Learning Styles for the Student Athlete

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Great coaches know how to get their athletes to do more than perform. As a coach, your job is to teach your players how to become better and smarter after every rep, after every play. And teaching your players successfully can be a tricky business, especially since everyone has a unique learning style.

Researchers in Britain named Peter Honey and Alan Mumford categorized four different learning styles in order to assess and recognize the way people learn the best. 

1. Activist
Activists need to dive right in and start doing. They learn best by experimenting and trying things out. They tend to be pretty outgoing and get excited about doing new things.

On the field, consider having activists try out several different options when it comes to a play. Or consider having them adjust each rep slightly. They tend to be fairly open-minded and can learn through the experience itself.

2. Reflector
Reflectors are analysts, looking back on past experiences for their best information. They also do well watching others and then analyzing their activity for the best learning experience.

On the field, consider having Reflectors watch your Activists try different approaches for each play. They can see what works and learn from watching.

3. Theorist
Theorists like to know the whys and the hows about things. These are your athletes who like to know why certain drills are being used and what strategies are in play on the field.

These are the guys who enjoy doing research on other teams and understanding the theories behind the plays. They also have a tendency to understand the opposing team as well can can be very intuitive on the field.

4. Pragmatist
Pragmatists like to know how what they are learning will benefit them in an actual game experience. 

On the field, it's important to run scrimmages similar to what they'll be experiencing on game day. While open to new ideas and experiences while learning, they prefer to rely on what they've mastered in practice on game day.

While there are four different learning styles, Honey and Mumford insist that there are more than one way people learn. Most of us learn in several different ways and blends of those styles.

The key to successful coaching is to figure out the way your athletes learn best. And then teach them how to learn.