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Mischa
17-10-2004, 09:57 PM
My child and I have always enjoyed our time at the Box Hill Chess club.The children are generally well behaved, as are the parents. The organisers are welcoming and friendly and wonderful.
I am therefore sad to say that I no longer feel comfortable there all the time. Today, a coach and a parent of one of his students had a laugh at my expense for no obvious reason.
SO to the young coach who made a childish gesture behind my back that was not only witnessed by other parents but by my 6 year old...my little one wants to know "Why does that man hate you mummy?" Tell me, how am I to answer her Jeffrei?

Feldgrau
18-10-2004, 10:02 AM
A bit of a long bow to associate the immaturity of an individual with coaches in general no?

The business model that seems to be working in QLD at the moment is to have McCoaches, having kids just out of school, or still in it you can pay them much less than older more experienced coaches. The quality of the coaching is not the consideration.

Recherché
18-10-2004, 10:37 AM
Have you raised this personally with the people involved yet? It seems rather bad form to be slinging mud on a public forum before establishing the full details of what occurred. This may have been a misunderstanding; if it was, then your post will soon become the example of inappropriate behaviour.

I suppose now we wait and see what the others have to say. Given you have a history of minor antagonism (http://chesschat.org/showthread.php?p=29060&highlight=sick+kids+coach#post29060) towards the person mentioned, I think we'd be wise to wait until we've heard from both parties before passing judgement.

Recherché
18-10-2004, 10:48 AM
A bit of a long bow to associate the immaturity of an individual with coaches in general no?

The business model that seems to be working in QLD at the moment is to have McCoaches, having kids just out of school, or still in it you can pay them much less than older more experienced coaches. The quality of the coaching is not the consideration.

Speaking of long bows, I think you're drawing a rather long one yourself by equating the age of a coach with coaching quality. The ability to teach well (which is vital to a chess coach, more so than many other sorts of coaches) is something which individuals tend to possess, or not; age is not in my experience a huge factor. Good teachers get better over time and become great, poor teachers remain sub-par.

Another issue you don't seem to take into account, which may be especially relevant to teenagers, is how well the kids can relate to and get on with the coach. Someone closer to their age could well be an advantage in that area. And more of a role-model too.

Another mistake is the equating of rating and/or playing strength with coaching ability. (I'm not suggesting this is one of yours, but I thought it was worth mentioning)

Mischa
18-10-2004, 11:20 AM
A bit of a long bow to associate the immaturity of an individual with coaches in general no?

The business model that seems to be working in QLD at the moment is to have McCoaches, having kids just out of school, or still in it you can pay them much less than older more experienced coaches. The quality of the coaching is not the consideration.

I wasn't referring to coaches in gerneral. I was just rather childishly reacting to a childish incident.

Mischa
18-10-2004, 11:25 AM
Have you raised this personally with the people involved yet? It seems rather bad form to be slinging mud on a public forum before establishing the full details of what occurred. This may have been a misunderstanding; if it was, then your post will soon become the example of inappropriate behaviour.

I suppose now we wait and see what the others have to say. Given you have a history of minor antagonism (http://chesschat.org/showthread.php?p=29060&highlight=sick+kids+coach#post29060) towards the person mentioned, I think we'd be wise to wait until we've heard from both parties before passing judgement.

I would hardly call what you refer to as a "history of minor antagonism". It was just meant to be sarcastic. I have never had anything personal against the person in question and I don't understand what I've done to upset him. It is not the gesture that is the real problem, but the sentiment behind it the upset me. And the responsse of the other parent who I had counted as one of my good friends.
My kid plays chess, I am just his parent.

Recherché
18-10-2004, 11:29 AM
I have never had anything personal against the person in question and I don't understand what I've done to upset him.

Why not just ask him? :)

Feldgrau
18-10-2004, 11:42 AM
Speaking of long bows, I think you're drawing a rather long one yourself by equating the age of a coach with coaching quality. The ability to teach well (which is vital to a chess coach, more so than many other sorts of coaches) is something which individuals tend to possess, or not; age is not in my experience a huge factor. Good teachers get better over time and become great, poor teachers remain sub-par.

Another issue you don't seem to take into account, which may be especially relevant to teenagers, is how well the kids can relate to and get on with the coach. Someone closer to their age could well be an advantage in that area. And more of a role-model too.

Another mistake is the equating of rating and/or playing strength with coaching ability. (I'm not suggesting this is one of yours, but I thought it was worth mentioning)
Agreed with the rating skill - coaching skill point within reason, no point the kids being better players than the coach which I see happen.

I see a definite age-experience correlation in my experience with chess and inside the school system (15 years teaching experience) with the more experienced coaches being the better teachers, suprise suprise. Exceptions are there of course, and there is a pressure on people who are really good at teaching to jump to a career that pays better. Good teaching skills can be taught of course, thats why teachers do a degree.

If relating to a teacher was more important that learning then we would all be taught by peers perhaps?

My point which is not a long bow to draw at all is that having a coach jump straight from the student to the teacher is not an ideal system.

Mischa
18-10-2004, 11:42 AM
Why not just ask him? :)

Good point,
I didn't do so at the tournament as it was full of kids. Many of his students and ther parents were there and I didn't think it was an appropriate venue. Also the parent who shared the "joke" with him and was the one who confirmed his actions is one of his"parents". It is this parent who asked me not to mention it to him. I admit my starting this thread was a bit of a knee-jerk reaction, but during a kid's tournament, I think the behaviour of all should be beyond reproach...us adults at least.

bishop e3
18-10-2004, 11:46 AM
Not sure if this is an appropriate place either "noidea" but I do agree that sometimes these junior coaches feel that these tournaments are about them. Notice I said sometimes, and perhaps I should have added Some coaches. I think the first priority of a good junior coach would to be to act as a good role model...

Recherché
18-10-2004, 11:47 AM
Good point,
I didn't do so at the tournament as it was full of kids.

Well, there's plently of opportunity to do so afterwards. Email, phone, Private Message on this message board, etc. Though I suppose this thread will eventually serve the purpose, now that it's here. My point (as I'm sure you're aware by now) was that personal contact should come before threads like this.

Mischa
18-10-2004, 11:51 AM
In this instance, I do not have his email or phone number and didn't even think of a pm on this board.
silly me, perhaps I should do that now.
Makes me seem just as childish heh?

arosar
18-10-2004, 11:55 AM
I wasn't referring to coaches in gerneral. I was just rather childishly reacting to a childish incident.

See, this is the thing with youse sheilas: you get all emotional and that. Can't bloody control yourselves. What was the childish incident behind your back anyways?

The problem with this here approach you're taking is that jeffrei doesn't exactly frequent this site now and so he can't defend himself see. While you're just stting pretty making him look like an ogre. Now, I dunno jeffrei but I hear he's the coach of a coupla me compatriots - the Lugos. So as far as I'm concerned he's the Man!! If you turn out to be in the wrong - I'm gonna come after you on this BB, OK? No mercy.

AR

Mischa
18-10-2004, 12:06 PM
See, this is the thing with youse sheilas: you get all emotional and that. Can't bloody control yourselves. What was the childish incident behind your back anyways?

The problem with this here approach you're taking is that jeffrei doesn't exactly frequent this site now and so he can't defend himself see. While you're just stting pretty making him look like an ogre. Now, I dunno jeffrei but I hear he's the coach of a coupla me compatriots - the Lugos. So as far as I'm concerned he's the Man!! If you turn out to be in the wrong - I'm gonna come after you on this BB, OK? No mercy.

AR
Hey,
The junior Lugo and his mum are friends of my kid and me. I don't mean to make him look like an ogre it was that it just upset my kids and I didn't think it was approppriate. I think now that you are all right and I shouldn't have mentioned it here but it is still a good idea to discuss the behaviour of coaches and parents in general anyway

Bill Gletsos
18-10-2004, 12:11 PM
See, this is the thing with youse sheilas: you get all emotional and that. Can't bloody control yourselves. What was the childish incident behind your back anyways?
AR mate, always looking for good gossip arent you. :rolleyes:


The problem with this here approach you're taking is that jeffrei doesn't exactly frequent this site now and so he can't defend himself see.
Are you sure about this.
I was under the impression that he regualary reads just infrequently posts.


