Sports Psychology
 Information & Resources

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San Diego Figure Skating Communications

The Process of Learning

How is Information Communicated and Processed?
        Sports generally involve a lot of physical demonstration, oral communications, and critiques that involve discussion of how a task should be performed and pointing out technical faults or errors.  Coaches of young athletes must strive to make this experience fun and to fully involve everyone who attends an orientation program.  It is desirable to break the large group into smaller numbers that an individual coaching assistant can handle.

        There are three basic different learning styles that athletes share:
  • Visual learning style is when the learner needs to see what he or she is to perform.
  • Auditory learners need to hear a description of the skill.
  • Tactile learners need to attempt to perform the skill in order to learn how to do it.
        When the element is being demonstrated, the coach should describe body position, where the weight is placed on the blade, arm placement/movement, etc. After the demonstration, break down the element into specific steps and have skaters attempt the first step. Make suggestions and move to the next step. Repeat until all steps have been attempt. Put all of the steps together. Perform the steps in slow motion, if physically possible. Otherwise, perform at a level commensurate with the learners skating ability. Finally demonstrate the task at a gold level so they can understand the need to master the basic positions in order to eventually achieve the ability for a gold level performance.

Team Sports
        Some team sports will involve "White Board" talks about how specific positions are played and offensive and defensive strategies involved in playing team sports.

        Teachers should not label students as specific kinds of learners. Individual learner seem to have preferred or favored input modes; however, all learners process information in more than one way, or style, and in real life it can be extremely important to be able to process information in a variety of ways.

Learning Modality
        There are two main learning styles, visual learning and auditory learning. Learners who prefer Kinesthetic or tactile learning modality, find it difficult to adapt to other learning styles.

        Our system of public education is directed toward kinesthetic learning in sports, arts, and music. Learners who respond well to a kinesthetic approach may encounter various degrees of discomfort with written examinations/tests to measure student achievement and standardized grade status by subject matter. Written outcomes, favour verbal/auditory learning. In general, traaditional classroom learning programs do not encourage kinesthetic learners to access information through a "hands on" approach to learning activities that involve physical movement and touching even when this approach may enhance the learning experience of all learners.

Characteristics of kinesthetic learners
        Students who have a strong kinesthetic learning style often:
  • like to move around in the classroom
  • may not be able to sit still for long periods of time
  • have good recall of things when they do something physical to "learn" it
  • are able to remember something perfectly after doing it only once
  • enjoy activities that involve "role playing"
  • have a need to constantly do something with their hands, such as tapping a pencil, or taking their pen apart [and putting it back together
  • need to handle physical objects, as aids to sequencing and learning
  • have poor handwriting skills
  • have difficulty with spelling and don't do well sounding out words
  • enjoy subjects which involve "hands on" learning, such as science [experiments and practical science] and subjects where they can use computers and other forms of technology
  • perform well in sporting activities and rhythmic activities such as dance and music
  • express their interest in an actvity enthusiastically and excitedly - can become over-excited
  • have difficulty with learning that involves learning by rote or sequencing
  • require short breaks in lessons
  • may be classed as under achievers based on testing
  • are considered to be hyperactive
  • often find it hard to work in the abstract, so teachers need to find ways of presenting abstract concepts in the form of a real task the student(s) can relate to

        In an average school class, as many as one third of students may be kinesthetic learners. This group of students is often labeled as under achieving because they are written off as increases in classroom numbers do not provide a curriculum that is designed to meet their learning requirement, thus they are unable to fulfill their potential.

        Research suggest that a significant proportion of students referred for pull out programs for students classified as requiring attention deficit disorder or hyperactivity intervention, are kinesthetic learners who need more appropriate learning structures to succeed. As teachers, we should be open to the possibility that a program designed for kinesthetic learners may alleviate some real difficulties that some students encounter in our school systems.

        Team sports approach to instruction closely parallels the cooperative or collaborative teaching methods being used in junior and senior high school classes.

Cooperative or Collaborative Group Learning
        Schools are moving towards cooperative groups as the model for learning. In a cooperative learning group, students work with peers to accomplish complete an assigned project. Completion of the project is accomplished by each member of the group having a different responsibility which is assembled to achieve the shared goal.

        The ideal number of students usually grouped together is clusters of 3 to 5. The larger the group size the more difficult it is to organize tasks, manage different skills, and reach a consensus.

        An effective cooperative learning group requires the following 5 essential elements:
Positive interdependence
The group is dependent on everyone to accomplish a shared goal or task. The lack of a  member(s) contribution means the group is not able to reach the desired goal.

Face-to-face interaction
Mutual praise, encouragement, support, or assistance of each other is encouraged.

Individual accountability
Each group member is accountable for his or her work and discourages a member from "hitchhiking" on other group members' accomplishments.

Social skills
Cooperative learning groups provides a stage for students to learn social skills and experience real life dynamics of a work environment. These skills help build cooperation team effort, leadership, decision making, trust building, and communication.

Group processing
Group processing is the assessment of how groups are functioning and measuring the progress to achieve the goal(s) or task(s). Reviewing the students group behavior provides an opportunity for the teacher to discuss special problems that may have occurred within the group. Group members get a chance to express their feelings if the group process was beneficial, if there were any unhelpful aspects of the group process, and offer suggestions on how to improve the process.
Performance Testing
        Performance testing of students in an academic setting is very much the same as a gymnast or figure skater performing a program in front of judges to achieve the highest possible number of points. A classroom teacher uses a carefully designed scoring rubric to evaluate student performance. The details of the scoring is shared with the class, and students are informed as to what skills they will be expected to demonstrate their mastery. The method of the mastery might be discussed and how much time they will have to prepare for the test.

        Most evaluations can be developed to fulfill either formative or summative assessment goal:
  • Formative assessment activities are used to provide feedback, evaluating learning progress in order to motivate students to higher levels.
  • Summative assessment activities are used to judge final products for completion, competency and/or demonstrated improvement.
        Assessment evaluations can be implemented at different stages of any individual or team learning exercise and can be conducted by either the coach, instructor, student, or as an exercise by an advanced student trainee.

        Performance testing in a classroom deals with problem solving, communication, and national standards. A well designed performance test will feature strong connections between different mathematical topics, and to real world applications of those skills. Sports rarely use this type of performance testing. Stop watches and tape measures are very objective.  Personal observation and judgment calls are very subjective, thus the introduction of video replays in professional football games.

        Unfortunately in figure skating there is no set syllabus, teaching curriculum, and systematic teaching principles. Athletes rarely engage in the higher order thinking and analysis that we know is essential to become a good coach. Coaches should take the time to get their athletes to understand how the laws of physics impacts skating and how body dynamics developed in the skating of school figures apply to all other forms of free skating, MITF, and dance.

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

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
The Process of Learning
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
Training Principles
Being Successful in Sports
Age Appropriate Sports Training
Effect of Learning Environment
Essential Feedback

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