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Teaching styles in different sports Essay

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How can you alter your style of teaching to meet the demands of different practice and competitive situations for individual, racket and team sports?

In this assignment I will be looking at the different styles of teaching that are needed for different sports practices. For each different practice there are certain skills needed and so which different style you use is vital to how well the performer will do it. ‘Skill is the learned ability, through training and practice, to bring about the result you want with maximum certainty and efficiency’ (www.

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ntatt.org/glossary.html). There are two classifications of skill; open and closed. An open skill is when the environment around where you are performing continually changes e.g. passing in football, whereas, a closed skill is where the environment doesn’t alter much e.g. penalty in football.

‘In 1986 Mosston and Ashworth identified a range of styles, which were characterised by the amount of decisions that the teacher and learner made in the teaching/learning process’ (Honeybourne et al). It is important we use this because of the diversity of the students and how they all learn in different ways. Also, the fact that all the students will be of different abilities. In the spectrum there are 10 different styles, see appendix 1, they differ from ‘command’ to ‘self-teaching’, which basically is suited towards the ability of the group. However most coaches/teachers use a different variety of the styles based on the students. Below is a table of the different teaching styles in the spectrum.

I will now focus on just 3 of the styles and go into detail about each. With command style, the teacher will make all the decisions for the learner as it will be a complex skill they are doing or a new skill were the teacher will know what is best for the learner. At the start the teacher would probably show them a demonstration of what to do then talk them through as they were doing it themselves. It is also good for practicing closed skills as the environment isn’t changing it means students don’t have to think about the surroundings much like in the skill they would perform. For example, in trampolining, if there was a person who was just starting, the teacher would make sure the learner did everything they said, as they know best, otherwise, if the learner was in discovery mode they would probably injure themselves not knowing how to bounce or land properly.

Whereas, if you doing a racquet sport such as tennis you would probably use a styles C-F where you are now more focused on telling the learner how to improve as the skills are less complex. The styles between C-F are all pretty similar where the teacher will set students an activity and the students would learn from their mistakes on how to improve through a partner or the teacher. Also it doesn’t have to be the teacher who tells them but a friend or partner can correct them. The teachers could use reciprocal style of teaching when the task is simple and does not require much responsibility from the students such as passing back and forth in tennis and so this way the teacher still has control of the class. However, the students should be at a suitable age such as high school as they would know how to analyse and will have more influence over their friends than the teacher.

Furthermore, if there was a team sport such as Basketball styles H-J can be used. Styles H-J give students even more responsibility, teacher’s use a problem based style of teaching where the students are given an open task and have to find answers for themselves performing the tasks. However the performer must have a high level of intrinsic feedback otherwise they will not know how to improve.

The teacher would give them no prompts on specific skills and would allow the students to work without constant supervision, although the teacher would keep an eye on them to ensure they are completing the task. For example if they were doing set shots from the free shot line then they would learn best knowing were they went wrong such not enough power to far right etc. In the table below are advantages and disadvantages of the three teaching styles I have just discussed.

Teaching style




* Easy to keep control of large croups and ensures their safety, and prevention of injuries

* Learn skills more efficiently, and reduces the performer doing them wrongly.

* Most efficient use of time

* Following the instructions may be boring for students so they don’t perform skills properly.

* Students may have to wait for others to catch up so cant progress.

* Little outlet for creativity, doesn’t encourage thinking for themselves.


* Feedback from students can help them correct mistakes.

* Helps student to develop the skills needed for feedback and starts to enable learners to be access performance

* Helps communication skills for team sports.

* Hard if there is a large group as teacher may not be able to analyse feedback given.

* Therefore, some students could be giving incorrect feedback or abusive feedback to someone they don’t like.

Self teach

* Can help to focus on less-able students as advanced can set their own targets for improvement.

* Students learn how to motivate themselves and then can figure out themselves how to improve their technique.

* Students need to be mature with a high level skill and motivation.

* Requires knowledge of appropriate exercises and how they will improve your own skills

Also, when it comes to choosing the teaching style used factors that can affect the decision can include; safety, group size, improving performance, motivation, disability, goals, and phase of learning.

Safety – This is a big factor of deciding a teaching style because if a group is doing a dangerous activity such as archery a command style is needed to guarantee that the participating group are safe. Also if the weather is bad this may cause extra hazards which would need to be took into account.

Group size – If it is a large group partaking, then again a command style is best suitable, as in the advantages I listed it makes to easy to control large groups of people. Example: A P.E class of 30 students, with only one teacher. If there was a smaller group say around 10-15 then a reciprocal style could be used as you see how each group/pairing is performing.

Disability – If teaching a group with disability problems, command style is needed as the teacher will need to be able to control all factors where the group will be performing so they can change them according to the group, so all disabilities can perform.

Improving Performance – This is vital to highly motivated athletes as they will want to improve their faults whereas, low motivated athletes wouldn’t have the drive to self-teach themselves. So the higher motivated would use self-teaching and use their intrinsic feedback to help them correct their faults.

Motivation – this is linked with the above factor, as highly motivated athletes would be able to self-teach as they will be motivated enough to carry out the tasks alone. However, if the group isn’t very motivated then a reciprocal method may be used as they could be motivated to do well, to look good in front of their peers.

Goals – This can affect the teaching style of a group because if a group wants to win for extrinsic reasons then teacher decisional styles such as command would be best to ensure you get the maximum use of training, or if they knew how to improve they could use reciprocal and each performer evaluate their team-mate. However, if you were teaching a group only playing sport for extrinsic reasons then you would use problem-solving as it would mean the performers would try and teach themselves how to do things giving them more enjoyment.


Phase of learning (refer to appendix 2)




All types as some players may be more advanced than the others.

Low as they would have full safety equipment need such as boots and shin pads, also would listen to referee to reduce risk of in game injuries.