While you're just stting pretty making him look like an ogre. Now, I dunno jeffrei but I hear he's the coach of a coupla me compatriots - the Lugos. So as far as I'm concerned he's the Man!! If you turn out to be in the wrong - I'm gonna come after you on this BB, OK? No mercy.
Play nice AR. ;)

skip to my lou
18-10-2004, 12:14 PM
I was under the impression that he regualary reads just infrequently posts.

That is correct.

Recherché
18-10-2004, 12:16 PM
Agreed with the rating skill - coaching skill point within reason, no point the kids being better players than the coach which I see happen.

With very good players, eventually they'll surpass pretty much any coach. But once a player gets to that level, often the role of a coach is no longer that of a teacher. There's really no need (in my opinion) for coaches to ever be above IM level. (which is not to say GM coaches aren't any good, some of them are no doubt excellect)


I see a definite age-experience correlation in my experience with chess and inside the school system (15 years teaching experience) with the more experienced coaches being the better teachers, suprise suprise.

Well my experience inside the school system has been that older teachers can be some of the worst (inflexible; arrogant; authoritarian). I've had experience with several brilliant teachers over the years, and their ages vary considerably, from quite young to near-retirement. Teaching is about so much more than simply the length of time you've been doing it.

Also I find fault with the assumption that teaching experience is something you only aquire after finishing school. Students teaching each other (successfully or otherwise) is something that happens right throughout the school years.

Perhaps these "McCoaches" would seem more palatable to you if you though of them as tutors instead? It's really what they are, if you think about it. And I would say that tutors are in fact much more appropriate than coaches for a young, beginner chess player. Spending money on serious individual professional coaching before a player reaches 1300-1500 level just seems silly to me. And the tutors (who I assume are ACF~2000-2200 level players) are more than capabable of teaching them well past that.


Good teaching skills can be taught of course, thats why teachers do a degree.

They can be taught to an extent. But much still relies on the individual. And I was referring to chess coaches - who will not generally be trained teachers, and hence rely to a greater degree on natural aptitude.


If relating to a teacher was more important that learning then we would all be taught by peers perhaps?

I didn't say it was more important than learning; it is a factor in learning. And a larger factor in something like chess, which is a voluntary pursuit where it's important that the player actually enjoys themselves.

Unfortunately, for some juniors chess is probably not at all voluntary, but that's a separate issue.

arosar
18-10-2004, 12:16 PM
Hey,
The junior Lugo and his mum are friends of my kid and me. I don't mean to make him look like an ogre it was that it just upset my kids and I didn't think it was approppriate. I think now that you are all right and I shouldn't have mentioned it here but it is still a good idea to discuss the behaviour of coaches and parents in general anyway

Alright then...everytime I read your posts, in any thread, I can sorta see you're a very nice person. I also kinda sensed your anger and frustration in the root post of this thread. You musta felt like doing the Michael Douglas, ya know, in Falling Down. But it's not fair to be saying this and that and they're not here see. You see what I mean?

But you're alright . . .don't worry . . . I was only teasing you.

AR

Mischa
18-10-2004, 12:30 PM
Glad to hear it arosar,
I was worried I was going to get "all emotional" and not be able to control myself. Which was not far from what happened anyway, was it?

Recherché
18-10-2004, 12:32 PM
In this instance, I do not have his email or phone number and didn't even think of a pm on this board.

His contact details are easily aquired (http://www.chessvictoria.com/Cl_0(4).htm), though I suppose "easily" is relative; you do have to know where to look.

Mischa
18-10-2004, 12:34 PM
To the issue of students being higher rated or being able to defeat their coaches, I don't necessarily think that is a bad thing. Recently at my kid's school they had a coach who was not as good a chess player as some of the kids, but was such a good teacher that he was able to teach them many things. They found his lessons interesting and stimulating and improved their chess and thier game attitudes.

Libby
18-10-2004, 02:15 PM
The business model that seems to be working in QLD at the moment is to have McCoaches, having kids just out of school, or still in it you can pay them much less than older more experienced coaches. The quality of the coaching is not the consideration.

In the ACT, we have a whole population of McCoaches but I'd have to say the quality of the coaching IS the consideration.

We have a small population base and have developed a thriving junior player population. We are also a small volunteer organisation, rather than a "chess business" so we run our activities at low cost and with a view to broad development of players. As a consequence, we can only pay "Happy Meal" rates :D That attracts a number of very dedicated and motivated adult coaches but not enough of them to meet our needs across junior clubs, school holiday activities, school coaching, private coaching and development programs.

A couple of years ago we started our School Holiday Development Days with a view to developing young players, and to developing our "older" youngsters as coaches. We run these days on a break-even basis so the kids pay relatively little to participate, partly recognising the inexperience of our coaches. After only running one in the first year, we now run them every school holidays with almost as much demand from potential coaches as we get from potential participants. Our coaches have been as young as 12 (although mostly over 14) with participants aged between 5 and 14. Coaches may have only 2-3 children to look after, or up to 6 children. These judgements are made based on the age, experience and maturity of all concerned.

I won't vouch for every McCoach, but I see kids (coaches) preparing their own material, including workbooks, worksheets, puzzles and structured lessons. They take a lot of pride in what they produce and they OWN the outcome - good and bad feedback. Rather than relying on one or two very capable and very dedicated adults, we now have older players (15-20yrs) coaching our junior clubs, coaching our development squads, coaching private pupils and three "graduate" McCoaches form 3/5 of our coaching team for the Aus Junior.

If they only see it as an easy money exercise, they don't last in what is becoming a skilled and competitive system of junior coaches in Canberra. We expect them to be mature, interested, well-prepared and motivated. I come back to my own experience coaching junior sports. I started at 14 and probably wasn't all that good but I loved doing it and got a lot better at it. I also gained valuable experience in managing a group of young players, I developed a good rapport with children I worked with, I moved seamlessly into a broader and administrative role with my sport (I wasn't JUST a player anymore) and, as I got older, I achieved my formal accreditation and coached school, district and state teams.

I absolutely don't believe adults are necessarily better coaches than younger players, or that the best players make the best coaches. There are a lot of skills that go into developing a good coach and I think starting at a young age, working within the limitations of your age, skill and maturity, can lead to great things later on.

One such young coach in Canberra was recently the recipient of a "Good Kid" award from Hungry Jack's and The Good Guys stores for his voluntary contribution to chess in the ACT community - we think rather a lot of our McCoaches. :) :)

Libby

jeffrei
18-10-2004, 02:16 PM
noidea,

Firstly, it wasn’t about you - it was about someone else. And I wasn’t having a ‘laugh at their expense’ either (for I get along very well with them, and have for years), but merely acknowledging what I considered to be a particularly ironic coincidence. I am not going to spell this out here because of the danger that someone (no, not me) might get sued, but if you want to ask in person I will tell you.

Basically I don't think this thread should have been created in the first place, but now it's here I'd like it to stay.

PS: Am I a McCoach? My rating isn't that low - it's 2280 or something isn't it? OK it is true that after going from 900 to 1900 in 2-and-a-bit years Chris Wallis will pass me soon, but so what?

Spiny Norman
18-10-2004, 09:46 PM
There's lots involved in coaching, real coaching, that probably has nothing to do with ratings. We see this in other sports, where there are specialist coaches for particular subsets of overall skill (e.g. in AFL there are ruck coaches, defensive coaches, forwards coaches, midfield coaches, head coaches, assistant coaches, goal-kicking coaches, skills coaches, etc).

I've also noticed that at World Championship level even the greats usually have (had?) seconds. e.g. Fisher had Byrne, and Spassky had Nei.

I've always believed that you only needed to know about 15% more than the next guy in one particular subject area in order to be considered "an expert". At work, where I am IT Manager, I have no problem at all learning from some of my junior colleagues when they have a particular expertise in some area. Of course, in the overall scheme of things they can't compete with my broad general knowledge and business skills ... but I can still learn very valuable things from them.

Why wouldn't chess be the same?

bishop e3
18-10-2004, 10:22 PM
Jeffrei,

I don't know who you are nor do I really care, but your response to noidea makes no sense. I think that it was mentioned that there were 3 people involved, you, a parent of one of your students, and noidea. So what were you doing, and to whom? How can an act, whatever it was, that you did, and which you now admit to, get someone else sued?
did anyone suggest you were a Mc. Coach? I don't remember reading that anywhere.

bishop e3
18-10-2004, 10:24 PM
P.S.

Why would you like this thread to stay?

Libby
18-10-2004, 10:47 PM
noidea,

PS: Am I a McCoach? My rating isn't that low - it's 2280 or something isn't it? OK it is true that after going from 900 to 1900 in 2-and-a-bit years Chris Wallis will pass me soon, but so what?

