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Helping our Athletes Retain Information

How can we can we help our athletes retain the information we teach them ?

All coaches, physical or mental, are always looking for maximal retention of the information we deliver to our athletes.

In individual or group settings the specific type of delivery of the information will determine how it is stored and later retrieved during performance.

Memory plays are huge a role in how information is received, interpreted and later accessed by the athlete.

But Coach does not have time to become a neuroscientist !

So to ensure the information is being heard and received efficiently, simply follow these 3 steps:

  1. Ask you athletes first for focused attention. Setting the right tone and emotion in your voice.

  2. Deliver a visual image of the task you are asking your athlete to do - remember today's youth have become visual creatures. They need to see it not just hear it.

  3. Then before they perform the task, ask the athlete to take this image and mentally rehearse it in their own mind, as they stand before you, do it a few times to reinforce your instruction. Is the image clear in their own mind ? Are there any questions ?

Do they need to walk through again from 1. ie: what is being asked of them ? Are you both seeing the same vision or is it different ?

If the athlete executes correctly when they go perform the task the vision has been shared.

If the athletes fails to execute correctly go back to step 1. walk through it again. This time add a joke, add a different emotion to the explanation to help the athlete relax and this will trigger the episodic area of the brain that involves emotion that can help reinforcement of retaining information. If athlete is not engaged or interested the information may not be absorbed and will go in one ear and out the other ! Distracted youth in today's busy world of technology is a real factor as attention is limited.

Remember...every athlete learns differently but simplifying the steps to aid retention will not only help the athlete but will support you in ensuring your athletes hear the instructions the way you want them received.

Coach B

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