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Beating the Odds

Two Powerful Coaching Tools

“If at first the idea is not absurd, then there is no hope for it.” ~ Albert Einstein

This is Day Two of the Gold Medal Squared coaching clinic in Catonsville, Md.

Though the sport is volleyball, the principles and ideas apply to coaching any sport. Two such ideas came across powerfully yesterday.

The first concerns feedback, and the urgency of providing quick, specific information on an athlete’s performance. One coach cited research saying a coach has only eight seconds to give athletes feedback on a skill just executed. After that, the athlete loses the connection between the feeling and the feedback.

Of course, verbal cues from a coach are only one type of feedback. There are, for instance, film and statistics. Those two, coupled with immediate, precise information on what the athlete did right or wrong, represent formidable tools for improvement.

The second powerful idea concerns focus. How do you get your athletes to concentrate, laser-like, on what they must do to improve? If you use a whiteboard or blackboard in your gym or on your field, write down the athlete’s name and then what that athlete should be concentrating on that particular day.

This idea works both ways: The coach can either assign an area of focus to the athlete, or invite the athlete to write down what they think is most important. Either way, the information is posted and public — making it more likely that there will be follow-through.

With increased feedback and sharper focus, improvement will come.

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Team-building coach Gary Pritchard and I have just released Part 7 of our podcast, “10 Things Great Coaches Know.” The theme this week is how to speed up progress and improve team results.

You can hear it here: http://www.willbeatskill.com/-Coaches_Podcast_.html

Once on the web site, scroll down and hit the play button.
Did you miss Part 1-6? click on the link below, then select “Listen Now.”

Enjoy! See you next week for Part 8 (only 2 more left).

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One final thought. Since we mentioned that in the NBA and NHL playoffs every game has been won by the home team, both games have gone to the visitors. The Los Angeles Lakers won in Orlando to take a 3-1 lead in their final, and the Pittsburgh Penguins won the Stanley Cup in Detroit last night.


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