en/

Nick Burrows wrote:I have never taught anyone before, so could use some advise in how to keep a young person engaged with the process.
Well, the first bit of advice would be to think about from whom you’re taking advice. The second bit would be that engaging somebody in a chess lesson is more about connecting with them as a person - a young person in this case - than it is about chess.


Jonathan Bryant
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Re: Tips for coaching children

Post by Jonathan Bryant » Wed Mar 15, 2017 6:34 pm

Finding everything you can that Richard James has written on the subject would have been my third bit of advice.

Nick Grey
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Re: Tips for coaching children

Post by Nick Grey » Wed Mar 15, 2017 8:13 pm

On top of these put in Chess for Children & read through it with them. Half the issue is understanding where they are on the spectrum of reading & imagination.

On teaching to notate games I used for the cubs a map reading lesson to illustrate the chess board. The most pleasurable part for me was meeting one of Richard's pupils, & playing him in a few quickplay games & giving some feedback.

Angus French
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Re: Tips for coaching children

Post by Angus French » Wed Mar 15, 2017 8:16 pm

Jonathan Bryant wrote:The second bit would be that engaging somebody in a chess lesson is more about connecting with them as a person - a young person in this case - than it is about chess.
My first thought on this topic - and I have no real experience of teaching let alone teaching children - was that.

Richard James
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Re: Tips for coaching children

Post by Richard James » Wed Mar 15, 2017 8:37 pm

Angus French wrote:
Jonathan Bryant wrote:The second bit would be that engaging somebody in a chess lesson is more about connecting with them as a person - a young person in this case - than it is about chess.
My first thought on this topic - and I have no real experience of teaching let alone teaching children - was that.
Indeed. I realised years ago that I wasn't teaching chess, I was teaching children.

Nick Grey
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Re: Tips for coaching children

Post by Nick Grey » Wed Mar 15, 2017 8:46 pm

I've got lots of time for all that are posting here including Angus who has taught me a lot about chess too.
The most frustrating thing I found on EPSCA thread was lack of resources for primary schools & parents.
Nick, I'm sure you will do well with the advice from here.
It is so much easier to teach chess to a son or daughter, or nephew or niece, because of already having that relationship.

Richard James
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Re: Tips for coaching children

Post by Richard James » Wed Mar 15, 2017 9:15 pm

Nick Grey wrote: The most frustrating thing I found on EPSCA thread was lack of resources for primary schools & parents.
You're quite right, Nick.

Perhaps my biggest problem with EPSCA, UKCC and other junior chess organisations is the lack of resources for parents: the events they run are great and children get a lot of pleasure from taking part in them, but there's no real indication about how they should progress beyond just playing.

Children of primary school age are, by and large, not able to teach themselves chess in any meaningful way, so, unless they're getting proactive and constructive parental support they won't make a lot of progress.

While parents at RJCC are very receptive to advice on how to help their children, most parents of children in school chess clubs are not even interested in free resources: they're either too busy or not sufficiently interested to get involved.

Mike Truran
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Re: Tips for coaching children

Post by Mike Truran » Wed Mar 15, 2017 11:26 pm

Perhaps my biggest problem with EPSCA, UKCC and other junior chess organisations is the lack of resources for parents: the events they run are great and children get a lot of pleasure from taking part in them, but there's no real indication about how they should progress beyond just playing.
In my humble opinion (very humble, as it's by no means my area of expertise) one of the biggest challenges that English chess faces. Richard, as so often, hits the nail on the head. What to do about it is an entirely different matter......

Roger de Coverly
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Re: Tips for coaching children

Post by Roger de Coverly » Wed Mar 15, 2017 11:35 pm

Richard James wrote: Children of primary school age are, by and large, not able to teach themselves chess in any meaningful way, so, unless they're getting proactive and constructive parental support they won't make a lot of progress.
If you remove the word "chess" and substitute "computer games", isn't that a false premise?

But perhaps chess is more difficult. Or is there a reluctance to promote playing chess either on a computer against humans or against a computer?

Jonathan Bryant
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Re: Tips for coaching children

Post by Jonathan Bryant » Thu Mar 16, 2017 12:30 pm

Roger de Coverly wrote:
Richard James wrote: Children of primary school age are, by and large, not able to teach themselves chess in any meaningful way, so, unless they're getting proactive and constructive parental support they won't make a lot of progress.
If you remove the word "chess" and substitute "computer games", isn't that a false premise?

But perhaps chess is more difficult.

"Different" is more to the point. In effect, Richard said something about apples and you pointed out (correctly, no doubt) that it wouldn’t be true of oranges.


With regard to playing/learning online, there are a number of very good online resources for the keen. Richard’s own website, for instance. Or the junior section at chess.com. That’s even before you get to the ad hoc informal stuff on youtube and elsewhere.

That said, if you have any contact with the parents of beginner young chessers for any length of time one of the things you’ll hear often is that the fact that it is not a 'screen game' is one of the perceived attractions of the game. For the adults, at least, if not the children.


[EDIT:]
I would hope it would go without saying that nobody should encourage a child to play chess online agains human opposition without first having considered the safety implications and discussing the idea with the child's parents. Just in case not, I added this footnote.

John Upham
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Re: Tips for coaching children

Post by John Upham » Thu Mar 16, 2017 2:18 pm

Jonathan Bryant wrote:
[EDIT:]
I would hope it would go without saying that nobody should encourage a child to play chess online agains human opposition without first having considered the safety implications and discussing the idea with the child's parents. Just in case not, I added this footnote.
I usually recommend to the parents https://www.chesskid.com/ and the "Play Magnus" app and let them decide if they want their child to try it out.

Modern parents are becoming conscious of "screen time" and "online time" and allow their children to use iPads etc as a treat rather than as a given.

J.

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Joey Stewart
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Re: Tips for coaching children

Post by Joey Stewart » Thu Mar 16, 2017 3:58 pm

I suppose the underlying difficulty many coaches forget is that chess is essentially just a game which many players treat as a bit of fun, pushing the pieces around without wanting to attempt to master its complexities.

There will be a few younger players who have a strong drive to keep going forward and improving their game, and those are the type who make the best pupils, but the vast majority who continue to play after primary school will end up playing online where they can continue to play the game for enjoyment, rather then entering into the highly competitive tournaments and leagues of the uk.
Lose one queen and it is a disaster, Lose 1000 queens and it is just a statistic.

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