NZ Coach links: August 2018

3 August 2018

The NZ Coach newsletter for August 2018


Science v Bigfoot

Put your hand (and opposable thumb) up if you have been on a coaching course where there was a presentation on learning styles. Or, if you have received a coaching resource from your sport with a section on learning styles. Or, if you have tried to integrate the concept of learning styles into your coaching.

(You can put your hand down now.)

Learning styles has been one of the ‘stickiest’ ideas in coaching for many years. But, guess what – learning styles don’t exist. At least, that’s what neuroscientists like Daniel Willingham tell us, and a few educational researchers, and a few other ‘alphabet people’ (I’ve done a bit of digging).

To hear Willingham put his case forward, look at the first link this month: the unambiguously entitled Learning Styles Don’t Exist, plus the supporting link. Now, I’m not on a crusade to create learning styles non-believers, and I’m not, as Willingham comments in the supplementary link, suggesting there isn’t a need for differentiated coaching. However, it’s interesting to me, in this evidence-based age, that learning styles live on despite a credible narrative suggesting it may be time to consign it to the annals of pedagogical history.

Of course, we love a good story. Especially when we can connect it to our own story, as people so often seem to be able to do with learning styles. As I heard recently, the story is ‘our unit of intelligibility’, which may explain why we still love the idea of the Loch Ness Monster, Bigfoot, and big-headed aliens driving UFOs. Mythology and story-telling connect with us in a way scientific results can find hard to match, no matter what the level of significance.

Ngā mihi
Brett Reid, Community Coaching Consultant

“Science is organised knowledge. Wisdom is organised life”
– Immanuel Kant 

Learning styles don't exist

Professor Daniel Willingham describes research showing that learning styles are a myth.
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Re: Learning styles don't exist

A clarification of an important point on this learning styles video.
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The puzzle of motivation

Career analyst Dan Pink examines the puzzle of motivation, starting with a fact that social scientists know but most managers don't: Traditional rewards aren't always as effective as we think.
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Pep talks – does a motivating pre-game speech suit every athlete?

Nearly every movie about sports or coaching ends with a powerful pep talk from the coach that gets all the athletes fired up and ready to go.
[Coach Logic]
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Coaching wisely: Pat Summit

Excerpts from Building a Championship Team with the Definite Dozen (2008)
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Bob Bigelow training coaches

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Finding your heart in coaching

The most important question any coach can ask, is "Why do I Coach?”
[Wayne Goldsmith]

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How do you coach young people when life changes? 

[UK Coaching]
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Top 14 books that have impacted you as a coach

Based on your response to my Coaches Book Survey asking you to list the books that have made the biggest impact on you as a coach, leader, and person, here are the top 14 books as recommended by your fellow coaching colleagues around the world as "must reads."
[Championship Coaches Network]
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The future of sports coaching – a word from the experts

A sports match is far more multi-layered than we ever give it credit for: there are far more factors involved in the decision-making process than we realised.
[Coach Logic]
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