Perhaps the most crucial part of coaching is our delivery of feedback to athletes. If we can not effectively give feedback, we are of no value to an athelte in my opinion because at that point our knowledge and expertise is not useful- does not translate to the athlete. Here are 7 Principles of Feedback to remember when coaching:
Feedback is hard to receive- Athletes are not equally receptive to feedback, interject with caution and know the athlete's preferences for feedback and how they will receive your feedback on an individual basis.
NOTE: When feedback is inconsistent with one's own self-image, it's harder to receive.
Feedback isn't often internalized at the time it is received- There may be a certain lag time associated with the feedback you are giving. Athletes may not understand this feedback for days, months, or years even. Be patient, consistent, and hopefully they will come around.
Feedback is easier to receive from a trusted source- As a coach, make yourself an honest and knowledgeable person. Do not give ambiguous feedback or directions. For example, "I'm not sure if you go left or right during that drill", this statement makes you seem like you don't know what you are talking about and may unintentionally tell an athlete you don't know what you are doing.
Feedback is received easier when offered with a calm presence- In my opinion, always coaching with a fire under your ass and with an "in your face" style is not productive and will become very old. Try screaming everytime you give feedback and I'll time how long it takes the athletes to stop listening- 10 minutes, an hour, certainly no more than 2 practices and I wouldn't listen either.
Feedback is more effective when communicated clearly and specifically- This could almost sum up this whole post. If you do not tell an athelte specifically what to do, don't expect them to do it. Communicate clearly what you envision in the drill, play, etc. Remember to use aids to cater to all learning styles (June 15th post), such as visual aids, drawings, descriptions, etc.
Feedback can only be absorbed in small doses- Overcoaching really makes me mad, especially at the youth or developmental level. Focus on one thing and master it, then move on. I know most kids are on meds (misdiagnosed) for ADHD these days, but they should not be expected to receive paragraphs of information at one time.
Thanks for reading, see you tomorrow for our Wednesday Review!