LESSON REFLECTION- AN ESSENTIAL HABIT FOR IMPROVING EVERYDAY
Is the next lesson you give going to be better than your last?
A couple weeks ago, I found the answer to that question to be a resounding ‘NO’. In the span of two hours, I followed up a home run of a session with what any critical coach would consider a total disaster. It wasn’t for lack of energy or concern, it was a momentary loss of focus. I’m not too proud to admit it– but I share assuming that I’m not alone in this experience.
Please tell me I’m not alone.
Similar to the befuddled golfer who follows up a birdie with a double bogey, I was a little distraught. How does the same coach give those two lessons back to back?
But like any failure, an excellent learning opportunity was presented— it forced me to recognize the value of honestly assessing my performance on a consistent basis. If getting better everyday is the goal, continuous reflection is an essential step.
First, I had to consider what elements are common to a successful session and which are noticeably absent in a poor one? Just taking the time to define what truly distinguishes an effective session was an enlightening experience.
Once you clearly establish the elements that differentiate a great session from a mediocre one, there can’t be any perplexing hit or miss lessons. You’ve demystified your personal drivers for higher coaching performance.
Take the time to sit down and develop your own unique list of ‘essentials’ to measure yourself against. Here are mine, a simple list of 7 critical elements:
MY CRITICAL COACHING ELEMENTS
Stylistic or Outcome. Did ball control trump any stylistic concerns?
Clear Goals. Was a clear goal that matches the students long term objectives established at the beginning of the session?
Preparedness. Did I review previous session notes, student goals, long term plan, current performance stats, and establish a game plan prior to the session? Were the students performance gaps accounted for to determine the best use of our time?
Delivery. How clear was my message— did I facilitate discovery through direct experiences that the student can learn and draw from in absence of supervision? Did I effectively integrate tools, training aids and imagery?
Engagement and Connection. Did I present a learning environment that promotes trust and engrosses the student in the process of improvement? Is our relationship stronger after the session?
Feedback. Did I deliver carefully crafted and well-timed feedback?
Practice Prescriptions. Does the student have defined activities that will make practice fun, engaging, and effective? Did I walk them through an appropriate mix of blocked, random practice, and games to promote transfer?
Once you’ve determined your ‘Critical Elements’, plug them into a spreadsheet and commit to spending five minutes at the end of the day for a brief evaluation.
Without this moment of reflection we risk losing sight of the big picture. We can become immersed in the momentum of the day and possibly stray from our most crucial priorities.
Honestly and objectively grading myself against my ideal standard each day has been a massive revelation. Whenever I catch myself violating my ‘rules’ (and it’s easy now that they are so prevalent in my mind), I can quickly take corrective action. That is improvement.
The continuous examination of daily performance all but guarantees progress. No deficiency goes undiscovered, no weakness unattended.
Instead of random moments of clarity and confusion, frequent reflection allows you to take control of your performance and actively orchestrate improvement. Give it a shot and share your experience here. If you are striving to get better, I don’t know how you can afford not to.
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