Posted by: lindsay | April 3, 2011

SRL & Sport: Parallel Processes

SRL & Sport

Parallel Processes in Sport & School


SRL parallel processes prezi from Lindsay McCardle on Vimeo.

So we’ve looked at the SRL cycle & how it can be applied in both sport & school contexts.

We went through the examples of Lucas practicing the squat clean and studying for a biomechanics exam. If we look at the cycles Lucas went through, we see that they are very similar. The tasks he is completing & the strategies he is using are different, but the fundamental processes that he is using are the same in both contexts.

Take a look at the charts you’ve made. Can you see how the processes you engage are the same in both contexts? It takes the same processes to be successful in school as you are using in sport. Even though it seems overwhelming to regulate your learning for school, you are already doing this in your training. Apply those same processes to school as you do in training & you can learn to be more efficient & successful in school.

There are a couple of important things to keep in mind when self-regulating.

  • SRL is an effortful process. This is especially true when you first start to regulate your learning.
  • Regulation is especially important when you encounter challenge. It is less important to regulate when things are going well, but when you run into difficulties, it is important to deliberately think about each phase, what it is that is working well & what you need to change.
  • Monitoring & evaluating are key processes. Regularly stepping back & thinking about what you are trying to do & how you can improve this is crucial to SRL. Keeping a physical record such as a journal about how things are going in your training or your studying is a great way to monitor & facilitates evaluation.
  • Finally, remember that you do a good job of this in your sport training. You can do it in school, too!

Back to SRL & Sport; SRL & Sport: What is SRL?; SRL & Sport: Example of SRL in Sport; SRL & Sport: Example of SRL in School



  1. I am just embarking on a course in Self-Regulation and your examples comparing self-regulation in sport and in the classroom are great for demonstrating to students what we mean by self-regulation. I find many students self-regulate well in their passion whether that be sport or something else but they can’t always translate that into the classroom. I wonder why? I feel like monitoring & evaluating are two processes that struggling students don’t often do or do well. Why can they do these processes in sport but not in the class?

    • Hi Kim, I completely agree. I think part of the difficulty is that the standards for monitoring and evaluating in academic work are often much more vague or abstract than in sports. It is easy to see that the puck went in the net, you’re still on the balancd beam, or you successfully lifted a weight. It’s much more difficult for students to generate their own feedback on how well they “know” the process of mitosis, the themes of a Shakespeare play, or the causes of WWI.

  2. As a middle school teacher I often times find it difficult to find common themes that are applicable to my entire class. I am currently working at an international school and part of what makes the community wonderful is the diversity but, in the same breath, it can frequently make finding common ground difficult. Further compounding this is the fact that my students are at such an age that boys don’t quite like girls yet, and their interests overall are quite vast. Having grown up a competitive athlete myself, I was immediately drawn to this concept of drawing a parallel between athletics and SRL. All of my students participate in clubs and activities either at a recreational or competitive level and, when asked, could state a goal that they have for themselves in terms of improvement. I think one of the difficulties in education we face as teachers is helping our students to conceptualize what the distal goal is in learning. In sport it is much easier to make a declaration of wanting to win the Provincial Championships, or wanting to over 25 goals in a season because these things are measurable. In education, the end goal would be to demonstrate that you know and understand something, which can be more challenging to measure. As we all know, some students may grasp a concept, but might not ‘test well’. With this, I think it is very important to ensure that we as teachers are providing a number of different opportunities for students to demonstrate understanding, in addition to constantly engaging in the monitoring and evaluating processes. Finally, I agree that we must promote productive self-regulation and always remind students that the SRL cycle is just that, a cycle, which means we may need to go through it a number of time to achieve success. Mistakes are just a part of the learning process!

  3. I am relatively new to the study of SRL, but I am finding more and more that I had been practicing it for years. As a teacher, I often relate work and different tasks to sports because that was my passion for many years, and it is often an easy way to connect with students on another level than the standard teacher-student. I have always believed that extra-curricular activities, in particular athletic ones, enhance and round out a student’s learning; that without other activities, students can’t learn the same lessons and abilities they otherwise would in a classroom. For the self-regulated learner, not only do athletics offer a chance to hone their learning abilities, it allows them to do so in a different way, thereby creating a healthier and more adaptable mind. I think this is especially important for younger children because it is an easy way to show them that “hard work pays off”, it is something more quantifiable than the understanding they are expected to achieve in class. In addition, athletics can give the child/person a sense of accomplishment that they may not feel in their academic studies.

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