One of the main responsibilities of a professional coach is providing feedback that supports their clients’ learning and development. Feedback about performance can benefit your clients, athletes, or team in several ways, and two of the main functions are to motivate and to instruct.
Here are some tips on how to give feedback that helps your clients recognize and avoid their mistakes, and inspires them to achieve their full potential.
Motivational feedback attempts to facilitate performance in three ways:
- Enhance confidence, inspire gr eater effort and energy expenditure, and create a positive mood. Examples include “Hang in there,” “You can do it,” and “Get tough.”
- Serve as a valuable reinforcement to the performer. This, in turn, stimulates positive or negative feelings. For example, individuals receiving specific feedback indicating poor performance might become dissatisfied with their current level of performance. This feedback can motivate them to improve, but they should also have feelings of satisfaction that function as positive feedback when subsequent feedback indicates improvement.
- Establish goal-setting programs. Clear, objective knowledge of results is critical to productive goal setting because effective goals are specific and measurable. Thus, individuals benefit from getting specific feedback to help them set their goals.
Instructional feedback is used to provide information about specific behaviors that should be performed, levels of proficiency that should be achieved, and the performer’s current level of proficiency in the desired skills and activities.
When skills are highly complex, knowledge of results can be particularly important. Breaking down complex skills into their parts creates a more effective learning environment and gives the learner specific information on how to perform each phase of the skill.
Types of Feedback
Verbal praise, facial expressions, and pats on the back are easy, effective ways to reinforce desirable behaviors. Phrases such as “Well done!” “Way to go!” “Keep up the good work!” and “That’s a lot better!” can be powerful reinforcers. However, this reward becomes more effective when you identify the specific behaviors you are pleased with.
For instance, a track coach might say to a sprinter, “Way to get out of the blocks—you really pushed off strongly with your legs.” Or an aerobics instructor might say to a participant who is working hard, “I like the way you’re pumping your arms while stepping in place.” The coach and the instructor have identified exactly what the participants are doing well.
This type of movement-oriented feedback is also known as knowledge of performance (KP) , which is knowledge about the movement pattern that was used to accomplish the task goal.
Conversely, knowledge of results (KR) refers to information about the outcome of the action. For example, if a golfer’s practice goal was to consistently hit balls 100 yards with a short iron by shortening her backswing, then KP would be concerned with the length of the backswing and KR would consist of the actual distance the ball traveled.
Ready to Jump into your Coaching Career?
Sports Psychology Coaches have endless opportunities to work with athletes ranging from beginning to professional and all points in between. Some coaches build businesses working with youth athletes. Others specialize in sports such as triathlon. Other coaches work with teams in the college and pro ranks. There are no limits to what is possible for your career.
The Youth Performance Coach Certification is designed for new and advanced coaches and trainers who want to specialize in the areas of youth athletics, youth mentorship and leadership for the next generation.
If you are new to youth coaching, training and mentoring, this is a great launching point for your career. You will gain valuable insight that will give you the skills needed to make a positive change in the lives of youth.
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