All great leaders will tell you that one of the keys to success within an organization is communication.
It cannot be understated how important it is for every person to know exactly what their role is, what is expected of them, and what they need to do to individually to increase the chance of success for the team as a collective.
While everyone may agree with the statement above in theory, it can be very difficult to implement in reality. Most coaches don’t have enough time to meet with each and every player after training sessions or games to tell them exactly what they did well and what they need to improve on.
I don’t really care what medium you use to get information and give feedback to your players. All I care about is that you realize the potential benefits of doing this on a consistent basis.
With that in mind, here are five reasons why you should give consistent feedback to your players throughout the season.
1.) They’ll Know Exactly What is Expected of Them
As a player, my definition of playing well definitely did not line up exactly with the coaching staff at my club. Personally, I viewed a great performance as never giving the ball away, and never getting beat in a 1v1 situation.
The coaches, as I learned over the course of a few years, placed a much higher value on successful crosses into the box, 1v1 attacking, and defensive clearances. If I had known that information, I could’ve adjusted my focus in training to fit more into our style, instead of what I perceived as our style. My own personal demands for my performances would have lined up much closer with my coaches expectations.
2.) They’ll Know Exactly Where They Stand in the Team
I’ve played on teams in the past where I thought that I was the best player in training during the week. This probably wasn’t true (despite how unbiased I tried to be with my own performances), but when game-day came, I wasn’t always the first name on the team sheet.
I can’t put into words how valuable it would’ve been to my own development if I had known from my coach which sessions I did well in, which sessions I was poor in, and how that compared to my own personal standards AND the other players in the team.
It would’ve made it easier for me to push to do better, or ask at least ask the question, what do I need to do to make an impact and have a place in the team for the future?
3.) They’ll Have a Clear Plan of How to Improve
Not only does consistent feedback give the player a target to push towards, but it also indicates if they are trending towards good performances or poor ones. This can lead them to asking some great questions as to why they may be playing the way they are.
Are the late nights and partying catching up with my play? What do I need to change about my life to have a positive impact on my play?
As a coach, this can give me an understanding of if the player is listening to my feedback and taking the steps necessary to improve.
More importantly, it can indicate how much they really care about their own work. If that player isn’t aware of my opinion, I’ll never know as a coach if that was because they didn’t want to, or because they didn’t know.
4.) They Can Reflect on Their Work
The great thing about feedback is it can allow for honest introspection for the player. Without your feedback, they may have a completely different perspective on how well or poor they played, and your opinion and feedback can bring them back to earth.
It’s a critical part of growing as a player, and the myTrainer’s from Duktig are a great place to start if you’re looking to buy a soccer-specific journal for your players which will encourage them to be mindful of how they played and constantly striving to do better the next game.
Without self-reflection, there can be no mindfulness. Mindfulness is what allows players to go beyond just “going through the motions” in training and ask difficult questions about themselves and where they want to be as a player.
5.) It Shows that Everything Matters
If you only have a preseason meeting and an end of season meeting with your players, the odds of both your expectations lining up are close to zero.
If, on the other hand, you give feedback weekly or even daily, there is a much higher probability that you will see eye to eye with your player and the end of season meeting will be a summary instead of a surprise.
One of the biggest mistakes I always make is assuming because I know something, that other people know it too. It may seem like a small thing at first, but the reality is those small bits of feedback every day can really make a huge difference over time.
Giving feedback consistently shows that YOU are being mindful as the coach, and not just going through the motions.
It shows that you are paying attention, aware of how the players are playing, and using that information to create an extremely competitive internal environment, which will lead to everyone in your team improving.