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Beating the Odds

How Do People Improve?

Two things help any performer improve:

First is properly designed activity, the more game-like the better.

Second is appropriate feedback.

If your team is not improving, then look carefully at what you’re doing and how you give feedback.

My friend Kevin Reilly sent this sensational article on “The Five Feedback Traps.” Written by Brian McCormick for The Coaching Toolbox, it quotes the work of Dr. Cheryl Coker of New Mexico State University.

Here’s are summary on feedback traps:

More is not better.
Offering feedback too quickly.
Giving too much information.
Interfering with automatic processing.
Misdirecting attentional focus.

Any coach can relate to the first three. We’re all guilty of giving too much information. After all, we’re coaches, and we want to coach. But skilled coaches, like master musicians, know when silence is best.

The art of giving feedback is, like coaching itself, a lifelong study.

Remember, if you want your performers to improve, design game-like drills, then give great feedback.

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Mike Tully speaks to sports, business and educational groups. He also works with coaches, athletes and teams to make their practice time more productive and efficient. He and Gary Pritchard are co-authors of “Ten Things Great Coaches Know.” To see Coach Tully and Coach Pritchard discuss “Seven Ways to Prepare for Adversity,” click here.


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