How to teach problem solving to your athletes/kids

Friend of mine asked a great question in her FB group the other day and, if she appreciated the ideas I shared with her, I thought you might too.

So, problem solving …
How do you teach it to your kids/athletes?

Well, what I usually do is something she’d already been incorporating …

Work with them to solve problems they encounter.

But I will ALSO …
Include them when I’m trying to figure things out. I ask them for input or even ask them for help with things.
In other words, I’m modeling being open to input from other and asking for help when I need it.

The other thing I do is allow them to utilize any and all resources available to them, including people, Google, calculators, videos, notes taken previously, etc, etc, etc.

You see, I’m not so interested in teaching them MY way to do it all. I’m interested in nurturing THEIR ability to find solutions … even when it’s veeeery, very different from how I would do it … especially then.

Because when they come up with processes I wouldn’t have even thought of, it shows me that they know how to learn (not just what to learn). It shows me they can think outside the box. It shows me that they know how to get info/tools/resources they need to overcome obstacles.

Last, but certainly not least …
I look for opportunities for them to do things they LOVE. Such as play sports 🙂

Because the more into something they are, the more likely they are to meet challenges that arise. The more likely they are to put forth the effort to solve the problems that encounter vs just giving up and walking away. The more likely they are to express (and be open to) tools and resources and ideas and guidance that can help them navigate the adversity the encounter.

It’s so much easier, all the way around, when THEY want to solve the problem … when they are actively seeking a way to move forward.

I don’t try to put them in situations to make them solve problems. I find ways to allow them to engage in activities they love and, in the process, they inevitably face challenges, struggles, adversity, problems because very rarely (if ever) is any endeavor 100% flawless.

An added benefit to that is the fact that learning sticks a whole lot more when the experience is valuable and meaningful to them vs something that “had to” do just because you said so/wanted them to.

What else would you add?
What are some ways you help your children learn to solve problems and/or be resourceful?

I love to hear your thoughts on this 🙂

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