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 Post subject: How to motivate new players?
Post #1 Posted: Sun May 02, 2010 1:19 am 
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So, recently there are around 3 new players in the club. They are new and one of them just learning the rules.

I usually do the teaching in the club, but I'm really inexperienced with new players since all the other members are around SDK (I mean...they already know the rules and have playing experiences)

What I want to ask is how to motivate these players? I usually ask them to playing each other. I really appreciate any suggestions. Thank you :)

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Post #2 Posted: Sun May 02, 2010 2:34 am 
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Show a genuine interest in these people.

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 Post subject: Re: How to motivate new players?
Post #3 Posted: Sun May 02, 2010 2:40 am 
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CarlJung wrote:
Show a genuine interest in these people.

This. Also, keep the atmosphere fun and friendly, don't make meetings be like lectures in school where a stronger player does a bunch of explaining on Go strategies and tactics while the beginners watch and nod. Engage with them and not only make sure they're having a good time, but you yourself as well :).

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Post #4 Posted: Sun May 02, 2010 3:14 am 
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I recently took a trial lesson with a kung fu teacher. He talked most of the time, about styles, about how a fight realistically goes, about attitude, about how armed combat is not much different from unarmed, etc. etc.. I do not intend to go back there.

I have made the same mistake.

Do not talk too much about high level things. There is no value in explaining extensions from a shimari when the player has not yet understood the hat:

Click Here To Show Diagram Code
[go]$$
$$ . . . . .
$$ . . X . .
$$ . X O 1 .
$$ . . . . .
$$ - - - - -[/go]


Start small. Explain the rules, let them play one game (on a small board!!!), stop them when the game is finished (they will not know at first). Explain one or two basic capturing patterns that occurred in the game, let them play more. Don't explain longer than 5 minutes, then let them play again.

A small board is absolutely necessary. 9x9 is common, but it feels already big for a beginner, as he has no idea how stones on one side of the board affect those on the other. Anything bigger is just a bore. I myself would start on 3x3 nowadays (after explaining 1x1 and 2x2...).

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 Post subject: Re: How to motivate new players?
Post #5 Posted: Sun May 02, 2010 4:31 am 
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3x3? Really? :shock:

The smallest I've tried is 5x5, and I think it's fast enough for them to fisnish games, and good enough for them to learn every game.

As for advice, what CarlJung and Araban said.
That might mean watch Hikaru no Go, it might mean having games on small boards, it might mean trying out go variants, etc. Just find out what they like to do around Go, and do that.

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 Post subject: Re: How to motivate new players?
Post #6 Posted: Sun May 02, 2010 7:27 am 
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Phelan wrote:
3x3? Really? :shock:


Yes! Have you understood 3x3?

3x3 can be solved by beginners. This should be achievable in a few games. Then, I would move on to 3x4 and 4x4. You can demonstrate quite convincingly that you should not separate your own stones here, ataris can be spotted quickly, and liberty counting will rarely go above 4. Best of all, the games are quickly over, and there will be one or two points to discuss.

I have not tried this approach yet, though.

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Post #7 Posted: Sun May 02, 2010 5:12 pm 
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Harleqin wrote:
Phelan wrote:
3x3? Really? :shock:


Yes! Have you understood 3x3?

3x3 can be solved by beginners. This should be achievable in a few games. Then, I would move on to 3x4 and 4x4. You can demonstrate quite convincingly that you should not separate your own stones here, ataris can be spotted quickly, and liberty counting will rarely go above 4. Best of all, the games are quickly over, and there will be one or two points to discuss.

I have not tried this approach yet, though.

Interesting. I can't say I've understood 3x3. I've seen a few lines of the solution, but never could make much out of it.
I wonder if it would be easy to finish a game, with all the kos that seem to appear in those lines. :S

It might work, though. Let me know if you are successfull with it. :)

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Post #8 Posted: Sun May 02, 2010 5:33 pm 
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For teaching, I have started with the 3x3 for a long time. It teaches eye vs. no eye. :) It can also teach ko. It can also teach seki.

It is good for motivation if they can play games that they can win around half the time. That can mean having them play each other, but there are problems with that. For one thing, they can develop bad habits. For another, they are segregated.

Nowadays I like the capture game, played on small boards with no passes. The idea of territory emerges naturally when each player makes live groups without losing a stone. Then the player with more territory wins (except for group tax). They can move on to capture-2, capture-3, etc. I hear that up to capture-5 is OK before moving on to regular go. You can handicap the capture game by number of captures, as well as by handicap stones. :)

I have a DDK friend, for whom a sufficiently large handicap on a 19x19 board would be tedious for yours truly. However, the capture game on a 7x7 with him taking Black, works fine. :) He doesn't win 50% of the time, but he wins often enough to keep his interest. And it is not tedious for me. :)

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 Post subject: Re: How to motivate new players?
Post #9 Posted: Sun May 02, 2010 6:30 pm 
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Whenever I play very new players, I try to make sure to give them a handicap that will ensure that they win. I find the stress of worrying about losing makes them reluctant to play, and actually losing can sometimes turn them off.

