When you are working on creating or developing functional training drills or exercises, there are four primary factors you should take into consideration:
1. Who am I teaching?
Are they adults or children? Are they beginner, intermediate, or advanced level students? For example, when children are first learning something, they often have difficulty remembering more than 3-5 things in a row. So if you’re teaching them a complex pattern of movements, you might need to break the sequence into one move at a time and tie it to a concrete illustration.
The current training level of the student can be a deciding factor on where the emphasis or focus is placed when working a particular technical action. For example, when working a lead straight punch combined with a push shuffle advance, a beginning student might need to focus more on the footwork being used with the punch, whereas an advanced student might need to place their focus solely on explosive arm extension.
2. What type of learner are they? Are they a visual, auditory, or kinesthetic learner? Or are they a combination of two types?
This relates more to a one-on-one teaching situation. In a group class you will have students who fall into different categories so it becomes more difficult. Dan Inosanto, who was both my instructor and teaching mentor, taught me that you need to be able to teach one thing five different ways in order to reach the various types of students.
3. What is it that I want to teach?
What is the experience you want the student to have? Is it about performance development or performance enhancement? For example, perhaps your goal is to help the student develop the proper body mechanics of a particular punch or kick. Maybe it’s to help them develop power behind the strike, or the proper distance in relation to an opponent. Or you could be helping to develop a good sense of rhythm. It’s important to know this in advance so that you can develop a drill or exercise that gives them the experience.
4. What apparatus or equipment, if any, can I use for this particular drill?
For training a particular technique or quality you may choose to use the focus gloves, whereas for another you may decide to use the heavy bag or kicking shield. Sometimes you may choose to use more than one piece of equipment when working the drill. For example, if you’re having the students work on a side kick, you might have them use the heavy bag first to develop the sense of power and distance, then follow with focus gloves to develop accuracy and retraction speed.
In addition, it’s important to evaluate the drill or exercise when finished. How well did the training drill work? Did it accomplish what you wanted for the students? If, for some reason it did not work out as you intended it to try to ascertain why. You may decide to adjust the drill in some way or even get rid of it. It’s a good idea to keep a teaching journal in which you can write the results down so that you can review them.