Sports Psychology
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How We Learn

Learning is step by step process. Acquiring information is a linear process starting with a strong basic foundation on which additional ideas are constructed in an orderly fashion.

To learn is to acquire knowledge or skill
       It also may involve a change in attitude or behavior. Children learn to identify objects at an early age; teenagers may learn to improve study habits; and adults can learn to solve complex problems. The challenge for the instructor is to understand how people learn, and more importantly, to be able to apply that knowledge to the learning environment.

        The handbook Learning Theory is designed as a basic guide to educational psychology that addresses how psychology is directly concerned with how people learn.

       Since learning is an individual process, the instructor cannot do it for the student. The student can learn only from personal experiences; therefore, learning and knowledge cannot exist apart from a person. A person's knowledge is a result of experience, and no two people have had identical experiences.

      Even when observing the same event, two people react differently; they learn different things from it, according to the manner in which the situation affects their individual needs. Previous experience conditions a person to respond to some things and to ignore others.

      All learning is by experience, but learning takes place in different forms and in varying degrees of richness and depth. For instance, some experiences involve the whole person while others may be based only on hearing and memory. Instructors are faced with the problem of providing learning experiences that are meaningful, varied, and appropriate. As an example, students can learn to say a list of words through repeated drill, or they can learn to recite certain principles by rote.

      However, they can make the principles meaningful only if they understand them well enough to apply them correctly to real situations. If an experience challenges the students, requires involvement with feelings, thoughts, memory of past experiences, and physical activity, it is more effective than a learning experience in which all the students have to do is commit something to memory.

      Psychologists sometimes classify learning by types, such as verbal, conceptual, perceptual, motor, problem solving, and emotional. Other classifications refer to intellectual skills, cognitive strategies, and attitudinal changes, along with descriptive terms like surface or deep learning. However useful these divisions may be, they are somewhat artificial.

Learning is a process that does not occur as a continuous and uniform exchange of information.

       The instructor cannot assume that students remember something just because they were were present when the instructor presented the material. Neither can the instructor assume that the students can apply what they know because they can quote the correct answer verbatim.

        For students to learn, they need to react and respond; however this is not always an observable process that reflects the emotional, or intellectual status of the learner. h apply to how individual students learn. In addition, today's culturally diverse society, including international students, must be considered.

        The key point is that all students are different, and training programs should be sensitive to the differences. Some students are fast learners and others have difficulties; and, as already mentioned, motivation, experience, and previous training affect learning style. Any number of adjectives may be used to describe learning styles. Some common examples include:

  • Right/left brain
  • Holistic/serialist
  • Dependent/independent
  • Reflective/impulsive

        The desire for personal gain, either the acquisition of possessions or status, is a basic motivational factor for all human endeavor. An individual may be motivated to dig a ditch or to design a supersonic airplane solely by the desire for financial gain.

        Students are like typical employees in wanting a tangible return for their efforts. For motivation to be effective, students must believe that their efforts will be suitably rewarded. These rewards must be constantly apparent to the student during instruction, whether they are to be financial, self-esteem, or public recognition.

        Lessons often have objectives which are not obvious at first. Although these lessons will pay dividends during later instruction, the student may not appreciate this fact. It is important for the instructor to make the student aware of those applications which are not immediately apparent. Likewise, the devotion of too much time and effort to drill and practice on operations which do not directly contribute to competent performance should be avoided.

        The desire for personal comfort and security is a form of motivation which instructors often forget. All students want secure, pleasant conditions and a safe environment. If they recognize that what they are learning may promote these objectives, their attention is easier to attract and hold. Insecure and unpleasant training situations inhibit learning.

        Everyone wants to avoid pain and injury. Students normally are eager to learn operations or procedures which help prevent injury or loss of life. This is especially true when the student knows that the ability to make timely decisions, or to act correctly in an emergency, is based on sound principles.

        The attractive features of the activity to be learned also can be a strong motivational factor. Students are anxious to learn skills which may be used to their advantage. If they understand that each task will be useful in preparing for future activities, they will be more willing to pursue it.

        Another strong motivating force is group approval. Every person wants the approval of peers and superiors. Interest can be stimulated and maintained by building on this natural desire. Most students enjoy the feeling of belonging to a group and are interested in accomplishment which will give them prestige among their fellow students.

