Teaching Styles in SportsFew things are rarely as simple and straightforward as they appear. Teaching is an ideal example of this, especially if you’re teaching P.E. or sports classes for kids. According to Eastern Kentucky University, there are no less than 10 teaching styles. That’s a lot of different ways to instruct sports activities for children but, when you consider that each kid has his own learning style, 10 teaching styles might seem inadequate. No two kids learn the same way and, even for those who may have similar learning styles, a beneficial teaching style might not have the same effect for each child.

Whether you’re teaching gymnastics for kids, kids football or coaching track and field, it’s useful to understand how the different degrees of participation from the class and the teacher play into different teaching styles. Teach PE illustrates the teaching style continuum saying that teaching methods range from teachers leading the class with no student input to students taking responsibility for the lessons with little input from the instructor, and many combinations in between. It could be argued that teaching methods apply to any type of educational environment, and that’s true. In the case of teaching styles in sports, whether it’s kids football or soccer, most kids tend to learn well by doing or, in other words, practice, practice, practice.

First kids are shown how to accomplish a skill such as how to dribble a soccer ball. Then they’re allowed to work on mastering that skill during practice sessions. Sports coach Brian Mac points out that distributed practice is the most effective way to teach kids how to hone a skill. It incorporates planned breaks and it works because pushing the kids to the point of fatigue can eat away at their motivation and can lead to injury in some cases. The teaching style that incorporates distributed practice falls somewhere in the middle of the styles paradigm, with the instructor or coach directing the course of the session, but the players monitor their and their teammates’ progress with some help from the coach. It’s the coach or instructor who recognizes the different degrees within teaching styles and knows how to shift effortlessly between them, however, who is the most effective in teaching kids sports of all kinds.

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