Motivation & Learning

What to Discover or Recall:

Discover that motivation is the most important factor in learning.
Realize that learning is best when it is fun.
Comprehend that coaches must possess contagious energy, excitement & enthusiasm for the game.
Understand that basketball skills and techniques must be learned and practiced at game speed.
Repetition is a must for motor skill learning.

| Motivation | Learning | Motor Skill Learning |



Motivation is the force that initiates, guides and maintains behavior and habits. It is what causes everyone to get started. The key to get motivated is to make it easy to get started. However, it is much easier to finish a task that it is to start it. Most players struggle and find it difficult to generate the motivation needed to get started and achieve their goals. However, if they have a schedule, they will generate the willpower and desire. Having schedules also makes decision making automatic.

Motivation can be either intrinsic (a self-curiosity or desire to know) or extrinsic (a definite or must need to know). In basketball, self or intrinsic motivation is the most effective and long lasting. Player motivation can be also influenced by reward and punishment. However, both reward and punishment are more harmful than helpful. They are temporary and counterproductive. Once reward or punishment is no longer provided, behavior reverts back to its original state. As a result, in basketball, it is much better for players to be self-motivated anxiously looking forward to practicing rather than a fear of going to practice.

Motivation improves a player's:

Motivation is definitely enhanced when:


Type of Learners

Learning Types

Coaches are responsible for making learning interesting, relevant and fun. However, with the current emphasis on games and winning, the vast majority of players today are experiencing bad experiences with coaches and basketball. This is a real problem. It is mainly the result of basketball coaches not being adequately trained, certified, and accountable.

There’s no one size fits all when it comes to learning. In fact, everyone is different. However, there are four common types of learners. In teaching basketball skills, to be successful, coaches must be cognizant and utilize all four of these learning techniques.

  1. Visual.Visual learners best comprehend information by visualizing relationships and ideas.

  2. Auditory. Auditory learners are all ears.

  3. Kinesthetic . Kinesthetic learners learn physically by doing and exploring.

  4. Written Word. Written Word learners learn by reading and writing.


Learning is best when . . .

... it is appropriate to the emotional and physical maturity level of the players.

... the physical and social environments are conducive for learning.

... the coaching staff is enthusiastic, well versed and knowledgeable.

... it involves strong support and encouragement (under-achievers will excel on occasions, while the talented are consistent).

... it includes activities using as many senses as possible. Learners remember 10% of what is read, 20% of what is heard (75% is forgotten after 2 days), 30% of what is seen (majority of learning), and 50% of what is heard and seen.

... it is sequential and logical, progressing from concrete to more abstract concepts (one on one skills before five on five skills).

... it involves activities that are appropriate to the specific situation. The best way to learn basketball is to practice BASKETBALL.

... it involves constant repetition and practice using correct techniques.

... it is purposeful and fully understood by the learner (boxing out on rebounds).

... it is the result in functional understanding. Players must gain a working knowledge of the game (what, when and why should be very clear and specific).

... it encompasses the teaching of cognitive (knowledge), psychomotor, and attitudinal (confidence) skills to develop the complete player. Attitude skills are the toughest to achieve.

... it is FUN.

5 Stars

Motor Skills Learning

The learning and perfecting of basketball skills require active active and purposeful participation on the part of the players. However, to be effective, these basketball skills and techniques must be learned and practiced at game speed. Many factors affect the rate which basketball players learn the skills of the game. The primary findings derived from research in motor learning are as follows:

  1. Motivation - motivation is probably the single most important factor used in acquisition of basketball skills.

  2. Conditioning - motor learning is directly dependent upon physical conditioning. Superior conditioning does not just happen nor is it acquired quickly. It is the result of a well planned and executed program of exercise, rest, and diet with rest and diet being just as important as exercise.

  3. Progression - motor learning takes place from the general to the specific. Players must master the fundamentals before more complicated skills can be learned.

  4. Specific - motor learning is specific. Skills must be learned at the same speed which they will be performed during a game.

  5. Practice - repetition is a must for motor learning. The greater the number of times nerve impulses are sent over the nervous pathways, the more firmly established they become until what has been practiced becomes automatic or a habit.

  6. Correct Techniques - proper execution is important. Since bad habits can be practiced as well as good ones, it is imperative that players begin building correct habits from the start. Pay attention to detail. Precise execution and footwork are vital.

  7. Tension - learning is best accomplished under conditions of limited stress and emotional pressure. If the tension level is too low players are apt to become lackadaisical. There is also evidence that most properly prepared teams have a high tension level at game time.

  8. Participation - motor learning demands active and purposeful participation on the part of the players. The best way to learn basketball is to practice BASKETBALL.

  9. Mental practice - motor learning also requires visualization and mental practice. Players should think about the skills and intricacies of the game. More learning and improvement takes place if this is done between practice sessions.

  10. Progressive - new techniques replace older ones as motor learning progresses. The highest level of motor learning is that level which learning is related to the individual in such a way that the knowledge enables him to become self-disciplined.

"If you treat a man as he would be and could be, he'll become what he could be and would be; if you treat him as if he is, he'll remain as he is". -- Goethe



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