I often hear coaches say they give their players constructive criticism. Some have said that this generation of players are too “sensitive” to receive it. I want to challenge all coaches and really any person in authority to try the concept of giving feedback instead.
Here is the difference. See constructive criticism – although in your eyes – you think you are really helping. As a coach and even a player I received constructive criticism and gave it. What I came to finally realize….At the end of the day – it’s still criticism. It’s like saying this will be a “friendly tornado.” It very well could be friendly, but you better get in a closet because it’s still deadly! A tornado is a tornado! So you can dress constructive criticism up however pretty you like, it is still criticism.
Coaches are not critics. Coaches are teachers of a specific sport. With that being said,we are not called to criticize, but instead to teach. So to sum this up – I encourage you wherever you are to give feedback.
When we break that word down – the first part says feed. Which means to give nourishment, vitamins, nutrients to someone. Ask yourself – am I pointing out the obvious “you missed 6 lay-ups last night” or am I giving them something nutritious to chew on? Instead you could say “Last night wasn’t the best performance that I know you’re capable of. Today I want you to practice your form, focus and finish of every lay up in practice. That is a priority for this team that you can address and help us get better today if your willing to?” – See I just said the same thing but which one motivates you to get in the gym and get better? Definitely not the first one!
The second part of the word feedback says back. Which means – metaphorically- speak back to this person (not down-huge difference). Remember you are in authority for a reason – you have passed their level of comprehension. You have probably been in their shoes at some point but you are now past it. So take a step back to their level and explain things in a way that will resonate with them. I’m not saying dumb down your material at all! I’m saying think about their perspective is not yet where yours is. Now they can grow to reach your level with proper teaching from their coach. You can encourage them to progress forward with proper nutrition you feed them or they may shrivel up from embarrassment or low self-esteem from criticism overload!
It could be that this generation is different, but they aren’t going away anytime soon. So we can all either keep holding onto old mindsets with new players or we can try a new concept that would give everyone what they seek. Let’s choose what works best for the people we coach, teach or manage.
Bio: Brenita Jackson has coached women’s college basketball for 8 years improving the culture at each school she worked for. She started playing basketball at Cedar Hill High School in Texas,USA and went on to play professionally in Aarhus, Denmark. She beganher coaching career while in Denmark leading the junior team to an undefeated season. She currently holds a Master’s Degree in Coaching and Athletic Administration from Concordia University in Irvine, CA.
Brenita returned to her home Dallas, Texas to continue her passion for coaching young girls and inspiring others to develop and use their gifts. She was recognized as 2011 Sportswoman of the Year by the Jacksonville Progress after winning the Region XIV Championship Runner Up Title along with developing the program’s first All American who’s jersey hung in the Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame in Knoxville, TN. In 2015 Brenita was voted the Region XIV Coach of the Year for a turnaround performance going from 3 to 23 wins in just her second season as head coach.
During her 8 years of coaching college basketball, 6 of them were with her husband Kevin Jackson who was a huge key to her success as a head coach. The two were recognized by the Houston Chronicle as “Couple a winning team on and off San Jac court.” The Jackson’s are known in the basketball community as coaches who care about their players, set high standards and teach life skills through the game of basketball. They founded a company called KBJ Academy where they travel to schools, churches and businesses to host team bonding retreats or leadership workshops. They also consult with coaches on changing the culture at a new school they just joined or consult with players on how to pursue playing college sports. They have experiences that they love to share with all transparency so others can learn, grow and succeed.