Coaching Tip No. 26:

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Be positive – delete the negatives and coach positives!

When you coach do you ever tell or show your players/participants ways to ‘not do’ things? Do you ever repeat activities and practices over and over ‘until they get it right’? If you do, the chances are that you are creating a negative rather than a positive learning environment, creating opportunities for failure rather than success.

When I was first setting out on my coaching pathway I was lucky enough to be told ‘never coach a negative’ and over the years I have tried to stick to this principle. Being ‘positive’ isn’t that much of a difficult thing to do if you plan your sessions, involve the players in their own learning and development and make a conscious effort to avoid the ‘negative’.

When you model a skill or technique, emphasise how to do it well, not the things to avoid, or the ways of not doing it; if an activity or practice doesn’t go well or mistakes are made, don’t dwell on them, but move on and come back to the activity/practice in the next session – ask the players how they can get it right this time; when you play games in your sessions promote the things that are done well and ask questions to focus attention on areas for development (decision making, skill execution etc.) – see how long the participants can play without mistakes and if they can play for longer without errors than they did last time.

Remember that when it comes to coaching, two minuses do not make a plus – but lots of positives promote success!