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>Coaching Matters >Coaching Matters on September 5th

Coaching Matters on September 5th

The purpose of the September 5th Coaching Matters Virtual Forum is to look deeper into the Coach as Learner – Success and Failure Leaves Clues role.

Please click to access the flyers for the WESTERN and EASTERN forum. ZOOM link to join is stated in the flyers.

Why focus on learning? Learning is easy and we all know at least a little bit about it. We develop an understanding about learning (our own and others’) just by growing up, participating in educational (e.g., schools and coach education) and social settings (e.g., families, parties, sports, religion). We learn about learning through our successes and failures (i.e., what works and what doesn’t). However, just because we have learned does not necessarily mean that we have developed sound or accurate views about learning.

’Common sense’ view of learning

When we learn about learning solely through experiences, we develop ‘common sense’ views about how, when and why people learn. These ‘common sense’ or ‘folk’ theories then become the basis upon which coaches act. This can be good, because these understandings are ‘authentic’ and ‘applied’. They are also pretty comfortable – because they are generally consistent with taken-for-granteds and way coaches typically coach. 


there are serious problems with ‘common sense’ or ‘folk’ understandings. Coaching is very limited when it is based solely on how things have traditionally been done, and on personal belief rather than science. 

Q: What are some of the ‘taken-for-granted’ and ‘commonsense’ ways of doing things that you have had to challenge?

When coaches operate on without a strong evidence base, they are more susceptible to relying on learning myths. Learning myths are widespread and can only be countered by evidence-based theorising. A widespread myth relates to learning styles.

Q: What are some examples of how you support the learning of your athletes, without relying on the idea of learning styles?

Learning theory

Usefully, there has been increased academic attention on learning in coaching. The vast majority of this work has also been applied in nature, giving coaches a sound evidence base on which to build quality practices. This evidence base can provide coaches with a conceptual framework and vocabulary through which to leverage ongoing experiences, can focus attention, and provide a stable reference point amongst the chaos and challenges inherent in coaching. 


there are some problems with theories of practice. Learning is multifaceted and complex, so the theorising is often similarly multifaceted and complex. One way of navigating this complexity is to focus on specific ‘waves’ of learning theories. We’ll focus on 2 here: learning through punishments and rewards, and learning through information processing.

Q: What successes and/or failures have you had related to punishments and rewards in coaching?

Q: What successes and/or failures have you had related to instructions and feedback?

See you all on “ZOOM camera” on the 5th!