Soccer Skills:

“Three Second Feedback” Model Explodes Soccer Development

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Photo Courtesy: George Green

Proper, timely feedback explodes player development by addressing areas of improvement and providing a road map for correction and improvement. But, really who does it consistently? Performance reviews can be a hassle (and take time) in addition to the other work a coach needs to perform: training sessions, discipline, directions, etc. As a result, they are relegated to an end-of-season closure. Unfortunately, this is when they are least effective. Certainly, we can hope our players will develop during the off-season, but it certainly doesn’t provide the optimum benefit.

Providing clear and constructive feedback is essential to building great relationships and motivating your team. By providing feedback to our players in-season, we can reap the immediate benefits on the fly:

  • Players know exactly where they stand
  • Immediate correction and improvement
  • Provide a Goal that can energize and focus them

Feedback is critical, but how can we quickly and easily provide feedback to our players without arduous and time-consuming player reviews?

“Three Second Feedback” Model

Every coach knows a player’s strength and weakness. Feedback does not have to be a complete evaluation of the player, which is tiring and time consuming. What if we re-framed the Feedback Loop as “Three Second Feedback”? Now, feedback can be in any of the four components of soccer: technical, tactical, psychological and physical. It isn’t just limited to technical skills. Here is the model we advocate for quick feedback that explodes development:

  1. Positive point: I really like that you’ve been {positive point}
  2. Feedback point: An area where I see you’ve been struggling is {feedback point}. I see this particularly when {provide specific example of feedback point to make it concrete}.
  3. Positive point: Now, while you are working on {feedback point}, I want you to continue to {new positive point} to help the team accomplish {tie back to team goals}.

The “Three Second Feedback” model admittedly takes slightly more than three seconds…but not much more. We use the word three as a key reminder that you need to frame the feedback in three points with: positive, correction and positive. The following week you need to close the feedback loop:

  1. Positive point: Last week, we talked about {last week’s feedback point}. How do you think you did in addressing this aspect? {Great, I see that you’re working on it.}
  2. Feedback point: Now, something I wanted to bring to your attention where I need your help is {feedback point}. I saw this {provide specific example of feedback point to make it concrete}.
  3. Positive point: Now, keep thinking about and striving on {feedback point from week 1} while you are also working on {feedback point week 2}, I want you to continue to {new positive point}, which will help the team {tie back to team goals, which makes the process more important than just the player}.

Personally, I like to do this after game day via email. For me, this is the end of the week’s “testing period” and seems like an opportune time to start fresh with practice the following week. Some coaches may find this impersonal and want to do it as you start the next practice as players begin to show up. No matter your approach, employing this simple, easy “Three Second Feedback” model to your soccer players will improve morale, energize your players with areas to improve and ensure your players are developing.

It’s worth the three seconds.

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About the Author

Jerry Macnamara is "The Coach" and founder at Soccer Classroom. For more than thirty years, Coach has been a player, coach, trainer and administrator. He shares your passion for the game and helping players grow through age appropriate soccer skills and drills. Feel free to contact Coach with questions

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One Comment of ““Three Second Feedback” Model Explodes Soccer Development”

Comment by Tim Glowienka
October 28, 2010

Jerry, love the blog and your site! I think you hit the nail on the head about giving quick feedback. I really like your “sandwich technique” in the example. I recently wrote a blog about the importance of feedback and how it made such a strong impression on me. I’ve included the link here.
http://www.zoomreports.com/blog/bid/48905/Get-off-your-Ass-Coach-Give-me-some-Feedback
Check it out and let me know what you think.

Cheers
Tim

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