One of the big questions in coaching athletes at all levels seems to be “Can you coach confidence?” Some say that building and maintaining confidence is ultimately up to the athletes themselves, and at some point in the development and maturation process that may be true. For those who are working with young athletes, there’s a different line of thinking.
In case you missed it, the Ontario Minor Hockey Association recently published a fantastic article. Written by Richard Monette of Active for Life, the article centers on ‘The Confidence Formula’, a framework for helping coaches understand and deliver a critical third element — beyond learning skills and having fun — that rounds out the development of young athletes.
Consisting of three parts, the formula involves providing feedback to young athletes at every stage of the development process as a way to help build their confidence.
1: Provide brief instructional feedback during the initial skill-learning phase (Child’s Know-How) and let the kids discover how to execute a skill by experiencing it for themselves.
2: Provide ongoing prescriptive / encouraging feedback as the kids repeat the skill to achieve proficiency (Child’s Purposeful Repetitions).
3: And finally, provide feedback that lets the child know how much they’ve improved and progressed in the skill (Child’s Awareness).
What’s the rationale behind this approach to feedback-based coaching?
According to Richard Monette, a child’s self-confidence “will be dictated by their inner voice. If they tell themselves that they can or can’t, this will have a huge effect on how they learn and grow on and off the playing field. And that inner voice will be shaped by what they heard from you and other influential adults.
If they hear truthful and encouraging recognition of their own hard work and effort from you, that’s what will stick. They will use the same kind of truthful and inner language when they face a challenge, learn a new skill, or go through tough times later in life.”
Feedback is fuel.
As a bunch of people who are 100% focused on harnessing the power of feedback to fuel young athletes, we couldn’t agree more. Awareness of progress is a huge factor in learning — academic, athletic, and personal. PowerPlayer was designed with this kind of communication in mind, offering coaches a way to quickly and easily provide feedback and instruction to kids (and make it visible to their parents) at every step of the development process.
If you’re a coach interested in learning how PowerPlayer can help you deliver feedback and confidence to the players you work with, or a player or parent curious about what PowerPlayer can provide to you, give us a buzz.
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