        Every person seeks to establish a favorable self-image. In certain instances, this self-image may be submerged in feelings of insecurity or despondency. Fortunately, most people engaged in a task believe that success is possible under the right combination of circumstances and good fortune. This belief can be a powerful motivating force for students.

        An instructor can effectively foster this motivation by the introduction of perceptions which are solidly based on previously learned factual information that is easily recognized by the student. Each additional block of learning should help formulate insight which contributes to the ultimate training goals.

        This promotes student confidence in the overall training program and, at the same time, helps the student develop a favorable self-image. As this confirmation progresses and confidence increases, advances will be more rapid and motivation will be strengthened.

        It is more difficult to unlearn a mistake, and then learn it correctly, than to learn correctly in the first place. One way to make students aware of their progress is to repeat a demonstration or example and to show them the standards their performance must ultimately meet.

Recommended Reading:

The four levels of communication includes INTRAPERSONAL; INTERPERSONAL; GROUP; PUBLIC. - information and education for coaches   Coaches are responsible for maximizing individual athlete's performance by ... mode - that is, how athletes take in and process information or learning style. .... their verbal communication with written words, diagrams, visuals, and videotapes.

The-Coach-Athlete-Relationship - Communication Communication is the art of successfully sharing meaningful information with the athlete(s). The athlete may jump to a conclusion instead of working through the process of understanding the concepts being expressed.


Learning Environment Workbook

Chapter Topic         

1 Overview of Instructional Methods

Incorporating Computer Technology into Instruction

The Cognitive Learning Process

Four instructional Design Structures

The Learning Process

Learning in a Cognitive Processes

Managing Cognitive Load

Directing the Learner’s Attention

Adjunct Memory Support

Integration of Graphics and Audio

Practice, Practice, Practice

Cognitive Load and the Four Architecture Structures

Effective Encoding Techniques

Encoding into Long-term Memory

Effective Retrieval from Long-term Memory

A Cognitive Apprenticeship

Features of the Cognitive Apprenticeship

Multimedia and Learning

Summary of Instructional Methods

Discovery and Inquiry-based Learning

Formative and Summative Assessment in the Classroom  When a comprehensive assessment program at the classroom level balances student achievement information derived from both summative and formative assessment.

Classroom Assessment | Basic Concepts   Formative vs. Summative Assessments. Classroom assessments can include a wide range of options -- from recording anecdotal notes while observing behaviors.

Formative vs Summative Assessment - Enhancing Education - ... The goal of summative assessment is to measure the level of success or proficiency that has been obtained at the end of an instructional unit,

Educational Psychology Interactive: The Information Processing ...  The major proposition is that learners utilize different levels of elaboration as they process information. This is done on a continuum from perception through processing.

A Primer: Diagnostic, Formative, & Summative Assessment  In particular, the distinctions between diagnostic, formative, and summative assessment methods will be discussed.

Mayer's SOI model Learning occurs when the new information is placed in long-term memory. Role of the learner: receive and process information;

Learning Disabilities  Most students affected by them have more than one kind. ... The way our brains process information is extremely complex.

PDF Using Students' Learning Styles to Provide Learning Style Inventory (LSI) looks at how learners perceive and process information while the Myers-Briggs Type. Indicator uses dichotomous scales ...

The number of students in the second category might in fact be enough to prevent ... How does the student prefer to process information:

Learning Styles - Michigan Community College Virtual Learning ...  Auditory learners tend to learn more effectively through listening, while visual learners process information by seeing it in print or other visual modes.

Information Processing Information Processing. When we deal with information, we do so in steps. ... useful insights into how to help learners acquire and retain information.


The following internet links have been gleaned from personal communications
combined with information from public institutions and athletic organizations/
associations that have a web presence with information concerning team and
individual sports programs:

Program Development
Athlete Development
Skill Development
How We Learn
Stages of Learning
Parent-Teen Relationships
Youth Development
Stages of Skill Development
Stages of Figure Skating Skill Development
Long Term Athlete Development Framework
Techniques of Sports Skills
Principles of Motor Skill Mechanics
Newton's Laws of Motion
Athlete Training Principles
Being Successful in Sports
Age Appropriate Sports Training
Effect of Learning Environment
Essential Feedback

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