No, my reference to "McCoaches" came from this earlier post (not in respect of you)


The business model that seems to be working in QLD at the moment is to have McCoaches, having kids just out of school, or still in it you can pay them much less than older more experienced coaches. The quality of the coaching is not the consideration.

I took it as an assessment of the credibility of (slightly) more junior and less experienced coaches. I'd have to think someone of your (slightly) greater years, must qualify, at the very least, as a Big MacCoach :D

Garvinator
18-10-2004, 10:49 PM
I'd have to think someone of your (slightly) greater years, must qualify, at the very least, as a Big MacCoach :D
or a super size coach ;)

Kevin Bonham
19-10-2004, 12:27 AM
I don't know who you are nor do I really care, but your response to noidea makes no sense. I think that it was mentioned that there were 3 people involved, you, a parent of one of your students, and noidea. So what were you doing, and to whom? How can an act, whatever it was, that you did, and which you now admit to, get someone else sued?

I don't think you've understood what he said in the slightest, so it's probably no wonder his post makes no sense to you. He was obviously accepting noidea's account that he laughed about someone, so you don't need to ask "what were you doing?". Also, he's obviously saying that it's not his joke (or whatever it was) that could get anyone sued, but that some of the details you'd need to know to understand it are sensitive. Did you actually take up his invitation and ask him about it offline via private message instead of posting the above? If not, why not?

I also find it kinda suss that you should register as a new member and get stuck into jeffrei right away in such unsympathetic language ("I don't know who you are nor do I really care ..." - is this the language you'd normally use towards a total stranger?) while maintaining a token level of disagreement with noidea.

noidea - it was good of you to admit that this should never have been posted at all, but unless you have a credible adult witness to your disputed version of events then you should also retract it and apologise. There is just no point in slinging mud that can't be substantiated. People misunderstand things sometimes. Children do it. Adults do it too. That's why it's always best to try to sort this stuff out offline first so that if you need to say something publicly at least the other person's had a chance to explain themselves.


Why would you like this thread to stay?

Possibly so that everybody can see what a beat-up it is. :P

skip to my lou
19-10-2004, 12:33 AM
uh oh, "noidea" and "bishop e3" are going to be in big trouble.

NOTORIOUS
19-10-2004, 12:41 AM
noidea/bishope3, here's some homework for you. find out what an IP address is, and how it might possibly be relevant to the current discussion.

homework for everyone else. Go to http://www.chesschat.org/showthread.php?p=32012#post32012 and tell me how many minutes were in between bishope3's post and noidea's post, and whether they agreed with one another or not.

skip to my lou
19-10-2004, 12:49 AM
It's quite obvious that noidea is bishop e3 even without access to IP address information. Thread locked while moderators investigate.

Mischa
19-10-2004, 07:34 PM
I have sent a pm to Jeff in an effort to work this out...as I should have done all along. It seems may have been mislead by some one else. If that is the case then I appologise profusely to all concerned. Jeff in particluar.

ursogr8
20-10-2004, 01:06 PM
If they only see it as an easy money exercise, they don't last in what is becoming a skilled and competitive system of junior coaches in Canberra. We expect them to be mature, interested, well-prepared and motivated.

Libby

hi Libby
Thanks for sharing that long post with us (I truncated the quote down to the part that caught my eye). ...competitive system



What is your expectation of coaches as students move from one coach to another?
Do you expect coach A not to 'poach' student S from coach B while S is still taking private lessons from B?
Do you expect a cooling off period when S abandons coaching from B and turns to A? How long...4 weeks?
Do you expect parents not to say to another parent "my S2 is happy with A, I suggest you get S to switch from B to A"?

Is there a code of ethics you publish on poaching?

regards
starter

arosar
20-10-2004, 01:13 PM
The free market must rule.

AR

jenni
20-10-2004, 01:52 PM
What is your expectation of coaches as students move from one coach to another?
Do you expect coach A not to 'poach' student S from coach B while S is still taking private lessons from B?
Do you expect a cooling off period when S abandons coaching from B and turns to A? How long...4 weeks?
Do you expect parents not to say to another parent "my S2 is happy with A, I suggest you get S to switch from B to A"?

Is there a code of ethics you publish on poaching?

regards
starter

I think because of the lack of coaches in Canberra vs no of kids wanting coaching, it is more a case of kids poaching coaches, rather than coaches poaching kids.

Peter Simpson is perceived as our strongest coach and he has a waiting list of kids hoping to get time with him.

Most of our other coaches are strong juniors who take on a few kids, either because they have developed an affinity with a particular child, or because Libby or myself ask them to, because we have a parent desperate for coaching.

As a child gets too strong for their particular coach, normally it is the coach suggesting moving on to a stronger coach.

We used to have two chess businesses - Geoff Butler and Jeff Suptut, but they worked amicably together, so we haven't had the chess business wars here that might have led to developing some code of ethics.

In one case I am aware of , Shannon took on a little boy as a student. The parents were desperate to get Peter Simpson as he was perceived as the stronger coach (Shannon was more than strong enough for the child, who was rated about 300 at the time). A place became available and Peter checked with Shannon first, as he wouldn't have taken the child if Shannon was unhappy with the change. However Shannon had no problems with the change, so everyone was happy.

You can't stop parents chatting about coaches - (I've heard it happening with violin teachers).

The juniors who coach are all pretty good friends, so once again I don't believe there would be any bad feeling about swaps. Particularly as there is always another child waiting to take up a spare spot.

ursogr8
20-10-2004, 02:15 PM
You can't stop parents chatting about coaches - (I've heard it happening with violin teachers).

The juniors who coach are all pretty good friends, so once again I don't believe there would be any bad feeling about swaps. Particularly as there is always another child waiting to take up a spare spot.

thanks jenni

All your post was really sensible stuff. (And useful too...not like that unregulated Amiel's hands-off approach).
Sounds like yours is a little easier to manage as the 'players poach coaches' doesn't have the pecuniary interest of the 'coaches poach players' scenario.

Your comment about parents chatting is valuable. Just goes off the rails a bit if marketing puff is added by the parent. (Just pretend I did not write that).

starter

arosar
20-10-2004, 02:25 PM
Sounds like yours is a little easier to manage as the 'players poach coaches' doesn't have the pecuniary interest of the 'coaches poach players' scenario.

Well duh! She's talking about babysitters not coaches.


Just goes off the rails a bit if marketing puff is added by the parent.

There you go again. You haven't even woken up to smell the roses yet.

AR

ursogr8
20-10-2004, 02:59 PM
Well duh! She's talking about babysitters not coaches.

I reckon Amiel that 95% of the money spent on coaching is the coaching of juniors. So, if you want to call that baby-sitting then go ahead.
The rest of us are going to watch jenni's reaction to your labelling. I would duck if I was you.




There you go again.

This attempt at diversion probably just goes over the head of all those who cannot recall Ronald Reagan's feeble attempt to use the phrase to avoid an awkward issue.


You haven't even woken up to smell the roses yet.
AR

If my post had been a gratuitious reference to the unmentionable then you may have had a point my idle friend. But in fact I have been spurred to post the questions on ethics as a consequence of being next to the roses.
One plus from mixing amongst volunteers is that the issues of the day (on the BB) have some relevance.

starter
Btw, are you posting from a cafe or something?



starter

arosar
20-10-2004, 03:22 PM
Btw, are you posting from a cafe or something?

Why you ask such a question?

AR

ursogr8
20-10-2004, 03:35 PM
Why you ask such a question?

AR

Amiel
Just guessing.
Your posts sounded desultory, as though you had a red or two for lunch and now onto the second latte. :uhoh:

Your posts lack the usual incisive edge.

starter

arosar
20-10-2004, 03:47 PM
. . . now onto the second latte. :uhoh:

Lattes are for the uncultured.

AR

jenni
20-10-2004, 03:48 PM
I reckon Amiel that 95% of the money spent on coaching is the coaching of juniors. So, if you want to call that baby-sitting then go ahead.
The rest of us are going to watch jenni's reaction to your labelling. I would duck if I was you.



I am trying to be all sweetness and light at the moment, having been chastised last week by gg for the beligerence of my e-mails to the Mt Buller organising committee.

