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Chess Coaching best practices

  • #1

    It is sad when coaches/parents put so much pressure on their chess players - specially at the scholastic level - that the kids stop enjoying this great sport of ours.

    I am a chess coach, and I am looking for advice to improve and be sure that I do not fall into that temptation. I now subscribe to the Double Goal Coaching philosophy championed by the Positive Coaching Alliance. But, I would like to ask all the coaches out there for a piece of advice. What is, according to your experiece, some of chess coaching best practices?

    Thank you so very much for your help!

  • #2

    "What is, according to your experience, some of chess coaching best practices?"

    Buying clothes and dinner for the "pupil"Laughing

  • #3

    That is funny and, believe it or not, I have dome some of that! It was pizza, but the kids really enjoyed it.

  • #4

    If you throw in some wine, then I think I may need a coachLaughing

  • #5

    If you have a really hot assistant coach, I may need some help with my game also.

  • #6

    Sharing a few part-time experiences I had teaching beginners/novices at the scholastic level.

    1. The minute they stop having fun, the lesson's over.

    2. Owing to 1) => you have to make activities like studying/puzzles/analysis entertaining enough.

    3. Try not to get too "buddy" with them either.  If they don't respect you, they are less likely to listen.

    With most kids who "like" chess,  almost anything OTB and challenging will be fun to begin with ... but with those who are lazy and cut corners when it comes to work, you have to cleverly find incentives, both with words or micro-rewards like certificates or promises of "no homework if you can solve this" etc.

  • #7

    I will give a serious answer.

    Some pillars of my teaching include:

    Beginners need to start with 1.e4 for White, and with Black to respond with 1.e4 e5 and 1.d4 d5.

    Don't create a general syllabus and teach all of your students according to it: each student has different personalities and temperaments, has different strengths and weaknesses, and needs to be coached at least somewhat differently from any other students.

    Make sure your students can stop Scholar's Mate, and have an idea of what to do against 1.e4 e5 2.Qh5.

    As far as endgames go, all a student needs till about 1000 USCF is K+2R, K+Q, K+R, and maybe the most basic king and pawn endings (opposition).

  • #8

    So, to keep the class interesting and to coach according to individual needs... how big an ideal chess class should be? I do have a Jr. Coach with me, who is 14 year-old, and we normally work with elementary school students. Last summer we had a class of 15 students, and I want to believe things were OK. Unfortunately, once school started we lost all our players to soccer.

  • #9

    You should be able to get them back when the soccer season is over. In fact, they may even do both if you form a chess club that meets once a week.

  • #10

    how big an ideal chess class should be?

    Well, the smaller the better Smile 

    Seriously, anything above 10-12 children requires some good skills to handle Tongue Out

    Also important is to have a class with a relatively homogeneous level : you don't want total beginners with children who have already played for 1 year...

    My experience with chess classes in school is that 10'-15' of theory on the board and 45' of OTB games of all sorts works well. A simple points system also helps to keep their attention Cool

  • #11

    As for best coaching practices, there was a great thread in user _valentin_'s blog - 


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