Enhancing Athletic Performance with VARK®

VARK is used worldwide in a range of sporting contexts.  Many professional sporting bodies, national and state sports organizations, academies, and institutes use VARK in their training programs.

How is VARK Helpful, in a sporting context?

For Athletes

Knowing their VARK learning preference can help players select and use their best learning strategies. Once an athlete understands how they learn best, they can select appropriate learning strategies from the VARK Helpsheets for Athletes. For example, an athlete with an Aural preference may learn best through discussion with their coach and fellow players; someone with a Read/write preference is likely to find making bulleted lists useful and may want to write out any plays in sequence; someone with a Kinesthetic preference will find examples, demonstrations and trial and error very important.

For Coaches

Coaches and athletes can use VARK as a tool to improve communication, and communication is at the heart of coaching.  VARK provides an opportunity for athletes and coaches to discuss an essential aspect of any coaching – how their athletes learn. If it does nothing but open that possibility, it has served its purpose. 

VARK learning preferences can give coaches insight into the approaches their players prefer to use and can enable them to be more actively involved in their players’ learning. Understanding where their players are coming from is vital for a coach who does not share their learning preferences. For example, there is scope for frustration when a coach without a Kinesthetic preference is faced with the common learning strategies used by players with Kinesthetic preferences. For such players, the performance itself is important – they learn most from the real thing, so trial and error may be more important for them than following a strict game plan or theory.   They are often practical and impulsive, choosing to innovate even when innovation may not be necessary or desirable.   They often want to do it their way or do it differently because that is how they learn.  They may not be the athletes who stick to the game plan! Understanding this is vital for coaches, as many athletes will have a strong Kinesthetic preference.

Coach using visual diagram to discuss strategy

Interested in using VARK with your team?

To use VARK in your sporting organization, you must first apply for copyright permission to use the VARK resources. You can apply for permission to use VARK here: Copyright Permission Form

Read our Guide for Teachers and Trainers for guidelines about how to best introduce VARK to your players.

If you are wanting to find out the VARK preferences of your players, the best way is to use a VARK Subscription. This provides a dedicated URL for your players to fill in the VARK Questionnaire. They will find out their learning preference straight away, and their results will be automatically saved for you to access. The VARK Subscription site includes access to the VARK Helpsheets for Athletes, which provide sport-specific suggestions about the appropriate learning strategies to use in sporting situations. The purchase of a VARK Subscription covers any applicable copyright fees.

For more information about using VARK in coaching, we have an eBook available: Sports Coaching and Learning and for information about VARK in general, see our eBook: VARK Strategies: The Definitive Guide to VARK