Mistakes? or Opportunities?
It is pretty much accepted that making mistakes is an essential part of learning yet we sometimes then take the easy route to shortcut their learning - by giving players the answer. Clearing out some old files I stumbled across the below from 2008 and whilst this may be six years old, I think many of the principles are still current and worth consideration.
Strategies for managing mistakes to the players’ advantage
· Allow for self correction and monitor progress – if the challenge is right and the learning outcome clear given the time and opportunity players may well put mistakes right themselves without the need for the coach to intervene.
· In an all action activity which is interesting and challenging the group may not readily notice the coach speaking quietly to individuals. But beware – players will talk later and if you only ever speak to individuals about their mistakes the group will soon know what your strategy is; so mix it up with praise for good play.
· Ask a question. ‘What were you thinking when you tried that?’ It gives players a chance to explain their actions and what they saw. After all you may well be quite a distance from the action and not really see what they did and more importantly why they did it.
· Get into a positive mind set. Look for success rather than failure, after all most mistakes are 90% right. So work on the positive side. ‘I like what you did here and here, did you see this possibility?’
· Talk to the group as well as individuals. Remind and re-enforce the key elements that get success and get players to show positive examples via quality demonstrations.