Topic 9 – Give feedback

Give Feedback

After the many practices and games, gathering data and analyzing it, it is necessary to give feedback to players in order for them to know to work on a skill, keep doing one action, stop doing another action.  When giving feedback it is important to give feedback in different styles, and remember many strategies while giving feedback.  When giving feedback, the goal is to either change players behavior, or encourage them to keep doing something.

Before giving feedback, coaches can ask questions to encourage self-analysis by the players themselves.  Asking questions during games and practices will allow for players to start working on themselves even before the coach has official feedback for them.  Using this strategy moves the progression of teams forward because players can work on their skills earlier than if they waited for feedback from the coach.  While players improving on their own is beneficial, sometimes players can go down the wrong path.  For example, players could work on a skill, but use incorrect form without instruction.  It is important for the coach to ensure that players do the correct form before allowing them to continue working by themselves.  Overall, asking questions is a beneficial way to speed up the analysis and feedback process.

When giving feedback, it is important to deliver the information in a positive manner.  Rewards and penalties are one way of giving quick feedback during practice.  For example a reward would be a medal at the end of the week for “hardest worker in practice.”  This reward would encourage players to work hard during practice.  Positive reinforcement rewards are viewed as a better motivator than negative reinforcement, an example of this would be a player not having to do an activity like running, or something they view as negative.  Giving players a penalty for not doing something would be a negative way of receiving feedback, and is not recommended.

In general at practice coaches should try to create a positive environment.  If coaches are in a negative mood and mindset, players will be too.  Coaches should try and make practice an enjoyable experience during a players day.

Limiting information is critical when giving feedback.  Giving too much feedback at once can overload players to the point where they do not remember or gain any information.  Try and focus on one issue at a time, this will increase the players performance when focusing on the drill.

Again, checking for understanding is essential when giving feedback.  If players do not understand the information they are receiving, it could all go to waste.  To check for information, simply ask the player if they understand.  Another way to check for understanding is to watch the player attempt the change in their behavior.  Watching the player perform the new skill would be more informative than asking them if they understand.  Sometimes players think they understand, when in reality they do not.  Either way, there should be some sort of checking for understanding, if players do not understand they could not receive any benefits from feedback.

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