What It’s Like: How to Use Analogies in Teaching and Coaching

Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, Sport Psychology

Just for fun, the next time you teach or learn something, try to refrain from using a comparison or a connection to a different but related concept or idea to help you solidify your understanding or the understanding of others. Chances are you will find it difficult to do so. The seminal book Ways with Words: Language, Life and Work in Communities and Classrooms by anthropologist and linguist Shirley Brice Heath gives some insight into the reason. Ways with Words chronicles the processes by which children in three communities in the southern United States acquire language, with the parents in one community prompting their children by saying, “What’s that like?” They encourage their children to compare new words, phrases, and concepts to ones they already know.


Use Relatable Analogies

Essentially, these parents are supporting their children in using analogies to further their understanding and acquisition of new knowledge. In his research, statistics expert and teacher Michael Martin noted, “We can use analogies as a bridge between familiar situations and new situations, [as well as in] representing abstract ideas in terms of concrete or physical structures.”

learning, coaching, learning theory, coaching with analogies, analogies

Analogies deepen our comprehension, and using analogies helps teachers and coaches reach students and athletes.


To access the content, please login.



A career as a coach or trainer is a never ending opportunity to learn, grow, and re-invent yourself.


You don’t get to pick the problems you solve because everyone who you come across is different: Different genders, ages, fitness levels, disposable time, disposable income, and almost always unsure of their commitment.


Here on Coaches Only we update the content regularly, we go in lots of different directions, and we engage with experts in all walks of life so long as they help coaches and trainers in pursuit of a fulfilling career.


There are no simple answers to how to be a good pro. No one can sell your services for you. There is no silver bullet for success.



That’s why you should sign up, be present, and when the opportunity arises, also take the initiative to contribute to the conversation.


Coaches Only is for independent coaches and trainers who believe in the value of their work and have a love of this industry.


Coaches Only is for professionals who strive to make a career that lasts, has impact, and rewards people who work hard at it.



See more about: