I have been coaching with the current ECB Coaches’ toolkit for nearly three years, now, since I was introduced to the components on the Coaching Children CPD workshops back in 2014.
I had a relatively quiet August – just 5 days’ active coaching over the last month – so I have had quite a bit of time to think about how I coach. It was interesting to see how many of the tools were in regular use, and how my own kit has changed over time.
The ECB Coaches’ Toolkit comprises the following elements:
- maybe better – Affirmation
- use Silence
- NOT stand-alone – must not be an “absence” of engagement
So – what still works?
Praise vs. Affirmation
Reading around current best practice in education suggests that Praise, after a successful play, might be more effective if delivered as Affirmation – see Stephen Rollnick writing for Player Development Project on Praise vs. Affirmation, for example. Rather than “well done, that was good; now, can you do it again”, it might be more effective to say “you just did X; why did you do that/why did it work?”, first confirming a (successful) action or decision, then affirming that action or decision taken by the player as a sound one.
The sound of silence
I have realised that sometimes, especially when working with players for the first time, that my Silences can appear a little intimidating – players expect something back from their coaches, and Silence by itself can give the impression of an absence of engagement.
So now I might try to offer a running commentary on what I am doing (“just looking at your bowling action/how you play on the front foot”) whilst Observing and Analysing (silently), but still withholding any Feedback until later on.
I also like to utilise the Cs
- Challenge (“can you do this?”/”how would you do this?”)
- with an undercurrent of Sledging!
- Constraints (“can you still do this, now I have made it harder for you?”)
Does the modified toolkit work? For me, yes, it seems to.
What’s in your toolkit?