Training kids in chess is my passion. Sometimes they cry when I pass some truths while pointing them in the right direction, especially when I notice they’re becoming lax in their thinking. Kids will always be kids, and I greatly appreciate their genuineness.
Zuri, a 6-year old girl pleasantly surprised me the next time we had a training session after the previous ‘tough love’ one left her in tears, prompting the mother to intervene by asking that we end the session. I declined and my reasoning prevailed, as I requested the mum to trust my judgement on this as a coach. So after a ‘softer’ pep talk, we continued with a more focused and determined Zuri, who had by this time let bygones be bygones and we were thoroughly enjoying ourselves!
Little wonder in the next training session she came as if she wanted to validate the confidence and believe I have in her ability to be a great chess player. Of course, she knows it’s a process that will take time as well as demand of her focus, commitment and hard work.
Zuri: Coach, I want to tell you something.
Me: Go ahead.
Zuri: In chess if you focus on winning you’ll end up losing, but if focus on learning you’ll end up winning! So I need to have a plan.
I just ‘wowed’ as I clapped for her and almost hugged her through our computer screens, as I reminded her that the lessons learnt more from our losses will help us avoid making the same mistakes, and winning will be the reward we get.
This reminded me of what a 9-year old Susannah once told me in class;Just because you didn’t get anything wrong doesn’t mean you mastered it.
Indeed, we never stop learning because life never stops teaching. I learn as well from these kids!