One example of the coaching that has been happening is Peter Jovanovic taking on Junta Ikeda as a pupil, or Shannon coaching Lara Ong. Junta has now become too good for Peter to coach, but his improvement under Peter was tremendous. Shannon took Lara from an unknown to coming second in the girls under 10 in Perth last year. Shervin Rafizadeh is really valued by the teenage boys for his coaching. Chris Tran and Marija Jovanovic are doing excellent work with the Curtin girls teams - their top team will be a serious contender for the girls Primary in Mt Buller. Gareth and Shannon coached the St Monica's girls team that won the girls primary in Perth.

They may be young and they may not be grandmasters, but they could munch up Amiel across the board and they are certainly good enough to coach effectively.

arosar
20-10-2004, 03:58 PM
I am trying to be all sweetness and light at the moment, having been chastised last week by gg for the beligerence of my e-mails to the Mt Buller organising committee.

What did you say? You being naughty again as usual?


They may be young and they may not be grandmasters, but they could munch up Amiel across the board . . .

No doubt . . .

Now tell us, what sorta coaching are we talking about here exactly? Oh did you know that our own antichrist is also a coach? He's very effective I hear.

AR

jenni
20-10-2004, 04:42 PM
Now tell us, what sorta coaching are we talking about here exactly? Oh did you know that our own antichrist is also a coach? He's very effective I hear.

AR

We are talking about private lessons rather than group coaching. The group coaching at the junior clubs does sometimes feel like childcare.

Most of the kids looking for a coach have already gone to one of the junior clubs and are already recording moves. The coach normally goes through games, looks at where the child is in terms of game play and starts teaching things that will improve them. e.g if they are consistently going up material in the middle, but then losing the end game horribly, end game is a good place to start. Over time they will settle on some openings that suit the child and then teach them that. A lot of it is advice on how to handle situations - many kids take draws very easily, so a good coach will give them confidence to play on and try to teach them when it is good to take a draw.

Or if they are playing too fast (a chronic problem with kids), give them strategies for slowing down (getting older is the most effective one I have come across).

So lessons are always tailored to the child and normally involves preparation by the coach before the lesson. It certainly is not baby sitting and most of the coaches will not take a child who is not ready for coaching. If a child doesn't concentrate or misbehaves most of the juniors will refuse to coach them, as money is not the primary motive.

Garvinator
20-10-2004, 04:47 PM
give them strategies for slowing down (getting older is the most effective one I have come across).
how do you teach this one :uhoh: a coach would be earning his/ her money on this one :P

ursogr8
20-10-2004, 04:49 PM
We are talking about private lessons rather than group coaching.


I hope it was obvious to Amiel that the original question about coaching ethics was in relation to private coaching. :eek:

We all know that for group coaching there is no such thing as poaching of students. In fact you get knocked down in the rush. Our Tuesday session alone has 3 full-time coaches for 50 kids. If there were more group coaches there would be more group sessions.

The poaching question only related to private coaching.

starter

arosar
20-10-2004, 04:52 PM
So lessons are always tailored to the child and normally involves preparation by the coach before the lesson. It certainly is not baby sitting and most of the coaches will not take a child who is not ready for coaching. If a child doesn't concentrate or misbehaves most of the juniors will refuse to coach them, as money is not the primary motive.

Ahh well . . . I am very happy to hear it. What about this 'preparation' business? You think it's a good idea for kids to prepare for opponents? I think not meself. I reckon chess at the early stage should just be about fun and none of this stupid business of preparing for opponents, combing through a few dozen games from a database and looking for novelties. Coaches ought to just encourage their minions to turn up and simply play chess. Whaddya reckon?

Also, do your coaches teach OTB manners? Some of these kids mate, geez, they behave so bad. We had a bit of a minor incident during the NSW State but lucky the adults in question were very calm and educated.

AR

arosar
20-10-2004, 04:54 PM
The poaching question only related to private coaching.


Same difference. Market rules.

AR

jenni
20-10-2004, 05:46 PM
Ahh well . . . I am very happy to hear it. What about this 'preparation' business? You think it's a good idea for kids to prepare for opponents? I think not meself. I reckon chess at the early stage should just be about fun and none of this stupid business of preparing for opponents, combing through a few dozen games from a database and looking for novelties. Coaches ought to just encourage their minions to turn up and simply play chess. Whaddya reckon?

It would be nice for preparation to disappear, but it won't. It has just got more and more prevalent over the years.

At the Aus Juniors you often see kids lose to someone because of superior preparation by strong coaches.

I don't think it is necessary at local tournaments for the younger kids - the analysis afterwards is much more valuable. The older kids do a lot of prep for themselves, and that is good as they are just really teaching themselves new lines - just a bit of motivation to do it.

I agree that there should be more emphasis on enjoying the game in the early stages (and even the later ones :) ). I think it has become so pressured at the junior level that kids are giving up because it is too stressful.



Also, do your coaches teach OTB manners? Some of these kids mate, geez, they behave so bad. We had a bit of a minor incident during the NSW State but lucky the adults in question were very calm and educated.

AR

We generally put a lot of emphasis on manners in the ACT - not just by the coaches, but by the ACTJCL as a whole. If I am running a comp and I see bad behaviour by one of the kids I will always take him/her aside and have a quiet word. (or maybe not so quiet, if it has been a tiring weekend).

If we see something at an adult weekender, we will talk to the child about it or if they have a coach mention it to them to incorporate in a lesson (Shannon has done this a few times). A few years ago Nick Kordahi got a bit upset about the behaviour of our ACT kids. He had mucked up his opening and was losing to a low rated ACT kid, who was pretty excited and sharing this info with his mates. Since then I always use the ACT Juniors as a vehicle to talk to the kids about not discussing their game with anyone and even trying to avoid talking to a mate during a game.

I think the coaches are quite good role models and the little kids tend to follow behaviour that they see. Obviously we have our share of hyperactive kids here and some of them can get out of control, but we do try and teach ethics and behaviour and so do the coaches.

jenni
20-10-2004, 05:53 PM
how do you teach this one :uhoh: a coach would be earning his/ her money on this one :P

A popular strategy is to make the kids write down their times - every 5 or 10 moves is the favoured one, although some coaches get so desperate they ask for times every move.

Another one is telling them to think of 3 moves each time and then think about which one they prefer.

Gareth used to play like lightning and I can rememebr him being told to keep an eye on his clock and play slower. I remember watching him. He used to write his move down then watch the clock until he felt enough time had passed and then play the move. :wall: He was about 7 at that time. 9 years later he seems to be in constant time trouble, which is why I think growing older is the best solution.

arosar
20-10-2004, 06:08 PM
A popular strategy is to make the kids write down their times - every 5 or 10 moves is the favoured one, although some coaches get so desperate they ask for times every move.

Recording times is definitely a good idea particularly in this age of the DGT. In the current NSW State Ch, the DGT at the board next to mine suddenly switched off on its own. The battery went dead. The players couldn't agree on the times because neither was recording. One guy said he was up by 10 and the other guy said the same thing.

My own method is to record times only when there's a long time between moves - so it could be every move.

But really, for juniors, they should just enjoy the chess. Time management will come later.

AR

Libby
20-10-2004, 06:49 PM
hi Libby
Thanks for sharing that long post with us (I truncated the quote down to the part that caught my eye). ...competitive system

Is there a code of ethics you publish on poaching?

regards
starter

To avoid another of my long posts (slaughtering another cyber-forest as Jenni likes to put it) I think Jenni has covered most of how things operate in Canberra.

In that context, I was implying the system for our school holiday coaching positions has become competitive. We have more and more kids wanting to do this as it obviously provides a nice little bit of spending money for the holidays. However, to get a repeat invitation, or to make it higher on the list (in that 'competitive" sense) I need to see a "coach" who -

- has prepared
- doesn't want to spend too much time chatting with mates etc when the kids are playing games (ie takes an interest in the players in their charge)
- arrives on time
- doesn't whine about how "weak" the kids are
- deals with behaviour issues sensibly and/or asks for help when required
- doesn't behave like one of the participants, rather than one of the coaches
- improves with each experience

And about 8.5/10 will meet all of that comfortably. A few earn an A++ and they move to the top of the list very quickly - and it has very little to do with their playing strength.

Libby :)

Libby
20-10-2004, 07:09 PM
Also, do your coaches teach OTB manners? Some of these kids mate, geez, they behave so bad. We had a bit of a minor incident during the NSW State but lucky the adults in question were very calm and educated.

AR

How about all junior coaches/administrators sign a pact to guarantee the good behaviour of juniors when such is demonstrated equally by adults?

