The 3 R’s of Learning Skills in Physical Education

The 3 Rs Learning Motor Skills 1

Episode Transcript:

You know the academic world has three R’s, but guess what? We have three R’s in physical education also related to skill learning. Let me tell you more.

Welcome to the PE Express podcast. Today’s host is the author of Dynamic PE ASAP and professor Emeritus at Arizona State University, Dr. Robert Pangrazi.


When I’m teaching skills, I like to share with my students the three R’s, and I think they relate to everything about learning. The first one is repetition. I tell my students, we’re not going to do something five times. We’re not going to do something 10 times. We’re not going to do it 15 times. We’re going to do it over and over and over forever. Kids want to tell you, if you tell them to try this, see if you can do it and they do it once. It may be an accident that they did it. For example, shooting a basket. They may throw that ball up at the basket and it goes in and they think, I know everything there is about basket shooting and the point is even the greatest of all athletes continue to do more repetition every day as they strive to perfect their skills. So with my beginning students, they need lots of repetition to get it somewhat ingrained into them, but it’s just as soon as they’ve learned the basic skill, now I can start to talk about refinement.


In other words, we’re going to do this skill over and over and over, but we’re going to do it with good coaching. That’s where the teacher really becomes important because now I’m going to share, well hold your elbow in or raise your elbow higher or step towards the target. All those cues that you give your youngsters are all refinement cues. And the purpose is to get them to do better and better and better knowing full well that they will never reach perfection because in sport there is no perfection. You’ll never do anything perfect. So that’s the second R.


The third R is reflection early on when youngsters are first learning their skills, they have to do lots of repetitions and they have to refine their skills. With your help. They need you. You’re going to tell him what, where, what they need to do to improve.

But the third, reflection, is a skill that you’re going to give them and you could really think of it as self analysis where students are really have to think about how to improve themselves. And if you think about this, this is what’s going to make them lifetime learners. This is how as they mature into adults, they’re going to be able to take a look at their skills and learn how to self-improve and that’s reflection. That’s the third R. So if you think about it, if you can teach them those three R’s of repetition, refinement and reflection, you will make them learners. You will also teach them that grit is required in all this process of the three R’s. In other words, practicing the skill over and over, even when you’re tired of doing it and you’ll be the kind of teacher that will give them tools to be active for a lifetime because you taught them the three R’s.

Thanks for being teachers and making kids better people. Talk to you later.

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