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Ten Rules for Learning Efficiency
- Acquire good habits. Bad habits double the amount of work for the coach, because he she must first suppress the incorrect habit and then teach the student to react correctly to the same stimulus. Just as one can learn to speak a language well or badly, one can also acquire good or bad habits and behaviors in hockey.
- Confront players with problems that are within their capabilities—and also with slightly more complex and difficult activities that, after a certain number of trials, can be mastered without help from the coach. A feeling of capability and success generally nourishes and stimulates learning. When players are aware of their capability and receive some kind of reward for their success, learning will be fun and players will be encouraged to progress even further.
- Help players learn to recognize the result of every play immediately after the action is over. Players who are conscious of the results of their play in a given game situation will be capable of later reproducing or suppressing the vivid experience in a similar game situation.
- Teach new aspects of the game within the parameters of ones that are already known. People tend to learn more quickly when they already partially know the abilities and capacities that the coach is trying to develop.
- Practice the individual elements of a situation to connect the stimulus and response. The first phase of learning is to recognize a game situation that is composed of various elements. To better recognize a situation, it's important to practice it many times. Apart from facilitating recognition of a situation, the repetitions tend to strengthen the connection between the stimuli and the correct answer.
- Review and repeat material frequently. Because the loss of an ability or capacity starts right after the practice, repetition is vital to learning. A few repetitions succeed in activating only short-term memory. Transferring information to long-term memory requires repetitions of the same task, in the event the coach will vary these tasks on more than two occasions, in more than two training sessions.
- Vary the exercises and games. Without varying the content of a practice, you risk boring players. To avoid monotony, loss of concentration, and lack of motivation in the players—all enemies of learning—the coach must ensure variety in the session.
- Mix up the flow of content. The more similar the content of different parts of a training session, the higher the interference becomes between them. This is because the last thing learned is frequently superimposed on what was previously learned. Remaining on the same theme or method of presentation of the content for even 15 to 20 minutes can lower players’ concentration and interest.
- Motivate your pupils and players, be it through praise or a choice of activities that interests them. Motivation supports learning.
- Stimulate both the body and the whole mind. Bulgarian scientist Lozanov discovered a “super learning” method in the 1970s: maximum learning occurs when teachers use an activity to stimulate both the left and right hemispheres of the brain. Hockey’s traditional teaching methods often fail to adequately stimulate the right hemisphere of the brain, which harbors the creative capacities, intuition, and space and time orientation. Each training session should stimulate the body as well as both hemispheres of the brain.