Such as the first adult who lost to my daughter, did not shake her hand or acknowledge her, and has not returned to that club since?

Or those who have protested at "wasting their time" by having to play against her? In front of her, or within earshot?

Or those who slip up on the touch-move rule, even when observed by others (unfortunately a partisan parent who doesn't feel able to take the side of their child with the arbiter) and avoid losing their Queen cold - go on to win - to the significant distress of the child concerned.

Or those who leer, or use bad language or talk or behave in a distracting or intimidating manner and then make a tremendous fuss the first time a child forgets to whisper?

I'm not pointing the finger at all, or even most, adults - just saying it cuts both ways and the "bad" manners and behaviour of children can be exaggerated, and is less easily tolerated, than that exhibited by those old enough to know better.

Can you tell I'm a Mum? ;)


What did you say? You being naughty again as usual?AR

I think Jenni gets chastised (at times) as a result of our tag-team efforts. I did call us the wicked witches from Canberra - it entirely depends on who you are and what you're trying to do to determine if it's black or white magic we're working :lol:

Kevin Bonham
20-10-2004, 09:52 PM
Ahh well . . . I am very happy to hear it. What about this 'preparation' business? You think it's a good idea for kids to prepare for opponents?

I say: market rules. :lol:

One of our stronger juniors here got his first win in a rated competition off the back of opening prep - he beat a 1500s player in eight (yes, eight) moves. I reckon if it helps kids get some points on the board and get their confidence up, that's great. But making detailed opening prep for another junior rated 1200 is just silly, it would be better to spend that time practicing some endgames or studying general opening or middlegame principles rather than specific lines.

JGB
20-10-2004, 10:09 PM
The truth is most kids love traps, and if it keeps them interested in the game it should be part of the 'chess curriculum'.

Garvinator
21-10-2004, 12:05 AM
Ahh well . . . I am very happy to hear it. What about this 'preparation' business? You think it's a good idea for kids to prepare for opponents? I think not meself.
I am going to go off on a bit of a tangent here. When i heard the word preparation in this context, I thought it was being talked about in how coaches prepare for their lessons with their students and what structure they have from lesson to lesson in how to improve players. I see that this is not how preparation is being taken to mean. :(

Bill Gletsos
21-10-2004, 12:23 AM
I am going to go off on a bit of a tangent here. When i heard the word preparation in this context, I thought it was being talked about in how coaches prepare for their lessons with their students and what structure they have from lesson to lesson in how to improve players. I see that this is not how preparation is being taken to mean. :(
Libby meant the coaches preparing lesson's in her post #53 above whilst Kevin was referring to "opening prep".

jenni
21-10-2004, 10:48 AM
I am going to go off on a bit of a tangent here. When i heard the word preparation in this context, I thought it was being talked about in how coaches prepare for their lessons with their students and what structure they have from lesson to lesson in how to improve players. I see that this is not how preparation is being taken to mean. :(

Prep is the "holy grail" to many people. Some parents particularly think it is everything and if a child loses blames the coach for not having prepared the child well enough :)

There is no doubt that preparation can help, particularly in high profile tournaments. I remember Tomek Rej being a bit of a target in Sydney in 2002. He was very predictable in what he played. Toshi Kimura came up with a good line against him and got a draw and Peter Jovanovic then improved on that and beat him.

It often becomes a game of chess between opposing coaches, with one coach trying to guess what the other coach is likely to do.

Ian Rout
21-10-2004, 11:12 AM
Do people ever think of playing different openings so people can't prepare for them? Well I know some people do because in this year's ACT Championship I had a position I wasn't expecting by about move 5 or earlier in every game except the last round. But many juniors certainly do seem to think it's unsporting not to play into their opponent's preparation.

Tony Miles wrote that he often played 1...Nc6 in his first Black of a tournament so opponents in later rounds would waste time preparing for it.

Recherché
21-10-2004, 11:21 AM
I'm not pointing the finger at all, or even most, adults - just saying it cuts both ways and the "bad" manners and behaviour of children can be exaggerated, and is less easily tolerated, than that exhibited by those old enough to know better.

I agree. Unfortunately I think adults tend to be harder to educate about good manners than kids, if they don't already have them.


Such as the first adult who lost to my daughter, did not shake her hand or acknowledge her, and has not returned to that club since?

A fair few adults don't seem to be very good at being gracious losers to juniors, especially the younger ones. Even in cases where they're polite to the junior, there seems to be a common sentiment that it's somehow undignified to lose to a child (this isn't restricted to chess). This may be part of what drives controversy over the accuracy of junior ratings.

jenni
21-10-2004, 11:37 AM
Do people ever think of playing different openings so people can't prepare for them? Well I know some people do because in this year's ACT Championship I had a position I wasn't expecting by about move 5 or earlier in every game except the last round. But many juniors certainly do seem to think it's unsporting not to play into their opponent's preparation.

Kids get into a comfort zone - I think they spend so many years getting beaten up by people with superior theory that they then become nervous of changing, once they feel they know their openings really well.

We really enjoy having you in town, because you give the juniors so much variety.

Libby
22-10-2004, 11:43 AM
A fair few adults don't seem to be very good at being gracious losers to juniors, especially the younger ones. Even in cases where they're polite to the junior, there seems to be a common sentiment that it's somehow undignified to lose to a child (this isn't restricted to chess). This may be part of what drives controversy over the accuracy of junior ratings.

Well I didn't like getting beaten for the ball by a substantially younger netballer either, especially one I had formerly coached, but it didn't allow me to get away with not shaking hands at the end of the game.

I guess in our "post-match analysis" however, we tended not not blame "underrated" (or undergraded) juniors, we just b*tched about the lack of stretch marks, baby vomit and cellulite exhibited by our opponents :owned:

arosar
22-10-2004, 12:47 PM
. . . we just b*tched about the lack of stretch marks, baby vomit and cellulite exhibited by our opponents :owned:

Eeewww....too much info girl!

AR

ursogr8
22-10-2004, 01:10 PM
Same difference. Market rules.

AR

Market rules eh, Amiel?

So, if the unmentionable person spruiks about his unmentionable (W.A. awarded) trophy in an outer Antipodean newspaper, then you will just let the denizens who can read the Hobart Mercury work it out in Salamanca Place?

Or, do you call in the heavies and plods?

Seems to me Amiel you say one principle and threw mud under another.

starter

arosar
22-10-2004, 01:45 PM
So, if the unmentionable person spruiks about his unmentionable (W.A. awarded) trophy in an outer Antipodean newspaper, then you will just let the denizens who can read the Hobart Mercury work it out in Salamanca Place?

Took you a coupla days to respond to that. See, now you're getting desperate. You still just don't get it.

When you gonna wake up and smell the roses?

AR

ursogr8
22-10-2004, 02:17 PM
Took you a coupla days to respond to that.


I deliberately took a few days to answer because I was genuinely interested in Libby, jenni, and others' sensible answers to the question of ethical behaviour in regard to poaching. I knew I could always come back to your knee-jerk open slather 'market rules' when the 'ethical comment' had run its natural course.


Is that the best you can do...just point at an hiatus in the discussion?




See, now you're getting desperate. You still just don't get it.

Now I see, ....it is the best you can do. :rolleyes:
You have excatly nil defence of the contradiction between your 'market rules' and the fact that you started the Unmentionable titles thread.



When you gonna wake up and smell the roses?

AR
Just because your thread got locked because your supporters went over the top does not count as confirmation of your arguments.
I am not the one whose arguments had to be gagged and locked away.

starter

arosar
22-10-2004, 02:21 PM
You have excatly nil defence of the contradiction between your 'market rules' and the fact that you started the Unmentionable titles thread.

There's no contradiction. And you're just confused. As usual.

AR

Bereaved
07-08-2005, 04:50 AM
Hello everyone,

It would seem that as an opening premise of this type of discussion, one would have to ascertain what type of outcome one desired for oneself or for one's child from an experience of chess coaching.

If the purpose was to try out something, in a similiar manner to many children playing a variety of sports before settling on one specific sport that takes their fancy, it would seem to me that the coach is merely a motivator, who builds the childs enthusiasm for Chess, without in any way suggesting or even hinting that the development of a student into a strong player requires the student to do some extracurricular work. To the majority of students, the idea of spending a portion of their leisure time on the study of chess makes little sense. They would rather play.

