Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Roll Call for Project Coach...!

So what does theater have to do with coaching? While the PC coaches may not need to perform Shakespearean soliloquies on the field, they do need to be aware of how they are using their bodies and voices, a point that Smith sophomore Kia Johnson tried to get across in last Wednesday’s workshop.

Before working on using their voices and bodies for coaching, the coaches had to think about what it takes to be a good coach: interacting with the kids to show them how it goes, being responsible, showing respect, focusing on the positive, practicing it themselves. But how can they do that with their body? “Don’t slouch.” “Don’t cross your arms.” “Eye contact.” “Present strong.”

This was great in theory, but could they put it into practice? The coaches began by splitting into pairs to tell each other, “I believe in you,” “I love you,” and “I hate you” – but they had to do so first with no passion in their voice and without using their hands, then with passion but still no hands, and finally going all out with passion in their voice and using their hands.

If the coaches had any discomfort with expressing these sentiments to one another, it was not evident. The room was soon full of passionate declarations of love and hatred. This task may seem pretty simple, considering that they were using phrases that come with emotion attached, so the next challenge was to do so with nursery rhymes. Each group was assigned a rhyme, and the group leader had each coach read the rhyme with a different emotion. Can “Humpty Dumpty” really be read angrily? What about nervously?

While they may not have made sense, they showed the coaches how much the emotion in their voice can change the perception of what they’re saying, and therefore, how careful they need to be to make sure that their words, voice, and body are all saying the same thing to the kids they are coaching.

By Rachel Hanlon

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