In Part I of Effective Communication for Coaches, Carol Rossignol (see right) of PSA Education and Accreditation, wrote about the importance of communication in the coach-student relationship. In Part II, she provides practical advice for coaches and emphasizes the need for positive reinforcement on many levels.
(Reprinted with permission from the Professional Skaters Association (PSA) and Carol Rossignol)
by Carol Rossignol
At the PSA Conference, Frankie Perez presented on "Communicating Excellence" in Chicago. Mr. Perez provided outlined the following three keys to communication during his presentation:
1. ATTITUDE - Intention, Self-Assessment, Modeling
- What is my intention?
- How is the quality of my communication with myself and others?
- Am I modeling excellence in thought, words and actions?
2. METHODOLOGY - Language Patterns
- Positive Internal Representations
- Metaphors - use of stories
- Sensory-rich language - involve as many of the senses as possible [Can you hear the edge or can you feel the edge?]
- Transformational Vocabulary
- Replace "BUT" with "AND" ["You did a great job and you can do it better."]
- Don't say "DON'T" [as that is what they will think of doing.]
3. PRACTICE - Listening and Giving Effective Feedback
Practice The Art of Listening
- Active [Be prepared to listen and utilize active listening techniques.]
- Avoid rehearsing or giving advice [Focus on the speaker's message.]
- It's not about agreeing or disagreeing [Recognize your biases and avoid their use.]
- Inviting [Focus on the speaker and show respect for the speaker.]
Practice Giving Effective Feedback
- Cycle of Excellence: a) Determine baseline of effectiveness; b) Engaging in deliberate practice; c)Getting feedback; repeat cycle.
- Sandwich Feedback: Positive statement; followed by a negative; followed by another positive
- Prizing: Don't hold any positive thoughts back
- 30-Second Rule: Say something positive or empowering within the first 30-seconds (sooner rather than later)
- "Seeing More"": Seeing more in a person and he/she will step-up
The following are some benchmarks adapted from the National Standards for Sport Coaches to see how effectively you communicate:
- Use correct terminology specific to figure skating skills to communicate intended outcomes and activities with skaters and coaches.
- Communicate high achievement expectations to students by providing positive feedback and instructive comments relative to student's performance.
- Gain the student's attention prior to giving instruction and check for understanding and comprehension before moving on.
- Provide feedback on student's performance, linking to overall goals of the skater.
- Use professional and age-appropriate language at all times. Use nonsexist and inclusive language.
- Pace instructional cues to allow students time to process information and respond with questions.
- Avoid over-communicating both in practice and in test or competition situations.
Remember it takes five positives to counteract one negative. Mark Twain said, "I can live for two months on a good compliment."