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How to Provide Meaningful Athlete Feedback

How to Provide Meaningful Athlete Feedback

Sport Tech

70% of kids drop out of youth sports by age 13. The primary reason? Lack of feedback.

When a coach takes the time to provide detailed feedback on a consistent basis, it helps bridge the gap between an athlete’s expectations vs. actual performance. This feedback works to steer athletes in a direction towards growth & development, as they know exactly what to work on and why. And when athletes see themselves improving, they are more likely to register for the next season.

This blog will dive into the two types of feedback—positive and constructive. We define what each type of feedback means, discuss their benefits, and explain how often athlete feedback should be provided throughout the season.

What Are the Two Types of Athlete Feedback?

Positive Feedback

Taking the time to positively comment on an athlete’s skill set improves motivation and enjoyment in youth sports, amongst the many other benefits.

However, given the vast number of players that are drafted to your team each season, finding the perfect opportunity to provide feedback can be difficult. SkillShark makes it easier by allowing coaches to offer athletes feedback through scores, comments, and videos during evaluations. Once an evaluation is complete, athletes will have this information in a report card format, delivered directly to their inboxes before they are home from an evaluation.

Benefits of Positive Feedback

Improves confidence

Athletes often look up to their coaches as a role model. When they observe their “role model” taking the time to recognize their efforts and achievements, they will have a stronger sense of self-confidence. If a coach believes in their capabilities, then they will too!

Boosts team cohesion

When positive feedback is given from a coach to an athlete, that athlete will have a strong desire to uplift and encourage their teammates, providing positive feedback to their teammates during a game or after a practice.  

Drives motivation

For instance, if an athlete is recognized for their strong attacking ability in volleyball, they won’t want to stop there. Rather, this snippet of positive feedback will motivate that player to keep working harder in attacking the volleyball during challenging situations.

Promotes goal setting

As positive feedback motivates an athlete to work harder during practices & games, it also encourages them to set positive goals. For instance, if a coach praises an athlete’s fast skating time, the athlete might be motivated to set a goal for an even faster time by the end of the season.

Constructive Feedback

On the other side of positive feedback is constructive feedback. Constructive feedback shouldn’t provide a negative experience to the athlete. Rather, athletes can take these learnings and apply them during practices to improve their performance.

Constructive feedback criteria

Goal oriented

Constructive feedback should be connected to a clear outcome. For instance, if you are telling an athlete in soccer to work on their dribbling, explain that better dribbling leads to improved control of the ball. In this case, In this case, enhancing ball control can become a long-term goal that the player will be motivated to pursue.

Specificity

Nothing is worse than being vague, as athletes will have more room to interpret the meaning of your feedback. Rather than saying “Work on your dribbling,” say this instead: “Improve your dribbling under high pressure situations. We will work on helping you practice dribbling in tight spaces, like a cone weave, to ensure you have better control of the ball when opponents are coming at you.”

Timeliness

Providing immediate feedback right after a tryout or practice helps athletes absorb more of that feedback. If a great amount of time elapses between when a practice takes place and when that feedback is provided, athletes will often have a hard time connecting that feedback with their actions.

Therefore, if a coach provides constructive feedback right away, that player will be able to easily recall their actions (i.e., what they did wrong) and correct their technique.

Other Benefits of Providing Athlete Feedback

Communication with parents

Whether parents are dropping their kids off at practices or are present in the bleachers, finding the time to individually communicate with them is challenging; there just aren’t enough hours during practice! With SkillShark’s athlete report cards, a digital copy can be sent directly to parents as well. This way, parents are equally as informed on their child’s progress.

Increased registration numbers

As enjoyable as sports can be for athletes to form friendships and take part in an extra-curricular activity, athletes want to make sure they are progressing their skill set. When feedback is provided regularly, athletes will know what they need to work on to make that progress happen. Since progress takes time, athletes will be motivated to register for the following season to continue their growth.

Improved team performance

Positive and constructive feedback is vital for personal growth. When each athlete is provided with consistent & clear feedback, their skills, confidence, and motivation improves. Now imagine the impact on team performance when each athlete is provided with meaningful feedback? Your team will display higher levels of skill and competence as each athlete has dedicated themselves to improvement.

How Often Should Athlete Feedback Be Provided?

Athlete feedback

Athlete Feedback & SkillShark

1. During an Evaluation

Score Athletes

  • Subjective scores: Ranking scale of 0-10.
  • Choice metric: Needs improvement, average, and excellent.
  • Single score: Single measurement such as 40-yard dash.
  • Multi scores: Record multiple scores such as pop-time.
Scoring athletes

Add Comments

Insert any positive or constructive qualitative feedback here. Use SkillShark’s pre-filled comment feature to draft comments ahead of time and insert them into evaluations on the fly.

Add comments

Attach Videos

Add videos so athletes can see themselves performing a select skill(s) they are being evaluated on.

Attach videos

2. After an Evaluation

Whatever you include during the evaluation will show up on athlete report card for each individual player (and their parents) to review.

Athlete report card

Athlete report card on SkillShark

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Danielle Stringer

Danielle is a dynamic content marketer with a unique blend of creativity and analytical expertise. She is driven by her passion for helping companies scale through lead generation, always finding distinctive ways to connect with her audience. Drawing from her extensive background in B2B SaaS, she is thrilled to apply her skills and knowledge in her current role at SkillShark Software Inc.