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8 Week Coaching Challenge - Week 3

A well-known swimming coach was having a regular catch up with one of his athletes. During this meeting he absent-mindedly wrote down three areas the swimmer could improve.

A few months later, at a team gathering hosted by that swimmer, the coach noticed the scrap piece of paper he wrote on was stuck on the athlete’s fridge.

When the coach enquired about the piece of paper, the athlete replied ‘Coach, that is the only thing you have ever written down for me and now I can be reminded of what I need to do daily’.

Coach Challenge 3: Give written feedback for each athlete in your squad.

The process of writing the ‘report cards’, taking the time to reflect on the progress of the athlete will be good for you.

The process of reading the ‘report cards’ and discussing it with you will be invaluable for the athlete.

MORE: Why ‘Fast Tracking’ isn’t good.

This doesn’t have to be complicated, nor time consuming. But there are few requirements.

  • The report card should be simple and easy to read
  • As a guideline, think of addressing the technical, tactical, physical, mental and cultural aspects of your sport.
  • You should also think about the softer, but arguably the more important, skills, e.g. leadership, competitiveness, attention to detail, etc.
  • Aim to give your younger athletes two positive comments for every one aspect they need to improve.
  • Feel free to show the athlete where they are in ability, but it is probably more important (especially at the developmental space) to show them where they are with regards to effort and attitude.
  • Have a ‘rating scale’ (perhaps A to E?) with demonstrable and measurable actions associated with each letter. For example, an ‘A’ in ‘Professionalism’ might include having spare equipment available. If they achieve this action they get the ‘A’.
  • A rating scale is a good start, but the athlete also needs a pathway to improve. Therefore the report card should contain an area with some prescription on what they can do to move forward.
  • Simply giving your athlete the report card may be adequate, but you’ll see a significant boost in engagement if you make time to sit with them and use it as a starting point for some in-depth discussions.
  • Be open to change some of your ratings, especially with regards to effort and attitude, if the athlete provides evidence.
  • Don’t do this just as a one-off.

Thanks to Propelperform for providing us with the opportunity to share such an awesome resource!

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