The difficulty with this is that often a child may have little opportunity to practice their skills if their parents are not that interested in the game themselves. This is not to say that the parent/s will not play with the child, but may often have other children and other real world concerns that hinder in the ability to set aside a specific time to play with the chess student. Alternatively, in the case of an adult, they may actually have very few people in their social circle who are willing to play with them, whether they are able to or not is not of pertinence here, more their willingness.

When I commenced play, I had a teacher at high school who had played at club level chess, and before I left school, it seemed that I was taking more than just the occasional game from him. I later learnt that he was between 1300-1500 and was perhaps a bit more knowledgeable than his chess rating displayed.

My peer group with whom I played at school did not to my mind spend much time, and possibly none at all, on studying games. I did and was soon finding myself in good positions regularly, which is not to say that I did not lose my share of them, as there are some forms of chess experience which seem to arise at the almost aversion therapy level, and once you have allowed enough knight forks winning any numbers of bags of mixed lollies ( Queens, Rooks, Bishops, even pawns ) you begin to have the sight to see someone angling for that sort of thing, though at times I recall still allowing them.( Even now! :doh: )

The reason that I have reopened the discussions within this thread is that I felt that I would share some of the methods that my coach, a strong Russian player has shared with me.
He has always made a point of asking for me to suggest motivations for making moves, and as such, if he points out that a move was likely to have been a mistake, he often then puts the question back on to me, and asks what I should have played. I like this in that he is not being the genie in the bottle, providing the wished for solution on demand, but rather engaging in an interactive fashion to aid me in finding it for myself.

He often uses expressions that border on simplistic, which of course does not make them any less true, but perhaps just at a more absolutist level. The statement that is my favourite is ' Develop, Castle, and put your pieces in the centre, and then hold the centre, and then see what happens' . The last part with its openendedness, is particularly appealing to me, having now realised that there are often a lot of different ways to go down in any position, often conditional on one's mood.

I guess these reflections on an environment of individual coaching are alike but definitely not to be in some ways considered to be in the same boat as group coaching, which is often within a school based environment or a junior group within a club. I have heard of some that are run on an independent basis outside of school hours in other contexts, but not that many.

I am employed as a chess coach in Melbourne, and find that the methods that I find to be appealing for myself are in so many ways of no interest to students. I would find something moves me profoundly, but if it is of a subtle nature, the children I teach find the lesson uninteresting, or still worse, boring. Also the concept of resignation has to be approached in a rational manner if showing the children a complete game, usually a miniature. It is usually necessary to demonstrate a sequence of moves which are plausible, but not a forced line of play, where the winner of the game ends up with an immense material advantage. If not, the children are somewhat puzzled that one would give up when a piece down, whereas for them, the game is still very much alive, and the result of the game is in no way a sure thing, as they have found out within their own social play.

Also, and somewhat more so of late, I have begun using an abundance of emotional terms within my lesson, suggesting that a given player really wants to have the queen that is up close to their king to buzz off. It seems to be having a good reception, and as such I am experimenting with new and different ways to implement this idea. The concept of anthropomorphising the pieces, ie is the bishop happy? where does the knight want to go? and others of this nature seem in many ways to provide more useful answers than simply, and in adult terms, is this the best square for the bishop, or how do we bring the knight to a more active square? It is true that these are both identical concepts, it's just in the delivery of the idea that it is communicated.

As many of you can see by now, in this and in many other posts, I have a tendency to go about longwinded and somewhat complex explanations, and frequently use many multi syllabled words in one sentence, and that the said sentences are not short or punchy, but long winded and overly flowery. ;)

Ok, fair enough, that was my attempt at self mockery in this regard, but moving along. The issue of vocabulary with kids is essential. They will often find no relevance to anything of a literary nature to be appealing, unless it be along a Harry Potter vein, though this is treacherous territory, as it is likely to create a form of 'lesson drift' towards Wizard Chess, and that is best left sleeping.

Other things that have been of great concern to me as a coach, is in the instance of giving the lesson,'This is how to not fall for the four-move checkmate' to see children in the same lesson fall for this particular attack. This dilemma is compounded when this situation is not remedied in some instances despite frequent repetition.

My viewpoint on this matter is that when within our culture we have had to take active steps to ensure that people do not scrape through school with functional literacy, or sub-functional literacy, this being hoped to stop through intensive assistance to those children in need at this area, that we are expecting a particular miracle to occur in numbers of chess students within the school environment to become particularly strong given contact time available . As I previously suggested, many have no one in particular to play with. Worse still is the instance of learning that the child in between lessons has a nil involvement in any fashion with chess.

It seems to me that within whatever frame of reference for chess improvement, self motivated work is a must. I do not think we would need to have a prize such as a Pulitzer if the learning of writing was a one hour a week activity for almost everyone. As it is, schools devote a large portion of time to promoting literacy and numeracy, and rightly so. It is however this time factor which gives me the impression that only children who attend coaching seminars of the type run in the ACT mentioned by Libby and Jenni, that have any chance of making a significant amount of progress. The groups that were mentioned within that program of 1 coach = 4-5 children at most is something that the school based learning scheme does not allow a lot of. This in turn raises the next dilemma.

I have worked at a variety of schools over time, at some schools with other coaches running graded sections, but in the majority of cases, I am the solo coach at a school. When a solo coach at a school, the ideal would be that the children were in a reasonably close margin in as far as spread of ability. The reality of this is that the ideal is seldom present.

This is often owing to a number of factors, ranging from time within a class, in effect chronological age in many cases, but chess chronology, not biological in this instance, although the other at times has some bearing, to whether the child has decided or asked to be there in the first place. Other facts may be of an individual nature such as a child maintains a defeatist attitude in the face of regular losses, and this one is a hard one to break for some children, as they seem to get some perverse satisfaction in their incompetentness in relation to their classmates, as they are then absolved from trying, as they were going to lose anyway, so why bother? My general approach in this matter is to concentrate on looking for ways to praise the things the child is doing well more than highlight their shortcomings. This is something that seems in a lot of ways to help in a less obtrusive way than telling the child with great regularity to stop giving away their pieces for nothing, this rapidly would produce the opposite of the desired outcome. I will also in some cases go out of my way to schedule such a child for a bye in a class with an odd number to ensure that they receive a mini one on one lesson with me, in the context of a game between us, where I will explain why I am making moves in simple terms, to highlight what should be played by example. I also will quite frequently play 1...e5 to their 1.e4 as that is what the majority of them will face from their classmates. The reason that I commment on this is because as far as my own play, I have trouble recalling the last time I played this move even infrequently. The point of this in my mind is that the child is having enough trouble at that point without adding any further complexity to their learning and in this case their confidence. To my mind, it is hardly likely to help these children if after having played a game against me in say a Sicilian, where I have clearly explained my thoughts and plans, for them to move back into the realm of Open games ( 1.e4 e5 ).

This issue of spread of ability is perhaps also highlighted in the size of classes. To be an economically sound concern in classes that are funded solely by the students fees ( in effect the fees being paid by their parents ) a ratio of 1 coach = 15 students is desirable and quite common. Given that the time spent in the company of these students is generally an hour, or a large portion thereof, it doesn't leave a lot of margin for error. Should some of the children turn up late, even 5 minutes, this delays the part involving the lecture, which is often at the commencement of the session. As a slight digression, I have frequently had difficulties in groups where the lesson was at the end, as the children having started playing are often unwilling to stop and take it with remarkably little graciousness when it is suggested that the time has come to stop play and pay attention to something up front, when all they want to do is play. Ok it was a big digression. The point is that even with a bare bones 10 minute lesson, it is likely that 15 minutes has gone by before they sit at the board. So in the context of a full hour for a class, and 15 children in a group, the 3 minutes on average that each has available doesn't allow for a lot of depth in learning. I don't have a good answer for that one I admit.


As many of the earlier posts discussed, the question of strength of a coach was raised, and leaving aside this whole poaching issue, which doesn't seem to be something I have had any involvement in, my coach who is over 2300, and who outrates me by about 300 points, suggested to me at a time when that gap was closer to 500 points that I was almost certain to be a better coach than he was. This assessment was based on my commuunication skills, not my playing ability. I do think there was a small suggestion of my patience with chidren vs his, but it was not a major concern.

So in response to the many suggestions made, I have to side with Jenni in the regard of that players can benefit from someone who is perhaps below them, but better able to refine skills, or just above them, but more well versed in any area they lack as deep a knowledge of ( I think this was referred to with reference to particular aspects of AFL football ).

