Build Your Lesson One Piece at a Time
BY: David Lawrence
The Four Rules of One is a concept that helps instructors and coaches with a cardinal teaching rule --- teach and coach in a logical progression.
Sometimes coaches explain way too much, give way too much information and focus on too many skills before they let students or athletes experiment with the movements or ideas in a drill or on a ski.
Most students can only handle one idea at a time. The Four Rules of One helps you build teaching progressions in a liner, step by step progression that builds small skills and movements into larger more complex skills and movements.
The idea is to Pick One Thing, Explain One Thing, Show One Thing, Ski One Thing and REPEAT!!!
For example, teaching body position, start by picking one thing to focus on, like legs. Instead of explaining the whole body position paradigm including arms, spine, abdominals, head, eyes, poles, and everything else - pick one thing - the legs.
Next, explain one thing, flex your ankles and knees. Explain how we bend our knees and ankles keeping our hips over our ankles. If we only bend our knees, the ankles remain flat and the hips go back. A good skier bends both joints. Remember to explain only one thing and don't get lured into thinking you should explain more!
While you explain the concept, you can also show the concept by bending your ankles and knees. So the third step is show one thing. Again, don't get lured into showing more than just the one thing you picked to discuss. This isn't the time to say, notice my spine, and my head and my arms. Remember to pick one thing, explain one thing and show one thing. Your student doesn't need more than that. You'll show them all the other great stuff after they've had a chance to experiment with this one idea first!
Finally, ski one thing. Let the skiers ski, and give them feedback about that single task. Don't give feedback about other things. Let them focus and ski one thing, even if other technique pieces fall apart for a short time while they focus on a single item.
Now my favorite part, REPEAT!!! That's right, you go through the whole process again but this time you add the next element, the next piece to the puzzle. You might show them how to round their back, relax their shoulders, push their hips forward or where to look when they ski.
The bottom line, build in a progression, from one small piece to the next. You don't build a stone castle from one stone. You construct the castle securing one stone on top of another, so to with teaching technique. You place one movement pattern on top of another until you build an efficient skier. You don't make great skiers all at once.
David Lawrence PSIA Nordic Demo Team