Lesson 1, Topic 1
In Progress

Methods of teaching

Simple skills and methods

Simple sports skill

  • an individual can perform with very little practice
  • usually as a result of the simplicity of the skill.

Approximately 80% of learning through what is seen.

  • Need for a technical “correct” demonstration by coach

What appears simple for you may be complex for others

  • Neuronal Variability (“Runner” vs. KA Athlete)

Two approaches commonly used in teaching simple skills:

  • Imitation method
  • Demonstration / explanation / practice / correction method

The Imitation Method

Simple imitation is often the best way to learn.

It requires

  • Correct demonstration by the coach
  • The athlete to focus on what is to be imitated or copied,‘’ Watch this… try it’’.
  • If the imitation is accurate this should be confirmed,‘’ Yes. That’s it. Now remember that feeling and practice it’’
  • When minor corrections are required point them out in a clear way.

Demonstration / Explanation / Practice/Correction Method

1.Demonstration with a brief explanation

2. Allow time for practice. Observe carefully, looking for

  • correct actions
  • common errors.

3.Provide feedback while practice continues. If necessary  

  • top practice and confirm correct actions
  • make suggestions to correct errors.

4.Allow further practice

  • If needed correct in more detail 

Complex skill methods of teaching

Complex skills

  • actions/movements that an individual cannot easily learn by the methods used for simpler skills.

A competent coach is able to

  • evaluate the beginner athletes
  • simplify the skill to their level.

Commonly used approaches to teaching complex skills:

  • Shaping
  • Chaining

Shaping – Making the Whole Action Simpler

Hurdles “rhythmic sprinting”:

Stage 1: Athletes sprint from a line over 5-8 sticks placed flat on the track spaced that athletes have 3 strides  between the sticks

Stage 2  Sticks are replaced by very low obstacles that offer no resistance if hit

Stage 3  Hurdles at their lowest height replace the obstacles

Stage 4  Hurdle height is gradually increased hurdle space is gradually increased.


Demonstrate and explain

  • Whole movement
  • first part and practise it
  • first 2 parts and practise these
  • first 3 parts and practise these
  • Continue until build whole skill


Teaching the shot put

Chaining– Combining Simpler Parts

Sample Chaining Shot Put:

  • Link 1  Holding shot correctly in the hand and against the neck
  • Link 2  The putting action from the shoulder, elbow, wrist, and fingers
  • Link 3  Starting position at the rear of the circle
  • Link 4  Glide across the circle
  • Link 5  Power Position
  • Link 6  Delivery and release
  • Link 7  Recovery

The shot is frequently taught:

  Links: 1, 2, 5, 6, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7.

Provide Demonstration

  • Decide purpose and type of demonstration
  • Position so all can see and hear
  • Focus on one or two key points
  • Silent demo, repeated •several times •several directions
  • Ask, “Would you like to try that, or would you like to see it again?”


“The information provided to a performer during or after an activity which enables the performer to assess the success or failure of his or her performance. Feedback is regarded by many as the single most important factor in the acquisition of skill.”

Main sources of feedback

1.Naturally available feedback from within the athlete as a result of making a movement.

  • intrinsic feedback
  • “inner eye” / kinaesthetic  
  • always present for the athlete but they may not always be aware of it.

2.Additional / augmented feedback to the athlete by external sources

  • Coach
  • Other athletes
  • Spectators
  • Mirrors
  • Video replay.

This feedback is sometimes referred to as extrinsic feedback.

Increased Kinaesthetic Feedback

Provide feedback

1.Observe several times before giving feedback

2.Identify and reinforce what the athlete did correctly

3.Ask question(s) to raise self-awareness

4.Limit to one or two key, important points

5.Keep it positive

Quality feedback

“Common” Feedback:“That was good”

  • Motivating
  • No input for the learning process

Quality Feedback:   

“That was much better because you “freeze” throughout the movement

  • Motivating
  • Reinforcing the “Freeze” metaphor/concept (“holding of the posture after take-off”)

“Could you feel the difference ?” •“Activating” kinaesthetic feedback (inner eye)

“Now try again with a more dynamic double upward arm action” •Ask for concrete action/movement.

Key Learning Points on Skill Development

  • Learning by doing = motor density + quality feedback
  • Skill complexity is determined by the athlete not the skill
  • Athletes learn in different ways: find different ways to get the same message across
  • New skills can more readily be learnt if you build on existing skills and experiences
  • A motor programme is created which is a set of instructions for performing the new skill
  • Movement skills and technical development are always trained §the emphasis and methods change.