As coaches, one of the issues we continually find ourselves faced with is providing feedback to our players. Some kids are open to feedback and do what they can to take the information and improve while others seem to dismiss what we say. Most of us find the second group of players to be extremely frustrating to deal with. When I read the article linked below, I started to think about coaches and how open they are to feedback. Much like players, coaches who are unwilling to think about and act on the feedback they receive will stagnate. In a club like ours, that is a terrifying thought.
Most of our better players are putting themselves in situations and places
where they can grow. Those situations may be team training, ODP, outside camps
or guest playing with other teams, just to name a few. They are getting
constant feedback from coaches, other players (through words and seeing how
they fit into the mix-never underestimate the power of a kid seeing where they
are compared to other kids. The open minded kids will see where they are
compared to the best kids) and their results. When I say results I mean wins vs
losses, success within the game, playing time, making State or Regional Pool,
etc. Feedback can come from a number of places. Our kids are striving to get
better all the time and are getting feedback in that quest from a number of
different places. The ones who will grow the most take that information and use
it. The ones who will grow the least do not.
So the kids are getting feedback and getting better. Are their coaches doing
the same? Are we growing as coaches and people at a rate that matches our
players? This is important on multiple levels...we need to grow as coaches to
continue to challenge the kids as well as to meet the demands of the game as
the level the kids can play at increases. I also think it is important to model
that behavior for our players. How can we ask them to grow and change based on
the information they receive if we are not willing to do the same? Are we
taking courses and reading journals? Are we watching other coaches (including
our opponents) in games and training? Are we looking at our kids and seeing
where they are deficient and why? Are we open to feedback from the kids and
parents? Are we asking other coaches to watch a game or session and give
feedback? How do we take the information we receive?
These ideas are uncomfortable for a lot of coaches, but I heard a top guy speak
this summer and he had an interesting observation. To paraphrase, "If you
are afraid of change, I hope you like the idea of being obsolete." As a
coach if you are not open to feedback and change, the kids will pass you by,
then the game will pass you by.