The negative focus is prime in any review process as we strive to find what is wrong and put it right. So as a result is all we present to the individual player negative, and do all players expect only negative feedback.
I know from experience generally players will come into the review process with a very guarded or negative aura.
On many occasions I have said to players to relax as it was going to be a look at some very positive things they have done in the subject team performance.
Generally player perception is that review and feedback is the first step for a coach to justify and validate poor performance and subsequently deselecting from the team or group.
If we are to change perception and go ‘forward’ with this then the coach possibly needs to change his thought process. I would think that the coach has undertaken the review process in the hours watching DVD after a game and that he has then drawn his review process to a conclusion and is ready to give feedback to the players and other coaches.
So by the time the player is invited into this process we are in reality dealing with feedback based on our conclusions. From that feed back should come the opposite element of feedforward if that is what we choose to call it.
For the player to have some buy in ownership he needs to be given the evidence and opinion in a positive manner this can be done by showing examples of him perpetrating the focus points in a ‘can do’ manner as a comparison against times he has fallen away from the accepted level of competence so in reality you are pushing him towards consistency in an area he has demonstrated he can achieve a positive outcome.
The player will need to feel free to comment and the art here would be for the coach to guide the discussion towards the desired outcome.
I also think (my opinion only) we have moved the players away from the hard line and tried to soften the edges too much players need to appreciate that there is a place for direct but constructive criticism.
We nearly all have to make some mistakes in our lives and if we can recognise them and move to not repeat those same mistakes again then surely the feedback process can still be a valuable tool.
The negative side of that would be if we recognise the error but have nothing more than feedback/review to work on then it does become a very negative stagnant process.
Review – Conclusion – Feedback – Feedforward.
Finally younger age groups find the individual review process extremely awkward and uncomfortable. They would very rarely take any ownership or volunteer their own feedback for them it feels like a ‘tell process’.
Andy Kelly (Ireland Rugby League Head Coach)