I love feedback, I like the way it enables me to help others to improve and I like being able to develop myself based on feedback I’m given.
So when is feedback not useful? Why would anyone criticize certain feedback? When does feedback actually stop player/personal development?
When it’s constantly positive.
The whole point of feedback is to allow the person receiving it to learn, grow and develop. By always being positive you’re pointing out things that they either a) already know or b) inflating their ego so they think they don’t need to work on anything.
This goes for coaches too.
As a coaching team we ask for feedback, whether that is informally after sessions, or formally via surveys (we love a good survey monkey!) We ask basic questions such as coaching strengths, weaknesses and overall impact the sessions are having on player, pack and team development. Our most recent survey was used to develop some of our training plan for the coming season, and so far our players have been super receptive and loads more engaged in the sessions.
This process wouldn’t have been useful if the players hadn’t given us negative feedback. We already know, or at least acknowledge our strengths as individual coaches, as a lot of our planning revolves around those – but had we only been told what we’re good at we would have stagnated as a coaching team. Sessions wouldn’t have changed, players would have got bored and we wouldn’t have known what went wrong.
Negative feedback encourages growth – don’t get me wrong delivery of negative feedback is important, but it’s doubly important that it is actually given. Yes, you may upset someone in the short-term when you tell them they need to work on skill X, but at least they can take that information and improve. In the long-term that player will focus on improving that skill and will know where they need to develop. They will individually improve, and therefore your team will improve (and so on and so forth).
Feedback is important, but negative feedback is the most important.