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Wednesday, January 24, 2007

A Better Chance

Top sports people from all walks of life go to experienced coaches for help on how to improve. In this era of video cameras, computer analysis and high tech investigation, everyone has to have access to an `expert’. Coaches help us to build power and strength and an attitude to winning. At a certain stage in a sportsman’s development the coach also concentrates on how to help their protégé to `look good’.


It is no longer good enough to be just the best. The money from the marketing depends on image. The right clothes are important fundamentally important. Time too needs to be spent on hairstyles and grooming.

You can see now where we are going. Our eleven plus child needs more than intellectual ability and a slow heartbeat during the examination. They need to look the part. New clothes, the right shoes and trainers will all help to build self esteem.


Remind you child to `walk tall’. It is important to walk confidently into the examination hall. Draw parallels on how people with `attitude’ stand and strut. Comment on how a world champion approaches the ring on his way to a title fight. Explain to your child how you felt as you walked down the isle when you too were a `winner’. Draw a distinction between how the body posture changes between shopping in the local super market and shopping in Harrods. In the one scenario you push a trolley down isles – gathering essentials. In the other you are carrying bags with distinctive logo – you are buying luxuries – and feeling good.


Discuss when to turn the power on and how to ignite the after burner. Go over the impact that substitutes have on turning the course of games. Bemoan the fact that eleven plus examinations will not allow a fresh and fit substitute in the last ten minutes of the examination. Work on stamina to try to ensure a powerful and confident ending to the examination.


Tempo is such a hard thing to learn. Encourage your child to `Think Smooth’. The examination is not going anywhere. Try to maintain a smooth tempo to your examination preparation. Practise fighting the blood rush to the head rush that can sometimes occur in the panic of the final ten minutes. Remind your child that a smooth tempo will bring results.


When you look at your child in your role of examination coach – rather than as a parent - develop a strategy for ensuring a balanced life. School, work, sport, leisure and family time all have to be balanced. Allow, and even demand, breaks in the routine. You want to keep your child interested and motivated. In sporting terms: `tuned and toned’.


Say to yourself: `I am a winner. I can do it I can help my child to do as well as possible in the eleven plus examinations’. Now work hard to transfer that confidence to your child. Use the right vocabulary. Develop the right attitude. `I am a parent. I can do it!’

So let us summarise. To be a winning coach you need, for yourself, the right image, posture, power, tempo and balance. If you can get it right for yourself then your child will have a much better chance.

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