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The Cognitive Approach

Cognitive Approach Blog Photo

Aug 12, 2020

Submitted by Kayode Mckinnon, C.E.O of Kayode Mckinnon & Co.

As its name implies the cognitive approach deals with mental processes like memory and problem solving. By emphasizing mental processes, it places itself in opposition to behaviorism, which largely ignores mental processes.


According to Dr. Caroline Leaf “our brain does not control us; we control our brain through our thinking and choosing”. There are many ways people learn, the most important of it all is through teaching.


Soccer/ football has invested heavily in talent and physical capabilities but neglected the brain development process as an important attribute for the long-term stability of the game.


The time has come for us to be proactive as coaches in how to train our players’ brain to succeed. “The brain processes raw data to extract information about the structure of the environment” (Dr. Jocelyn Faubert). So, as coaches we must create reality-based training methods using age appropriate standards to be displayed in games. As a former soccer player/footballer and present coach, I believe coaches compromise the correct methodology to satisfy the parents’ perceptions which enhances their business, but neglect discipline, focus and structure to set our athletes on a successful, holistic pathway.


Many Drills but Not Game Appropriate

Often times the mannequins, the re-bounders and organized cones, seems very attractive and professional, this is good for presentation but too many times the stimulus, objectives and goals are not game related. The practice sessions must be a rehearsal for the games, for individual progression, unit application and the entire team system of play, to be implemented in a high speed and an intense environment. The brain is set up so we can make choices and find solutions. It is important coaches and leaders create situational learning for the athletes to become more independent thinkers and solution finders. Athletes must understand even though our environment and culture play a major role in our predisposition, it is our choices that would determine our level of success. We must not fall victims to our biology or our geographical location, but rather think bigger and work harder to achieve life goals.


I challenge every coach to be more innovative with your certified knowledge, create reality-based sessions that encourages creativity and independent thinkers. Understanding this fact, what you think of most; is what you often times would do.


Be intentional about success.

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