Providing Good Feedback - The Art of Coaching

There is an art to providing good feedback.

I recently read an article in the Olympic Coach newsletter written by Cheryl Coker from New Mexico State University which I felt delivered some great tips for providing feedback to clients.

1. MORE IS NOT BETTER If you are constantly providing feedback after every rep of every set your clients may develop an overdependence on you. It is important for them to be able to actively engage in the coaching process - take the time to understand how they feel during an exercises, what works, what doesn't. If you give too much feedback they may simply wait for your response after every single repetition without ever actually understanding what is happening to them.

2. OFFERING FEEDBACK TOO QUICKLY Don't be in a rush to jump in with the feeback. Give your client time to process what has just happened. A good strategy is to ask them to assess thier performance before telling them what you observed.

3.INFORMATION OVERLOAD Don't overload your client with feedback. You may see ten things that need to be corrected but you should resist the temptation to bombard them every point. I like to keep my feedback to a maximum of three points. Pick the most important point and keep the feeback nice and simple.

4.INTERFERING WITH AUTOMATIC PROCESSING If you are working with high level athletes, much of what they do will happen automatically. It's easy to disrupt an athletes performance by providing feedback that makes them consciously focus on an element of a normally automatically performed movement.

5. MISDIRECTING ATTENTIONAL FOCUS Choose your words carefully! By telling your client not to do something will actually plant that thought into their mind. By telling your client not to worry about being unable to complete the required number of repetitions actually makes them think they won't be able to do it, something that may not have even crossed thier minds!