VARK for Athletes and Players

From The Press, Christchurch June 9 2005

Headline: Learning principles in a new coaching book contributed to the Crusaders’ Super 12 success.

Sports Coaching and Learning was written by Neil Fleming, Graeme Robson and Richard Smith and outlines the different ways athletes learn and how best to coach the different styles.
Co-author Neil Fleming, a former employee of Lincoln University, developed a learning preference questionnaire which helps people to find their best possible way to learn. The four ways of learning are visually, aurally, by reading/writing and kinaesthetically, which is by experience.
Canterbury Crusaders coach Robbie Deans said he tried to expose the team to as many different forms of learning as possible. People learn in different ways and “as a coach you give yourself the best chance if you recognise that”.
Deans said after determining the different learning styles, he tried to adjust how he communicated with certain players. Most of the Crusaders were kinaesthetic learners, which was “not surprising”.
The book was launched on Sunday. Coaching manager for the NZ Academy of Sport and co-author Richard Smith said the book was aimed at anyone involved in sport where learning was concerned. The book was not limited to players, and could be used by other learners such as referees and officials.
Smith said as far as he knows the book is the first in the world to combine learning preferences with sport coaching. It was not complicated and the aim was to “provide a coach-friendly tool”.
Head coach of the New Zealand Cricket Academy, Dayle Hadlee, said he too had been using the learning preference techniques. Hadlee said being aware of the different learning styles allowed him to coach groups of players and individuals, differently.

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