Using Your Learning Preference to Your Advantage
It takes one lap around the gym to notice how different we all are. Boxing is a sport that attracts people from all backgrounds, ages and sizes. We all start as beginners arriving with our own intentions and goals, and because of individuality, we may progress at different rates, making the journey different for everyone.
For some, the first step into the studio is the hardest. For most people, it is the repetition needed to reach the next goal. To make each workout enticing enough to show up will require something different for each person. Knowing our learning preferences and incorporating these into our workouts will keep us showing up and making progress.
About Learning Styles
The subject of learning styles has gotten a lot of attention. Initially, theories developed as an explanation of the differences in learning abilities. Ultimately that theory has been debunked based on the inability to separate preference from innate ability. However, there is no disputing that we each have a preferred way to learn. By catering to these inclinations, success will come more naturally.
There are three styles that consistently show up in the ring: auditory, visual and kinesthetic. Each boxer will naturally take to one or two of these styles. Determining the areas that we lean toward will be the answer to sustained motivation. An experienced coach will pick up on our favorites right away, but with a little patience, trial and error what works best for us will be apparent.
An athlete that prefers to learn using sound is an auditory learner. You probably won’t see them working out without a headset because the sound of music motivates and podcasts inspire them. They will also be the ones asking questions and intently listening to experts for advice. Lectures and discussions are of great interest and high value to these contenders.
Auditory cues and encouragement will keep this person going. A coach that can accurately describe how to move the body will be of great benefit. They will demonstrate the action with their voice so that the boxer can match his or her body to the coach’s words. A verbal acknowledgment of an act done well will resonate and be remembered.
The repetition of sound is another learning tool for the auditory learner. It can be used easily with the rhythmic sounds of a speed bag. Or the sound of a specific combination hitting the mitts. Set the intention of replicating these noises, again and again, to see improvements.
People with a preference for visual learning will choose to receive information through sight. Notes, lists and schedules keep them on track. They are observers in and out of the gym and have a knack for noticing the details that others miss while remaining aware of the big picture.
Visual learners benefit from watching instructional videos or recorded fights and imitating those techniques at the gym. They notice new moves and exercises that their fellow boxers are using and may incorporate some into their own routine. A coach that can break it down and demonstrate the specifics of a drill or exercise will be invaluable to them.
People that fall into this category have the gift of imagination and can often picture themselves moving towards and reaching the goal. Coaching cues that engage the mind’s eye like “Imagine your arms are jackhammers” are excellent ways to keep them engaged and motivated.
Anyone considered a “doer” probably enjoys kinesthetic (also called tactile) learning. They learn by moving or “doing” the action to understand its concept. This contender will want to use all of the senses when training and will likely remember the sensations felt. They may say things like “that move feels right.”
How a movement feels is how this athlete determines if they are performing correctly. It ultimately becomes a point of reference. For example, to work on your uppercut, concentrate on how it felt when it was executed properly. Practice until the feeling arises again – then you will know you are on the right track.
Kinesthetic learners do best with routines. They should consider jumping right into any activity they wish to learn and quickly make it a habit. Include regular sparring matches and mock situations to advance your skills. Search online or ask your coach for real-life examples of what you are learning.
These are the most common learning styles, but it is not a complete list. Auditory, visual and kinesthetic are starting places. It can feel overwhelming when first deciphering what works for us, so take it slow but do the work – it will be worth it. The best training methods are never reduced to one size fits all. Think about your favorite boxers. If you break down each of their routines, no two are the same. They vary in duration, amount of rest, techniques focused on, amount/type of cardio and so much more.
One thing the greats have in common is a coach. If you already tapped into this source but want to incorporate your favorite learning style into your workouts – then simply approach the subject. Part of being a successful contender is learning to advocate for yourself. Speak up and tell your coach how you enjoy learning. A good coach will want to inspire and do anything they can to make training fun. A great coach will adapt to your learning style if you communicate effectively. You might even find that your coach has been using learning styles to adjust your training all along.
If you train independently, adding a favorite learning style or two is a great way to introduce coaching into your program. Hiring a coach will cut down on the deciphering stage, put a custom plan in place and have you seeing results. Gloveworx coaches are skilled in determining how an individual athlete prefers to learn. They have the experience and knowledge to design custom workouts that will keep you engaged and coming back for more.
Regardless of your current status (beginner to expert) a boxing coach will provide the tools to complement your personality, keep you in optimal health and always moving towards the next goal. Try and be mindful of your learning preferences during your next session at Gloveworx.