Written by: Eddie Brisbois
Owner and Coach at the Toronto Tennis Academy
Course Facilitator at Tennis Canada
Former Head of U10 PTC Program
Served as Travelling Coach for Tennis Ontario and Tennis Canada
Providing competition feedback
A child who…Enjoys competing! Because…a kid who doesn’t enjoy competing will be less likely to sign up for tournaments.
Has confidence! Because…a player who lacks confidence will not perform to his capability.
WHEN TO GIVE FEEDBACK:
The easy answer is when they’re ready….the challenge is knowing when this is. Let your child initiate the talk of the match – especially after a tough loss.
THREE THINGS TO THINK ABOUT WHEN GIVING FEEDBACK:
1. Good effort should be praised
All we can ask for is a player to try their best – if this is achieved praise should be the first thing an athlete hears. Even if there were holes in the performance save the criticism and relay your thoughts to his/her personal coach.
2. Matches are for learning
The best lessons are often taught after a loss as they guide us towards an area of our game that we can further develop. Make sure your child knows that losing is okay, after a good effort, and that improvement can be a direct result.
3. Promote self-reflection
After your child has calmed down from a match encourage them to reflect on it and write some key points down – this is a valuable part of the learning process and something all great champions do. Please don’t feed into the narrative that something external was the direct result of the outcome (bad line calls, tough draws, poorly behaving opponent…). While these things may have occurred they are out of our control and will teach the player to avoid searching for ways to improve and instead to search for excuses.
CONSTRUCTIVE FEEDBACK: How do I go about giving it?
When the time is right and mixed with some praise. Most sports scientist say confidence is fostered when positive feedback to constructive feedback occurs at a rate of 3:1. Make sure you have something positive about the match to say when delivering a constructive message!
Don’t feel compelled to saying anything at all. It’s often times wise to leave that conversation to the personal coach