We have been telling stories since the beginning of time – or at least since humanity evolved.
There are many studies about why it’s important for children to hear stories, even though it’s difficult for many make time for it. I will not get into the many benefits of telling stories, I would recommend doing a few searches online – I will only describe how we use the story and storytelling as a tool in the training.
To use Storytelling as a tool.
Every night before bedtime, we read a story for our 3 year old son. This is “just” a ordinary story from a book and as such does not have any reference to MOTO / training. What’s special is that I often follow this story with a story of my own imagination. This story is always specific about a subject, attribute or virtues that I / we wish to focus on in our training.
Our son loves these stories – known to him as Trial or MOTO stories. They often have him as a main character and contain one or more of the following topics.
- Highlight virtues or attributes
Examples may be subjects as “fairplay”, the importance of listening, having courage, or just having to get up to go training. By emphasizing virtues or qualities of others, children often try to imitate these by themselves.
- Helps to cope with situations.
Examples of this could be to finding courage, being able to cope with crash and pain. By telling stories of overcoming difficult situations, the child will be equipped to meet and defeat them.
- Visualization of own goals.
Examples of these can be anything from learning to move the feet to the footrest, to complete their first race. Common to them is that the child sees itself in the situation and the success – possibly with some changed behaviour underlying.
My experience is that children are extremely receptive to this kind of “soft” learning.
It’s not a science to tell stories and there are lots of good sources online for how to become an even better storyteller.
The biggest effect with the use of storytelling I have experienced, is when it comes down to “minor” adjustments in behaviour – or as an extra bonus on subjects we already work on.
For example, a child who does not like to ride a motorcycle does not suddenly “fancy it” because a story is being told. But it’s a powerful tool to use together in a broader context, where work has already been done on topics.
Tip: Motorsport may be a lonely sport, and it may therefore be a good thing to include clubmates, family members or friends in history. Remember, however, it must be to strengthen the child, so nothing like “If Ben can do it, so can you!”
My advice will be: be yourself, find your method and do not be afraid to make mistakes. You will quickly find out what works with your child, and can therefore change your method based on mood, time and message.
A good idea, however, may be to involve the child by inquiring into the message in history, which can give an increased effect.
Keep in mind that these are children, so do not expect the storytelling to work every time, and remember repeat, repeat, repeat!