High Performance Coaching and the Many Kinds of Smart
Some say, “Variety is the spice of life” – it might also be a key to coaching. Variety not only keeps things interesting it also taps into the various ways our athletes learn. All athletes learn differently: they have their own unique learning style.
Learning styles are different ways of thinking and learning. High school and colleges coaches that understand their athletes’ learning styles and vary his or her style of teaching strategies accordingly, have the best shot at truly impacting all their players.
In 1983, Dr. Howard Gardner, psychologist and professor of education at the Graduate School of Education at Harvard University, proposed his theory of Multiple Intelligences. Gardener believes that there are many ways to show our intellect and he defined 7 original intelligences.
Gardner claims that all people have all intelligences but to varying degrees, such that each person has a unique intellectual make-up. For a coach to optimize their learning environment, they must identify and teach to these various styles with a range of activities that engage all types of learners.
Today, let’s look at one of the seven intelligences – Linguistic or Word Smart. People who are naturally good with writing or speaking and memorization. They learn best by reading, writing, listening and discussing ideas.
Traditional teaching and coaching (telling athletes how to do skills) favor this type of learner. Other strategies to consider include having athletes:
- Read books and articles about your sports techniques and tactics;
- Write down what they’ve learned at practice and games;
- Talk about they’ve learned, or
- Discuss corrections they would make after viewing video tape of their technique or tactics.