The Art of “Teaching Up”
Stupid Smart – The Art of “Teaching Up”
by CEP Trainer Kevin Greene,
from the US Lacrosse Coaches Newsletter
Kids are not stupid. They are stupid smart. If you start teaching concepts at a young age, at some point, their little spongebob brains will start to ooze out the things that they have been taught, and just start reacting.
The other night at practice I was giving my closing talk to my U11 travel team, and specifically pointed out the heads-up play of one of our 8-year old players, Mark. This little guy was filling in for our starting attackman on our fast break drill, and was finishing like a pro! He moved to open spaces, and followed his sliding defenseman like we taught him.
One of my favorite sayings to the kids is that I’m not as dumb as I look, meaning that everything that I teach has a purpose. Drills mimick game situations. As I praised Mark, I brought this saying up, and one of the boys chimed in,”Hey coach, Mark must be stupid smart.”
This year, we let Mark play up with his older brother on our U11 in-house team, where we pushed the boys to excel in their field sense, as well as their skills. As I look at Mark’s ability to think on the field, I am starting to believe that kids who get taught advanced concepts at any age can excel.
So, am I advocating playing up? No, I am advocating “teaching up.” In the Level 2 CEP course, we talk about overarching principles which guide players’ actions. As a coach, I wholeheartedly believe that you need to start teaching big-picture concepts to younger players. If you wait, you risk frustrating yourself and your players. So take a chance and start teaching advanced concepts to even your youngest players and get smart – better yet, stupid smart.