Mischa also commented on her son being coached by someone who he outrated, but still gaining benefit and new insight into the game,

In any case, my hands are a bit tired, so will write more later,
so until then, take care all and God Bless, Macavity

antichrist
07-08-2005, 10:50 AM
Hello everyone,

It would seem that as an opening premise of this type of discussion, one would have to ascertain what type of outcome one desired for oneself or for one's child from an experience of chess coaching.

If the purpose was to try out something, in a similiar manner to many children playing a variety of sports before settling on one specific sport that takes their fancy, it would seem to me that the coach is merely a motivator, who builds the childs enthusiasm for Chess, without in any way suggesting or even hinting that the development of a student into a strong player requires the student to do some extracurricular work. To the majority of students, the idea of spending a portion of their leisure time on the study of chess makes little sense. They would rather play.

The difficulty with this is that often a child may have little opportunity to practice their skills if their parents are not that interested in the game themselves. This is not to say that the parent/s will not play with the child, but may often have other children and other real world concerns that hinder in the ability to set aside a specific time to play with the chess student. Alternatively, in the case of an adult, they may actually have very few people in their social circle who are willing to play with them, whether they are able to or not is not of pertinence here, more their willingness.

When I commenced play, I had a teacher at high school who had played at club level chess, and before I left school, it seemed that I was taking more than just the occasional game from him. I later learnt that he was between 1300-1500 and was perhaps a bit more knowledgeable than his chess rating displayed.

My peer group with whom I played at school did not to my mind spend much time, and possibly none at all, on studying games. I did and was soon finding myself in good positions regularly, which is not to say that I did not lose my share of them, as there are some forms of chess experience which seem to arise at the almost aversion therapy level, and once you have allowed enough knight forks winning any numbers of bags of mixed lollies ( Queens, Rooks, Bishops, even pawns ) you begin to have the sight to see someone angling for that sort of thing, though at times I recall still allowing them.( Even now! :doh: )

The reason that I have reopened the discussions within this thread is that I felt that I would share some of the methods that my coach, a strong Russian player has shared with me.
He has always made a point of asking for me to suggest motivations for making moves, and as such, if he points out that a move was likely to have been a mistake, he often then puts the question back on to me, and asks what I should have played. I like this in that he is not being the genie in the bottle, providing the wished for solution on demand, but rather engaging in an interactive fashion to aid me in finding it for myself.

He often uses expressions that border on simplistic, which of course does not make them any less true, but perhaps just at a more absolutist level. The statement that is my favourite is ' Develop, Castle, and put your pieces in the centre, and then hold the centre, and then see what happens' . The last part with its openendedness, is particularly appealing to me, having now realised that there are often a lot of different ways to go down in any position, often conditional on one's mood.

I guess these reflections on an environment of individual coaching are alike but definitely not to be in some ways considered to be in the same boat as group coaching, which is often within a school based environment or a junior group within a club. I have heard of some that are run on an independent basis outside of school hours in other contexts, but not that many.

I am employed as a chess coach in Melbourne, and find that the methods that I find to be appealing for myself are in so many ways of no interest to students. I would find something moves me profoundly, but if it is of a subtle nature, the children I teach find the lesson uninteresting, or still worse, boring. Also the concept of resignation has to be approached in a rational manner if showing the children a complete game, usually a miniature. It is usually necessary to demonstrate a sequence of moves which are plausible, but not a forced line of play, where the winner of the game ends up with an immense material advantage. If not, the children are somewhat puzzled that one would give up when a piece down, whereas for them, the game is still very much alive, and the result of the game is in no way a sure thing, as they have found out within their own social play.

Also, and somewhat more so of late, I have begun using an abundance of emotional terms within my lesson, suggesting that a given player really wants to have the queen that is up close to their king to buzz off. It seems to be having a good reception, and as such I am experimenting with new and different ways to implement this idea. The concept of anthropomorphising the pieces, ie is the bishop happy? where does the knight want to go? and others of this nature seem in many ways to provide more useful answers than simply, and in adult terms, is this the best square for the bishop, or how do we bring the knight to a more active square? It is true that these are both identical concepts, it's just in the delivery of the idea that it is communicated.

As many of you can see by now, in this and in many other posts, I have a tendency to go about longwinded and somewhat complex explanations, and frequently use many multi syllabled words in one sentence, and that the said sentences are not short or punchy, but long winded and overly flowery. ;)

Ok, fair enough, that was my attempt at self mockery in this regard, but moving along. The issue of vocabulary with kids is essential. They will often find no relevance to anything of a literary nature to be appealing, unless it be along a Harry Potter vein, though this is treacherous territory, as it is likely to create a form of 'lesson drift' towards Wizard Chess, and that is best left sleeping.

Other things that have been of great concern to me as a coach, is in the instance of giving the lesson,'This is how to not fall for the four-move checkmate' to see children in the same lesson fall for this particular attack. This dilemma is compounded when this situation is not remedied in some instances despite frequent repetition.

My viewpoint on this matter is that when within our culture we have had to take active steps to ensure that people do not scrape through school with functional literacy, or sub-functional literacy, this being hoped to stop through intensive assistance to those children in need at this area, that we are expecting a particular miracle to occur in numbers of chess students within the school environment to become particularly strong given contact time available . As I previously suggested, many have no one in particular to play with. Worse still is the instance of learning that the child in between lessons has a nil involvement in any fashion with chess.

It seems to me that within whatever frame of reference for chess improvement, self motivated work is a must. I do not think we would need to have a prize such as a Pulitzer if the learning of writing was a one hour a week activity for almost everyone. As it is, schools devote a large portion of time to promoting literacy and numeracy, and rightly so. It is however this time factor which gives me the impression that only children who attend coaching seminars of the type run in the ACT mentioned by Libby and Jenni, that have any chance of making a significant amount of progress. The groups that were mentioned within that program of 1 coach = 4-5 children at most is something that the school based learning scheme does not allow a lot of. This in turn raises the next dilemma.

I have worked at a variety of schools over time, at some schools with other coaches running graded sections, but in the majority of cases, I am the solo coach at a school. When a solo coach at a school, the ideal would be that the children were in a reasonably close margin in as far as spread of ability. The reality of this is that the ideal is seldom present.

This is often owing to a number of factors, ranging from time within a class, in effect chronological age in many cases, but chess chronology, not biological in this instance, although the other at times has some bearing, to whether the child has decided or asked to be there in the first place. Other facts may be of an individual nature such as a child maintains a defeatist attitude in the face of regular losses, and this one is a hard one to break for some children, as they seem to get some perverse satisfaction in their incompetentness in relation to their classmates, as they are then absolved from trying, as they were going to lose anyway, so why bother? My general approach in this matter is to concentrate on looking for ways to praise the things the child is doing well more than highlight their shortcomings. This is something that seems in a lot of ways to help in a less obtrusive way than telling the child with great regularity to stop giving away their pieces for nothing, this rapidly would produce the opposite of the desired outcome. I will also in some cases go out of my way to schedule such a child for a bye in a class with an odd number to ensure that they receive a mini one on one lesson with me, in the context of a game between us, where I will explain why I am making moves in simple terms, to highlight what should be played by example. I also will quite frequently play 1...e5 to their 1.e4 as that is what the majority of them will face from their classmates. The reason that I commment on this is because as far as my own play, I have trouble recalling the last time I played this move even infrequently. The point of this in my mind is that the child is having enough trouble at that point without adding any further complexity to their learning and in this case their confidence. To my mind, it is hardly likely to help these children if after having played a game against me in say a Sicilian, where I have clearly explained my thoughts and plans, for them to move back into the realm of Open games ( 1.e4 e5 ).

This issue of spread of ability is perhaps also highlighted in the size of classes. To be an economically sound concern in classes that are funded solely by the students fees ( in effect the fees being paid by their parents ) a ratio of 1 coach = 15 students is desirable and quite common. Given that the time spent in the company of these students is generally an hour, or a large portion thereof, it doesn't leave a lot of margin for error. Should some of the children turn up late, even 5 minutes, this delays the part involving the lecture, which is often at the commencement of the session. As a slight digression, I have frequently had difficulties in groups where the lesson was at the end, as the children having started playing are often unwilling to stop and take it with remarkably little graciousness when it is suggested that the time has come to stop play and pay attention to something up front, when all they want to do is play. Ok it was a big digression. The point is that even with a bare bones 10 minute lesson, it is likely that 15 minutes has gone by before they sit at the board. So in the context of a full hour for a class, and 15 children in a group, the 3 minutes on average that each has available doesn't allow for a lot of depth in learning. I don't have a good answer for that one I admit.


