Coaching Tip Of The Week #42

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42 - specific

“Be specific, not relative”

“Shorter”

“Longer”

“Higher”

“Faster”

“Slower”

“More left”

“More right”

These are the things you will hear every day in thousands of gyms all over the world as coaches provide the vital feedback that drives change and is necessary for improvement. Like so many things coaches do with the best of intentions the effect of this feedback is limited to exact instant that is given.  The player cannot use this feedback again in the future. This feedback only has meaning when compared to the previous action, i.e. it is relative feedback.

When giving feedback, like in every other aspect of coaching, it is important to be specific.  And with technical and tactical feedback the goal must be to create a model of the activity that can be used all the time, even when the coach is not standing next to the player.  So instead of relative terms, the coach should always be using the specific terms for the model he wants to create.  Instead of ‘higher’, say ‘make the setter jump’ or ‘set through the target’ or ‘jump maximally’ or ‘swing early’ or whatever the case may be.

But whatever you do, be specific, not relative.


The collection of Coaching Tips can be found here.


Read about the great new Vyacheslav Platonov coaching book here.Cover v2

 

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2 comments

  1. Your premise is reasonable in theory but I’m not convinced your examples stack up. Is “swing early” really more useful than “swing earlier”? The second suggestion moves the player in a direction. The first suggests an absolute without reference points… without discernment… without connection to the unique needs of any given situation. And it assumes the player is conscious of what the absolute (that you are asking for) looks or feels like.
    Relative feedback in the midst of a specific context can move a player towards a deeper and more precise understanding of what is required – an understanding that IS generalisable and definitely useful in future situations.
    What you say is true only if you seek to coach based purely on technical principles and this will leave much individual potential untapped within the learning journey.

    Like

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