More thoughts on the coaches’ toolkit – what’s in yours?

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:

  • Instruct
  • Demonstrate
  • Observe
  • Analyse
  • Intervene
  • Praise
    • maybe better – Affirmation
  • use Silence
    • NOT stand-alone – must not be an “absence” of engagement
  • Question
  • Feedback

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.

Anything new?

I also like to utilise the Cs

  • Challenge (“can you do this?”/”how would you do this?”)
  • 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?

One thought on “More thoughts on the coaches’ toolkit – what’s in yours?

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