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Closing that feedback loop - The tricky bit! | Welcome and General

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Posted in: General

Closing that feedback loop - The tricky bit!

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  • Coach_Browning

    As coaches we are all used to giving feedback to players but what mechanisms (if any) do you have for obtaining it from them?

  • hadon.westerby
    • Open questions 
    • Extrinsic feedback - from the coach, or time/score etc
    • Guesstimation - if a timed activity etc, ask athlete to guesstimate their performance first - before revealing any facts. This helps to build a greater self-awareness in the athlete, and perhaps aligns coach/athlete better also.
    • How did it FEEL - Athletes who have reched an autonomous stage of learnng - might be better asked about how their performance felt - this shoud be divorced from the result/outcome. Again this could help them to become more attuned to their body/mind etc. (intrinsic feedback)

    The timing of feedback is also important. During the performance (concurrent) or after the performance (terminal). 

    Not all feedback is helpful! I recall a story about archery competitors shooting towards a target whilst in the early stages of learning a new technique. Their accuracy dipped, so they dismissed the technical intervention. The coach then made them shoot into thin air (no target), and asked about how it felt - getting a more positive response. 

  • Coach_Browning

    Thanks Hadon. Some nice stuff here - thanks for sharing

    Slight rephrasing of the question though. Rather than getting feedback from the player/athelete on their view of their performance, or what they thought could have gone better etc...what about their feed back on the coaching/training process?

    So essentially, their feedback on your performance.

    For myself, I am now at the mid-point of the season. Preseason and the first 4 games all in the bag. Its a Uni sport so all the players have gone home for the Christmas break, ready to come back in the new year. 

    Through the year we get a lot of immediate feedback - utilising many of the things you say - from the players about thier performance and we tweak things as we go along where appropriate. In this period we undertake a longer look, through film study, at player performance in order to find areas that need to be worked on. 

    However, I have also asked my positional group for their feedback on pretty much everything and anything that they wish to raise, and in particular coaching aspects, in order to find out if my view of how they are being coached differs from how they feel they are being coached.

    I am wondering how others approach getting feedback from players about themselves. Any tips?

  • dancottrell1

    There are two main challenges with trying to get feedback.

    First is that the "feeder-backer" may not have the skills to articulate what they feel. It's the same challenge for a doctor trying to diagnose a patient's illness. The patient is not an expert in medicine.

    The second is that feedback can stop the flow of activity.

    To overcome the first, I have learned over time to use the following strategies.

    1. "And?", silence

    Just after the skill has been performed, I will engage the athlete and simply say: "And?" and I will shut up. They can then fill in the resulting silent space with whatever they want to say. No prompts. They don't have listen to the question, interpret it.

    2. Body parts analysis

    Instead of asking a very open question, isolate a body part and get them to tell you about that part. "Where did your head end up?" "How did your feet feel?"

    3. Peer group feedback

    Split the team into groups of two or three. Give them 30 seconds maximum to come up with some feedback. Get two of the groups to share the feedback, picking on a certain player within that group to share their thoughts. Thinking about our second challenge, this needs to be done quickly. 

    On the second...stopping the flow...

    Questions during training can be a de-energiser for the session. What player wants to stop something they are enjoying? Here's a few ideas I've developed which might be useful...

    1. Feedback on the run

    Ask players questions during the activity. Quick questions for quick responses. Do this as you move around the activity. Don't shout across the activity.

    2. Plant the question

    "At the end of this section, I'm going to ask you how your head position affected the outcome?" Less stoppage time for thinking when you come to the feedback part. This is also useful for first challenge.

    3. Feedback with hand signals during the activity

    Thumbs up, or down. Smiles or sad faces. Claps. Pointing to the body part.

    Finally, a great book to read which flips the question:

    Thanks for the feedback, Stone and Heen

    How you make the best use of feedback when you receive it.

  • andrewb62

    That's a really important question, Simon.

    I hope we get more discussion.

    One approach I have tried is to ask to ask a player what he wants to do next, and then to listen closely to the replies.

    • "More of the same" suggests satisfaction (but might also suggest complacency).
    • "Something different" might well mean that the sessions haven't been working (or, paradoxically, that they have gone really well, and the player is ready to move on to a new challenge).

    So - no answers there, then!

  • Wendyrussell

    There is a huge source of information on feedback/feed forwards loops in teaching, and I have been using this within my coaching. However how you gain this information will depend on what information you want from your players/athletes?

    1-about the session/to inform future planning- feed forwards

    2-for the players to develop a deeper understanding-what they think they need to improve (ask something at the start of a session/drill....perform the drill/game etc......pause at tthe end, pounce- on an athlete to answer it....then bounce to someone else- excellent in small groups) 

    3- any misconceptions that they might have- so you can correct it. In teaching this is called concept checking

    4- aims and goals of players and teams

    It will also depend on what you see as feedback- To me this is about what has already passed, so sometimes in the sporting world, not much that can be done to change this. It the feed forwards and how the athletes/coaches can use this new informstion to change, develop and improve performances. 

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