We are all born gamers
When you look at children especially newborn babies, they come into the world with curiosity and as they grow into toddlers they are stimulated by parents and family members to try more new activities. Learning new skills stay with us for longer when we learn them in a fun way.
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I used to coach basketball to the youngest teams the 5 – 8 year olds and the 8 to 12 year olds, I tested a number of techniques to encourage them to learn new skills. The best way of teaching new skills was to tailor it to the individual ability of each player and make it acceptable in the team to try, fail and try again until they succeeded and then I made a big deal of reinforcing their big win.
I used storytelling for tactical game play, we had a zoo like game to use the whole field instead of all crowding around the ball. I set personal goals, for example young Tom he was afraid of the ball and used to run away from every pass, which obviously wasn’t ideal for a game of basketball. So his goal was to catch the pass and just hold onto the ball, when he did hold on to the ball in a game situation. I was the first person he looked at and because it was his personal goal, I jumped up and down as if he scored a winning goal. It worked and he moved on to become a good asset to the team and passing, scoring etc. I just kept applying the same approach. It worked for little Kevin, who made his first score and he was beyond himself with pride for doing it in a controlled and easy way, like we had done in practice.
The moral of all this in my view is that if we appeal to the inner child in all of us and give the same praise and motivation, we are better learners, more productive performers in a variety of situations. In work as well as personal life, it works to appeal to the inner gamer inside all of us.