The Perfect Cover: 3 Tips On How To Cover a Jiu-Jitsu Class

4 min read
Discover the practices you can implement to teach a Jiu-Jitsu class like a boss when your professor is away

Keith Teaching a Jiu-Jitsu class

The Perfect Cover: 3 Tips On How To Cover a Jiu-Jitsu Class

Discover the practices you can implement to teach a Jiu-Jitsu class like a boss when your professor is away

Location: Sherwood Park, AB

Estimated reading time: 4 minutes

Photo by: Duncan Graham

Being the head instructor of your gym can be a fun and fulfilling experience. This position allows you to observe and watch your students develop their game from the outside. As the head instructor, you get to choose the techniques you’d like to teach and how exactly you’d like to run the classes for that day. Over time, this becomes easier to do until you don’t even have to put effort into making a lesson plan ahead of time. You know what you want to do, how you want to do it, and how long it will take. 

The job isn’t always easy, though. You are expected to teach techniques your students will be able to implement into their game. You are expected to be happy, and most importantly, you are to teach well. 

Realistically, anyone can teach, but not everyone can do an excellent job of it. Whether it be helping out a fellow student during class or maybe you’ve taken over a class on your own. No matter what your situation is, everyone wants to do a good job, and for first-time instructors, sometimes this is the biggest concern. 

The first day teaching Jiu-Jitsu 

It doesn’t matter how long you’ve been teaching or what kind of classes you’ve taught; nobody ever forgets their first day. There’s no way to truly describe the pit that you get in your stomach when you realize that you are the center of attention, and are expected to not only teach a class but also teach in a way that everyone understands. 

All the questions

That put aside, you may feel even more pressure when asked to cover a class for the head instructor. After all, how could you compare to him/her? Are you supposed to run the class the same way they do? What techniques are you supposed to show? What is the best way to show these students/your friends these techniques in a way they will understand? You’re going to have a lot of questions before teaching for the first time, and just like everyone else, you need the answers before stepping into the spotlight for the first time.

1. Know your techniques ahead of time

Before the day you have to teach, sit down with your professor and ask them if they have a lesson plan for you or have certain expectations of you when teaching. This will be beneficial for both you and your professor because it opens the door for communication when it comes to the expectations of the class. During this discussion, it may be a good idea to ask if you’d be able to cover a class for them to “practice” while they’re there. This way, they can give you feedback when that class is done, and it will help you become more comfortable teaching your fellow classmates. 

2. Show your favorite grappling technique

You are going to see more familiar faces in class than you will new ones. You have likely trained with most of these people before, and they aren’t going to sit and criticize every move you make or every word you speak. You have nothing to be nervous about. They are there to learn and will likely be open and excited to learn from a different perspective. A great way to start class is by showing your favorite technique. You will understand all of the ins and outs, and are more likely to have the ability to explain this thoroughly. 

3. Teach as you would want to be taught

Teach the way you enjoy being taught, and make sure you remain patient with those who take a little extra time to grasp what you have taught. Everyone learns differently, and you need to remember that explaining things in an alternative way can make a huge difference to who you’re helping. 

An Honor from your BJJ professor

Covering a class is a privilege and shouldn’t be taken lightly. It shows that your instructor trusts you to watch over his livelihood and proves that you are likely a respected member of the gym. Remember, no one expects you to be the most outstanding instructor, and it’s okay to stutter, mess up your words or feel the need to over/under explain the techniques you show. In the end, all that matters is that the gym and its students are respected and maybe learn a thing or two throughout the class.

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