High because they would be very competitive during a game and they themselves would motivate themselves to win.

I will know show how the teaching still would differ for different activities and factors in schools.

The teaching style that would be best to use here could be individual as the coach would tell the players what to do and because they are in the associative or autonomous phase of learning they would know what to do when they’re out and their and give themselves intrinsic feedback.


Phase of learning (refer to appendix 2)




Associative as the group has played before

Low again as they would have the correct equipment in good condition and also would listen to the instructions set by the teacher to reduce injury whilst participating.

The motivation of these players would be mixed as some would not want to play and are doing it because they are forced and some might be high because they know they are good.

The teaching style to be used here could be reciprocal as the partner across the court could see where they are going wrong and help to improve them also it is practical as in tennis you need a partner to play against so it helps them with a match situation.


Phase of learning (refer to appendix 2)




Cognitive as it is not a sport done in schools so many would be new to the experience

High because it is a contact sport and involves hitting each other so gloves are needed also to match up kid’s size for size as the bigger people may hurt the little people.

High because they would be excited to take part in a new sport.

The teaching style that would be needed here would be command as the kids woiuld be high on adrenaline and if not given proper instructions would go around hitting each other. Also because boxing has many complex skills that need to be explained carefully such as punching otherwise you may punch wrong and hurt yourself.

This table shows examples of when a teaching style is used during a team individual and racquet sport.

Teaching style





Half time at a football match so that the manager can tell his players what he wants from them.

If a cognitive class were diving into a pool then you would need to command the class so they didn’t drown.

A beginner learning how to serve in tennis would need to learn how to do it in phases and can only learn if told directly by a coach.


During a basketball match if a player is not performing to their best then a team mate can give them feedback on what they are doing wrong, and encourage them to do better.

If they were a javelin thrower then they could use reciprocal get feedback of someone who might see a fault in the run up or throwing technique and give them instructions on how to improve it.

Performing badminton smashes an observer can help you see if you mistiming you smashes or if you are not jumping high enough and so helps you to improve your technique.


After a game of rugby if a player knows how well they did they can use intrinsic feedback to make sure they do the same next game if they were good or how they can improve by doing extra training to improve next game.

In boxing, during a break, a player can think if they aren’t connecting with punches how to get around that and ask their coach if they saw any weaknesses then use that to think of strategy to hit him.

In squash if a player is losing a lot o points from drop shots by the opposing player then they think to themselves to stand closer to the wall to get to them or make their opponents play shots form the back of the court to make it harder to do drop shots.

In conclusion all of the teaching styles have their advantages and disadvantages and no one style should be used exclusively. There is no one best style and teachers should choose which ever style they feel most comfortable with. So the style used should depend on the needs of the learners and the situation they are participating in. It is difficult to say which style offers the best suitability for learning because not all people will receive optimal learning by use of the same style. The important thing is for the teacher to be able to determine what style is most appropriate in a given situation and apply it with determination and confidence.

Appendix 1

A. Command

All decisions are controlled by the teacher.

B. Practice

Students perform tasks the teacher has set them on their own.

C. Reciprocal

Partner helps in some teaching/coaching approved by the teacher.

D. Self-check

Teacher plans and students monitor their own performance against criteria.

E. Inclusion

Planned by teacher, students monitor personal progress.

F. Guided discovery

Teacher provides clues to solving movement problems.

G. Problem-solving

Students find answers to problems set by the teacher.

H. Individual

Teacher sets content, student plans programme.

I. Learner-initiated

Student plans programme, submits evaluation to teacher.

J. Self-teaching

Student is teacher and learner, takes responsibility for own learning.


Appendix 2

Phases of Learning

Cognitive – This is the first phase of learning, when performers are doing something for the first time and so need to understand what is being done. In this phase trial and error helps the performer to progress as they can use there past failures to help them avoid this mistake in the future. So they need to understand why they failed in order to rectify it. To make sure the new performer understands completely the teacher may need to show demonstrations or other guidance so that he performer can recognise what is most important to follow.

Associative (motor) – In this phase the performer practices and associates their movements with a mental image in their head produced from past experiences. This sis where feedback now starts to occur and you tell the performer where they are going wrong and the learner gradually becomes more aware of complex cues. This is also where you’d start to see a vast improvement in performance.

Autonomous – This is the final phase of skill-learning and movements are becoming automatic without any thought process. The performer will ignore the environment around them and concentrate on peripheral strategies and tactics. Reaction times are shorter as the motor skills are stored in the long-term memory. Most performers would not stay in this phase as they need to continuously refer back to the associative phase to reinforce motor skills.

Paraphrased form Honeybourne, Hill and Moors (2004) Advanced PE and sport (3rd ed.) published by Nelson Thornes Ltd


Mosston, M., & Ashworth, S. (1994). Teaching physical education (4th ed.). Columbus, OH: Merrill Publishing Company.

Honeybourne, Hill and Moors (2004) Advanced PE and sport (3rd ed.) published by Nelson Thornes Ltd

http://www.hhp.ufl.edu/heb/classes/PET4742/PDF/AE.pdf – accessed on 10th November 2006

Kerry Dyke Teaching Styles http://www.mun.ca/educ/ed4361/virtual_academy/campus_a/dykek/page7.html – accessed on 10th November 2006

http://www.longroad.ac.uk/accreditation/subject_physical_education/acquisition_skill/teaching_skills/teaching_styles.htm – accessed on 10th November 2006

National Training Agency Trinidad and Tobago Glossary of terms www.ntatt.org/glossary.html – accessed on 29th November 2006

Jonathon Doherty Teaching styles In physical education and Mosston’s spectrum http://www.sports-media.org/sportapolisnewsletter23newlook.htm – accessed on 10th November 2006

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