As a coach, we need to identify those skills that need work, but also identify those that are being performed very well. You are more likely to grab the players full attention in critiquing their play after you’ve recognized them for something they’ve done well.
“That was an awesome play, you made a great cut. You were in a great position and you had the defense beat. Next time, you’ve got to be looking for the pass sooner, or you aren’t going to get a reception.”
In the example above, we’ve identified three things that the player did well, and then offered a critique at the end. Compare that to a straight critique:
“You’ve got to be looking for that pass sooner, or you aren’t going to get a reception.”
Which scenario represents the way you would like to be coached? By balancing the positive and needed improvements with the player, we can be perceived entirely differently by the players and their parents. The first scenario will build confidence in the player that they are doing things right, the second scenario give the perception that nothing went right.
Be careful not to over coach the players by constantly critiquing their play. Consider the age of your athlete and be sure to allow them the experience of failure. this will give you an opportunity to coach them. If you never let them fail, you’ll have nothing to critique.
The same can be true of the officials. When officials call a penalty or foul, they are helping the coaches by giving them something to coach. Penalties and Fouls give you an opportunity to critique a player and help them improve. Some coaches view the officials as adversaries during the game, hoping they’ll miss a call. But a coaches perspective should be just the opposite. We want officials to make every call because in doing so, they are giving you an opportunity to improve your team.