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Implicit learning - Are you aware

An issue any coach has is the contact time they have with their athletes. With that valuable time are we as coaches educating athletes beneficial and are we aware we are teaching them? New York has a diversified culture and this makes coaching challenging. Limited time and the variety of people that I come in contact with changes my role as a coach in terms of athletes learning? It is important to consider what will be the greatest benefit to my athletes? From my time being here I have noticed a common factor between all athletes or players I come in contact with. Questions. It seems that the stereotypical films you see of American coaches balling instructions at players could be true. I have never seen such a look of surprise from a group of players the first time I brought them into a huddle to be questioned about a drill we were running. They respond better to direct instruction it seems as this is the only method they are familiar with but what learning is going on here athletes become robotic in their ways. I noticed through observation and feedback from other coaches that perhaps the reason for surprise and lack of response to "questioning" was because of the pressures of a huddle. Individually questioned players seemed a lot more responsive to questions in the absence of their peers. After a few training sessions adopting the individual questioning techniques I noticed players became more confidant in the answers they would give. This comfort eventually transferred to several group huddles and a questions were asked and before the questions were finished, answers were being fired out. Progress. Even though in some cases the answers were not correct it was a great sign to see that player’s confidence and willingness to participate had been increased in just a couple of weeks. When coaches talk about 'learning’ we need to be aware of what it is our athletes are learning. Just because athletes give incorrect answers does not mean they are not learning.

Implicitly in this instance my athletes have learned that it is ok to give answers whether right or wrong.

Questions can be a powerful tool for coaches in embedding learning and developing understanding. However, the difficult skill for a coach is identifying what the role of the questions asked is and if there are any other outcomes that may develop from these questions. Often implicit learning produces the best results. As coaches we should always be aware of these implicit changes in our athlete’s behaviour. Don’t always be so focused on the content delivered and think more about the individual that you come in contact with.

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