I think its easier to make it a "fun" game for them with an outrageous hadnicap. I know I've given at least 25 stones at times (and at that, somestimes still had to try to lose).

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Post #10 Posted: Mon May 03, 2010 8:01 am 
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I'd say one big mistake to avoid is overload. Keep things (lessons) simple and to the point. Pick out only 1-2 things you want to demonstrate and stick to that. It gets way too easy to drift off into 3 reasons why this move is better and that is worse, but the eyes will start to glaze over and they'll just get lost as you continue into what you consider the 'basics'.

It's tempting to declare how deep go is and how much there is to it, but that can be pretty daunting to a beginner who can then feel that there is just too much to learn and just stop instead of getting tempted down the dark road we are all traveling (he, he).

So keep it simple and light and keep giving them big handicaps on small boards (like 9s and 13s). One win will help give them confidence and feel they are progressing a lot more than pointing out that they got 1 group out of 3 to live and that was better than past performance.

Bruce "Come back!" Young

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Post #11 Posted: Mon May 03, 2010 9:09 am 
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I think it's just like Carljung said, if you show them the way and always be helpfull they gain the motivation themselves to keep climbing the ladder. The other day i was playing vs a guy and his friend was watching us after we finished i asked for review to give him some pointers and i think it motivated him to play more.

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Post #12 Posted: Mon May 03, 2010 9:14 am 
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redponey wrote:
I know I've given at least 25 stones at times.


How do you fit 25 stones on a 9x9 board?

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Post #13 Posted: Mon May 03, 2010 10:34 am 
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Harleqin wrote:
How do you fit 25 stones on a 9x9 board?


Leave 56 open spaces! :D

As far as teaching beginners is concerned I have usually found it best to do nothing except explain capture and suicide. I don't explain eyes or life and death and certainly don't mention ko. I don't even mention how to figure out who wins. Everything except for capture and suicide can be explained as they come up.

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Post #14 Posted: Mon May 03, 2010 10:59 am 
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Harleqin wrote:
redponey wrote:
I know I've given at least 25 stones at times.


How do you fit 25 stones on a 9x9 board?


The most I've given on 9x9 is 9 stones, with a little instruction about keeping their stones connected and keeping my stones separated. Usually enough to have even a raw beginner crush me.

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Post #15 Posted: Mon May 03, 2010 1:30 pm 
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I like the atari-go teaching method, but I think the most important while teaching is:
Show them how much you like the game.

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Post #16 Posted: Sat May 08, 2010 12:32 am 
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I believe in mentoring... Why not pairing each of the newcomer with a more experienced (and regular) player to review their game, play teaching games, etc. They could then play among each other in even games and practice what they learnt.
A lot of clubs are applying a system of sponsoring. Could this be a good approach for go?

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Post #17 Posted: Sat May 08, 2010 7:00 am 
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I think it might work well. Something I've liked before, is the "rival" system, where you pair two players of the same level, and they seem to pull each other up.

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Post #18 Posted: Tue May 18, 2010 10:34 am 
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thank you for the tips. will do my best for the club :D :D :D

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Post #19 Posted: Tue Jul 20, 2010 7:55 am 
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Being genuinely interested is very important obviously!

I always tell my new players that go is a game and that it should be fun first and foremost!

I find that especially for beginners there is no wrong way to improve, as everything is new! I encourage them to play however they like, here are some examples from my club of new players that enjoyed ONE of the following beyond all else and was pretty much all they did outside of coming to the club. They all improved to around 10-15 kyu at relatively the same speed. (after that you can start pointing out some weaknesses to work on specifically)

- 9x9 (for example vs. igowin, though I've had a player bring his 9x9 to the club every week to find opponents)
- 13x13
- 19x19 (some want the real thing right away!)
- blitz games!
- slow games!
- reviewing pro games (rarely does a new player like this, but it's happened!)
- watching strong players on kgs and kibitzing
- reading books
- life and death problems (goproblems.com is great)
- dragon go server/online go/ etc. turn based go (you can take your time and makes it easy to play out sequences locally first when you're learning - bad habit, but great for learning)

They should find something they enjoy in there. Remember that not everyone wants to reach 5-dan, some just enjoy playing.

Also a key factor is that when you are reviewing a game, concentrate on the positive and improvements they are making, it doesn't make sense to point out the mountain of things they don't understand yet (that's quite obvious to them), show them how much more they understand than they used to (very not obvious)

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Post #20 Posted: Tue Jul 20, 2010 8:18 am 
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For me it was climbing the rank ladder on kgs. That way you actually notice how you improve. Beating that a 25k who could have given you four stones 2 days ago. So it's very nice that the kgs ranking system actually works for beginners. And automatch gives you a matched opponent however weak you may be.

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