Sportopedia Glossary

Implicit Learning

Implicit Learning

Implicit learning means understanding something without being told directly how to do it. In sports, learning refers to getting better at something through practice and experience. It includes getting better at physical skills, mental skills, and strategies. Learning is different from natural growth and temporary performance.

Implicit learning is a specific way of learning where the learner is given a task to do, but they are not told exactly how to do it. They also do not receive any feedback on their performance. For example, a basketball coach might ask a beginner player to shoot a free throw without giving them specific instructions on how to stand or move.

Instead, the learner relies on their intuition and feelings to do the task. Implicit learning can be slower at the beginning, and it is hard to keep improving over a long time. However, some researchers believe that implicit learning is more helpful than explicit learning when it comes to getting better at a skill or strategy in the long run (Masters, 1992).

Masters, R. S. W. (1992). Knowledge, knerves, and know-how: The role of explicit versus implicit knowledge in the breakdown of a complex motor skill under pressure. British Journal of Psychology, 83, 343 358.