Types of Guidance

When learning new skills in sport different types of guidance are required.

This guidance is given by teachers or coaches.

The types of guidance are:

  • Visual guidance
  • Verbal guidance
  • Manual guidance
  • Mechanical guidance

Visual Guidance

This is often used when teaching motor skills so that a performer can see the whole action.

Examples include demonstrations, video clips and observing technique from images.


  • Provides the learner with a mental image of what the skill should look like.
  • Good for less complex skills with little information.
  • Draws attention to the key points.


  • It must be accurate or it could be learnt incorrectly.
  • Can de-motivate the learner if the skill is to complex (I can’t do it etc)
  • Can overload beginners with information.

Verbal Guidance

This is often used with a demonstration (visual guidance) to talk through the skill. It involves simple, clear explanations.

Examples include giving tactics or information and explaining how to perform a skill.


  • It can be given quickly.
  • It allows key information and feedback to be given immediately.


  • Players must understand the basic terminology used for it to make sense to them.
  • Can give too much information.
  • Learners could become bored or confused.

Manual Guidance

This is used when the skill is dangerous or complex. Teachers/coaches will use a ‘hands on’ approach to ensure support the participant and keep them safe.

Examples include supporting somebody to do a somersault on the trampoline or a vault in gymnastics.


  • It builds confidence.
  • It reduces danger.
  • It gives the participant a ‘feel’ for the skill.


  • Learner becomes dependent on support.
  • The proximity of the coach can cause issues for both.

Mechanical Guidance

This involves the use of equipment to support the learner whilst practising the skill.

Examples include the use of floats in swimming to help to develop the kicking action.


  • It builds confidence and ensures safety.


  • Learner becomes dependent on support.
  • The feel of the movement with the guidance is different to the actual movement.
  • The learner does not get an opportunity to correct mistakes in the technique.