30 second time outs

Thursday, July 09, 2009

More on the Mistake Ritual

The beauty of the mistake ritual is that it allows players to flush, brush off, throw away, or put mistakes behind them. The only part of the mistake a player needs to remember is that part that teaches them. So we don't want players to simply "forget it" we want them to learn from it. Depending upon the sport you have 5, 6, 9, 11 players to coach and any number of them may have made some mistake on each and every play. You don't have time to make all those corrections so a simple sign or symbol says the rest. If they don't KNOW you saw it - they also don't KNOW it's OK... so you have to do something. If that something is a verbal barrage they'll be afraid of making a mistake next time and if it's a litany of instructions we run the risk of "Paralysis by Analysis". If it's a simple "mistake ritual" it may say, and do, all you need in mere seconds.

I wrote about the few things that have to happen In order to learn from mistakes. The most important thing is that the player must Recognize that a mistake was made. If the player recognizes it on their own, there is no need for the coach to pile on. As a coach, most of the time you can tell whether they know or not - if not you may need to let them know, and thats alright. A player must also have some Reassurance that it's OK and they can play without the *fear* of making another one. That's why I like the word "encourage". It EN-ables players to play with the COURAGE to try... without the fear of making a mistake.

Sometimes, if a player doesn't know what they did wrong, they may need some of that Re-instruction. This works best if it's a short "trigger word" rather than a long explanation. Communicating your terminology and an economy of words is key when it comes to coaching - especially during games. A word or two and they should know what correction they need to make. Whatever your "ritual" is, if the players know it means, "I saw you made the mistake, it's OK, (insert trigger word here), now let's go!" they can learn AND move on. At that point the most important thing they need to get Ready for the next play. They can't do anything about the last one. Except learn from it.

You might ask, "Do we want to treat a mental mistake the same as striking out with the bases loaded? That would lead me to consider "when a mistake is *not* OK". By using a "mastery" definition of winning where trying your best, learning what you can, and bouncing back from mistakes is more important than the scoreboard, it is simple to define what mistakes are not OK. Those that come from lack of effort or repeated mistakes that indicate a lack of learning. Those need to be dealt with. But it's not the "mistake" and how it effects the score that is the problem - it is the action that caused the mistake. So we go back to the drawing board put in more effort, learn some more and try again. Without the worry that accompanies scoreboard watching.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Great Article!!

Thanks for sharing..

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