Want To Be A Better Coach? Learn How The Brain Works

Coaching is teaching.  Want to become a better coach?  Become a better teacher.  I study how the brain processes information and more specifically how the brain process information in the sport of soccer.  Below is an outline of what I call Brain Structured Learning or simply a look at the way the brain is meant to naturally learn.  By adapting the below concepts/information into your coaching sessions, I believe your players will benefit greatly.

What makes up Learning?   Learning is made up of Passive Learning + Active Learning + Settling time

Passive or Explicit Learning: Passive learning is made up of things like listening to a lecture, watching a video or looking at images.  These are all things that we can learn from but we are not actively taking part in.

Active or Implicit Learning: These are things that we learn from hands on and experience. Active learning will include building, playing, discussing, drawing or performing.  Active learning combines more senses and has greater chance for retention.

Factors Influencing Learning: Engagement + Emotional State + Input Quantity + Timing + Settling Time

Engagement: Attention + Action + Repetition + Feedback

Emotional State: Is environment safe for learning.  It is critical the environment is safe for learning to take place.

Input Quantity: Chunk it + size + flow – It is better to teach information in small quantities.  Teaching many things in a quick and shallow way will be counter-productive.  Focus on smaller bits of information presented in a variety of ways so students can experience deeper learning that will last.

Timing: Time of day.  Most of the time we do not have control over the time of day we get to coach and hold training.  Research does tell us that the brain is more prepared to learn at certain points in the day compared to others.  5am in the morning is not ideal for most people to start soccer practice.

Feedback: Input from a highly skilled coach can speed up the learning process tremendously.  Without feedback from an expert coach, achieving a high level of performance will at the very least be slowed if not stopped.

Settling Time: Walking, reflecting, sleeping, eating or having break time are all ways for the brain to relax and begin to process the information it was exposed in training.  Processing time is part of the learning process that many coaches are not even aware of.  Many people are in a rush to cram every second of the day into on-task focused training time.  The reality is the brain needs a break to process and organize information that it was exposed to.

Learning Enhancement: Here are five very important steps for presenting information to students that will allow them the best chance of retention and deep learning.    

Pre-exposure – up to years ahead – general very broad introduction

Previewing – hours ahead – more specific introduction of information

Priming – minutes ahead – specific information leading into the days lesson

Reviewing – minutes after – re-visiting the important aspects of the information that was just presented

Revision – days to weeks after – a continuos process of re-enforcing what was learned and adding onto the concepts.

Using these five steps will help hardwire the information into the brain!

If you are interested in learning more about Cognitive Soccer Development or want to become a Cognitive Soccer Certified Instructor – visit my website at www.soccersmarttraining.com – the only online Cognitive Soccer Coaches Instructors Certification Course.