A couple of days ago I tweeted (What! You didn’t know I was on Twitter? Then go here.) an old post on coaching and learning. For a quick refresh, the title is a quote by John Wooden. The basic interpretation is that the coach is responsible for learning by the player; until the player has learnt, the coach has not been successful in his teaching. Coaches must intuitively understand this at many levels, particularly as they often stress accountability to their players. But I digress…
Discussing this idea today, a point was made to me that I thought was worth adding to the ‘literature’ on the topic. The biggest reason that a player does not do what you ask them is that they think they are already doing it. Imagine the stress of the player who thinks they are doing what is asked of them, but are still not having success and are still subject to the ‘feedback’ (often negative) of the coach.
In this case, further explanation by the coach cannot make things better. He needs to modify his approach
Sometimes, video feedback is useful to show the player what the coach sees and what he is actually talking about.
Sometimes, the coach has actually not explained clearly enough to the player what the words he is using actually mean. So the player is understanding a different thing from that which the coach asked. Most often the player will NOT say ‘I do not understand’. It is ALWAYS the coach’s responsibility to recognise the situation.
Sometimes, the word/s used doesn’t resonate with that player. Different words have different meanings for different people. The coach may have to tailor his communication for each individual. And sometimes that word/s that resonate are not actually anything to do with the topic at hand.
Sometimes, the player does not understand how the technical requirement fits with the tactical / game requirement. In this case it is the context that must be explained rather than requirement itself.
Whatever the details, it is the coach’s responsibility to ensure learning occurs.
The lesson, as always, is, pay attention to John Wooden. And your players.