Watching cricket over the summer, I realised just how inconsistent and unfair we can be as coaches to our players.
Players can do exactly the same skill the same way and in the same match context and we give them different feedback based on the result.
EXAMPLE 1  – Cricket
David Warner belts a cover drive over the boundary for 4. Feet did not move, bat away from the pads and no movement of weight forward. “Beautiful shot” wail the plethora of past cricketer commentators. Next ball exactly the same scenario but he snicks the ball to slips and is caught. “Undisciplined”  “Poor play”, wail the same commentators – “He did not move his feet”. However he played the same shot in the same match context and ONLY the result was different.

Example 2 – Football:
Rory Sloan (ex Upwey lad) picks up the football on the wing and heads off to the goals. He burst through a tackle and kicks a 50m goal. “Great play”, wail the commentators. “Way to take the game on” they chant in unison.  Rewind back 30 seconds and Rory Sloan picks up the ball on the wing again but this time fails to break through the tackle and is caught holding the ball. “Too slow”, “selfish”, “goal hungry” may be some of the terms thrown Rory’s way by seemingly intelligent ex-football commentators.

The good thing now is that I am hearing the very best football coaches applaud Rory for both actions and, both results even though the results were vastly different, because they were the same decision being made and both actions were actions the coach was seeking. In this case, taking the game on. If this is what the coach wants then as coaches we have to take the rough with the smooth and, the successful outcomes with the unsuccessful outcomes.

In the cricket example, the 4 runs hit by David Warner was the wrong action unfortunately giving him an initial positive result. The action may also have been the correct one if this action was in the final overs in a limited over game. Whatever the result, we have to judge the actions  of the player for what it was, without our unfair benefit of seeing the result then trying to sound like a know all.

If one of your kids dumps and wins the point then you need to judge the decision to dump NOT based on the result. If you cheer and pump the air like the legend coach you are when the kids wins with the dump, then when the kids dumps again (in exactly the same match context) and gets picked up, you may be unfair in demanding that the kid swings away, “attacks”, “be positive”, and the old, “don’t be a wimp” are comments that are often made.


We all need our kids to be responsible for their own decisions and by and large kids will mostly accept that.
As coaches we DO NOT HAVE the right to judge their decision based on the result you have just witnessed, (unlike the football and cricket commentators continually do). Letting the kid know dumping in that situation was OK, but did they see that the setter was up there ready, the blocker had pulled off the net or there was no block and a swing was the best option, is a far more positive way of giving feedback.

Good luck in the upcoming season.