As many of the earlier posts discussed, the question of strength of a coach was raised, and leaving aside this whole poaching issue, which doesn't seem to be something I have had any involvement in, my coach who is over 2300, and who outrates me by about 300 points, suggested to me at a time when that gap was closer to 500 points that I was almost certain to be a better coach than he was. This assessment was based on my commuunication skills, not my playing ability. I do think there was a small suggestion of my patience with chidren vs his, but it was not a major concern.

So in response to the many suggestions made, I have to side with Jenni in the regard of that players can benefit from someone who is perhaps below them, but better able to refine skills, or just above them, but more well versed in any area they lack as deep a knowledge of ( I think this was referred to with reference to particular aspects of AFL football ).

Mischa also commented on her son being coached by someone who he outrated, but still gaining benefit and new insight into the game,

In any case, my hands are a bit tired, so will write more later,
so until then, take care all and God Bless, Macavity

Now Macavity, you obviously have a problem. Before quoting your message I saw somewhere about students getting bored with the lesson, or something to that effect.

But your message was so long it could have doubled for that Independence speech whatever of Washington or Jefferson. That is your problem.

In holiday periods I used to give students 3 lessons a week of 2 hours each. They never got bored. I would break it up with a game of soccer in the middle. I had the same students for a couple of years and they religiously turned up.

Make lessons and explanations brief and entertaining. Btw, I could not force myself to finish reading your message - that tells heaps.

Play them simos, and pointing out briefly and clearly after they made each error.

Rincewind
07-08-2005, 11:07 AM
I could not force myself to finish reading your message - that tells heaps.

Attention deficit disorder?

antichrist
07-08-2005, 11:13 AM
Attention deficit disorder?

Macavity:
In any case, my hands are a bit tired, so will write more later,
so until then, take care all and God Bless, Macavity

That is the first time I have read that line "my hands are tired" - that also says heaps;

And you got ADD when it suited you in Antichrist Racist thread - you could not answer one question. go and get a life

antichrist
07-08-2005, 11:16 AM
Attention deficit disorder?

Yourself as a mod/administrator should not be starting off-topic blues, I had kept this thread on topic

get off the board

Bill has not misused his powers as mod - you have

PHAT
07-08-2005, 11:31 AM
Hello everyone,

It would seem ...

In any case, my hands are a bit tired, so will write more later,
so until then, take care all and God Bless, Macavity

You can coach my kids anyday!!

You are fully switched on to the whatwhenwherewhys of teaching.

ElevatorEscapee
07-08-2005, 03:29 PM
...

In holiday periods I used to give students 3 lessons a week of 2 hours each. They never got bored. I would break it up with a game of soccer in the middle. I had the same students for a couple of years and they religiously turned up...

The game of soccer in the middle sounds like a novel approach to chess coaching. :) (I wonder if junior soccer coaches ever considered breaking up skills practice for some games of chess.)

antichrist
07-08-2005, 04:05 PM
I even took one mob to the Sydney Aquatic Centre and used almost all the outside tables up. They loved it.

Bereaved
07-08-2005, 11:26 PM
Bon Soir, A/C,

All right, I have failed to mention within the given paragraph about the children being bored with the type of lessons that I find interesting, that I do not use such lessons any more. The proof arrived to me soon in the course of my teaching experience, and I reformed my wicked ways at torturing those poor children on the subtle beauty of things like composed problems.

In addition to this, had you managed to wade through the entire 2300+ words of this post, you would have found my comment about the lesson, which was considered to be an hour or a large part thereof, was only containing about 10 minutes of lecture; that may have aided you in your decision as to whether there were, or is still enough time for boredom to set in,

Take care and God Bless, Macavity

ElevatorEscapee
07-08-2005, 11:36 PM
I read through your entire post, Phil (Mr Macavity), and found it to be not only insightful, but rather beneficial for my own chess coaching.

You have clearly given this a lot of thought, and I salute you for it!

Cheers :-)

PS Mr Antichrist, please read through Mr Macavity's comments fully, as they are well worth the read. :-)

Mischa
08-08-2005, 12:23 AM
he is indeed a thoughtful man

antichrist
08-08-2005, 08:21 AM
I read through your entire post, Phil (Mr Macavity), and found it to be not only insightful, but rather beneficial for my own chess coaching.

You have clearly given this a lot of thought, and I salute you for it!

Cheers :-)

PS Mr Antichrist, please read through Mr Macavity's comments fully, as they are well worth the read. :-)

Well first of all it is double the length of the Jefferson's famous American Independence Speech.

Without making any such speeches and introspection I have coached beginners to be decent players in pretty short time (them winning many trophies)

I am currently out of coaching so why bother.

Just reading Mac's most recent post re only a ten minute lecture - well I only give about a minute's introduction to a hands-on lesson over the board.

If an opening I would briefly give the principles behind it and then show how they apply on the board.

If I become involved it may lead to a 5,000 word speech next time that you will be asking me to read - no thank you.

antichrist
08-08-2005, 09:46 AM
Bon Soir, A/C,

All right, I have failed to mention within the given paragraph about the children being bored with the type of lessons that I find interesting, that I do not use such lessons any more. The proof arrived to me soon in the course of my teaching experience, and I reformed my wicked ways at torturing those poor children on the subtle beauty of things like composed problems.

In addition to this, had you managed to wade through the entire 2300+ words of this post, you would have found my comment about the lesson, which was considered to be an hour or a large part thereof, was only containing about 10 minutes of lecture; that may have aided you in your decision as to whether there were, or is still enough time for boredom to set in,

Take care and God Bless, Macavity

You have the same disease as Gareth Charles, who did those 101 different positions on when people can be banned - The Ten Commandments, God's Covenant to the whole human race, was less than 100 words!

Bereaved
08-08-2005, 01:14 PM
And what disease is that A/C?

Take care and God Bless, Macavity

antichrist
08-08-2005, 02:38 PM
And what disease is that A/C?

Take care and God Bless, Macavity

Religious contamination - must be too many long sermons you both listen to.

firegoat7
08-08-2005, 10:48 PM
Rip into him AC...mate I have to put up with him at committee meetings...anything to reduce the amount of words...anything...help!!

Bereaved
08-08-2005, 10:50 PM
Watch out the goat is furious,
How gutless to post this when I am outside having a ciggie!!

Don't believe the goat,

Take care and God Bless, Macavity

firegoat7
08-08-2005, 10:55 PM
The free market must rule.

AR

AR I will tell you an interesting story.

Once upon a time in a land far far away....myself and Depas once ran identical chess lessons at MCC. The first one was free- we got 3 kids. The next one was $50 bucks and we got 12 kids. As Depas, the oracle of free markertering agitated 'people will pay if they think its value regardless of the facts'. He was right...but what does this have to do with the free market?
They don't appear to be very free at all.

Cheers Fg7

Bereaved
09-08-2005, 02:37 AM
Dear A/C, we are obviously not applying the same terms to a class.

In the red corner from Riddit in Mosambique...No but seriously, I am giving a demonstration on a display board, the wall hanging type, and whilst showing the lesson on that board, I feel that some minor degree of word usage is required, as I do not feel that the children will all realise what is going on otherwise.

If you thought that I stood in front o0f the kids and tried to repeat verbatim the opening introduction of a chess book verbatim, with no interaction from a chess board, then I feel that we are not on quite the same wave length ( really not that surprising when I am permanently locked on God FM, whereas you may choose some 'other' station,)
Take care and God Bless, Macavity

antichrist
09-08-2005, 06:42 AM
You should realise by now that I have had enough of this thread to argue the point - my parting advice is for you not to use those vertical hanging chess display boards as not all players can visualise in two dimension very well. Three dimension is a safer option. I use giant pieces. Another of my coaching secrets.

Bereaved
09-08-2005, 11:48 PM
Tell me more, Bwana! Or should I say, Tell me about your homeworld, Usul?

Take care A/C, and God Bless you, and everyone, Macavity

four four two
12-09-2005, 11:22 AM
On the homeworld of Usul their chess pieces are so gigantic that they easily intimadate youngins! That way the OGRE(coach) can easily keep control over them youngins! Kids are used to visualizing 2D images,they do it every day,its called televison! :whistle: