Coaching Tip Of The Week #30

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Name first 

“Name first”

Have you ever been in a crowded place, and amidst the many chattering voices hear your name?  You don’t hear the details or even snippet of any other conversation, but you always pick up the sound of your name.  People are attuned to hear their own name. 

And yet, our basic form of address when speaking to someone is to put their name at the end of the sentence.  “How’s it going, Mark?”  “What time is it, Jimbob?”  “Do you want fries with that, Sir?”

In that crowded place we just discussed, if I wanted to get someone’s attention, I would not say “How’s it going?”.  There is no way for the person to understand in the din that they are being spoken to.  First, I would use that person’s name.  “Mark! How’s it going?”

It turns out it is not a function of the amount of background noise.  If you try the experiment in a group with two other people who are not paying attention, for example playing with their phones, you will instantly see that the same holds.  A person’s attention is piqued when they hear the sound of their name, NOT when you start to speak.

This seems like fairly important information for the coach.  If you want to give an individual player feedback from across a noisy, or at least if you want that feedback to be understood, you need to call the name first.


The collection of Coaching Tips can be found here.


For more great coaching tips, check out the Vyacheslav Platonov coaching book here.

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