The need to present deficiencies in ways that inspire
Coaches who have reached the highest level of their profession often find themselves in their own philosophical conundrum. Coaches by nature are normally very critical people, but having a critical eye is something all good coaches should possess. In football and in life, it is the coach’s or Manager’s or parent’s job after all, to facilitate his players’ improvement.
Without a keen eye for the details and techniques necessary for success — that would pose an insurmountable problem. Being able to discern the element of a professional players’ game or employee’s shortcomings (or young child’s struggles) that needs improvement is only the first part of coaching.
It is necessary to present these deficiencies in a way that inspires the player to an even greater level of performance. That can be the coaching conundrum at any level.
The delivery of the evaluation is just as important as the content. The majority of coaches, even at the NFL level, emphasize the areas of the players’ performance that needs improvement. Coaches have been conditioned throughout their coaching career to find the weaknesses in the opponent and in their own players.
Coaches have always believed if a performance is good it can be better. Therein lies the conundrum.
When your players are performing well yet constantly bombarded by criticism of how they can be better, it will tear down the players’ psyche. It can quickly breed a mentality that nothing will ever be good enough so why try to achieve anything that is not easy and comfortable.
A great coach can:
- Take the same resume and first and most importantly reinforce the positives of the performance.
- Filter in some of the weaknesses that can improve the performance slowly.
- Spread these out so as to not take away from the positive aspects.
- Explain the video of players performing the techniques and displaying competitive attitude you are trying to achieve.
This positive mental intermarry of the tasks you want performed are more likely to lead to that destination. Mental pictures of what not to do often leads to more negative actions.
Emphasizing the positive is not ignoring the elements that must be improved to alter all of your team goals. Team members must know you are honest in your evaluations. This leads to trust. Being honest in post-performance evaluations will help in game planning for your players’ strengths.
Too many coaches spend an inordinate amount of time trying to fix a weakness rather than play to strengths. By playing to your team members’ strengths it is a much smoother transition to address their weaknesses.
Great coaches utilize their team’s talents best and inspire the players to improve their weaknesses. The same can be said for great parents and great managers as well.
Legendary basketball coach Bobby Knight would preach:
“Mental is to Physical as 4 is to 1.”