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Skip to 0 minutes and 4 secondsPADDY UPTON: Recently, when I started working as head to with a new professional T20 cricket team, as usual I began the review process asking players to highlight all the things that people did well. Firstly in the days leading up to the game, and then in the game itself. As usually happens early on in this process, players tend to be hesitant to speak up because this isn't something they're familiar with. I added my few acknowledgments before moving to discussing some of the aspects of the game where things didn't work out as planned. Things that could be done better next time I highlighted each phase of play that didn't work.

Skip to 0 minutes and 43 secondsFor example, at the end of the batting powerplay we had 40 runs and we were three wickets down. Everybody knows this is not an ideal result from the first six overs. I then asked, if we had those six overs over again, which will happen in the next game, what are the things we would do differently? I asked that players only speak about what they would do differently, not what they thought others should do differently, but themselves. I was interested in creating solutions for future games, and I wanted individuals to take the lead in their own learning and to take responsibility for their parts in the things that didn't work.

Skip to 1 minute and 22 secondsAgain, with this new team the process was fairly slow and players were reluctant to speak up. Most would have been used to the coach telling them what they did wrong, and what they need to do next time to fix the mistake. Within the first few meetings, though, players warmed up to speaking about what their teammates did well, which incidentally made the team environment feel really warm and fuzzy. That's referring to those aspects in the bottom left quadrant where team building and team connection happens. You can't really see or measure it, but you can feel it. After two of these review meetings, one player came up to me and opened up.

Skip to 2 minutes and 3 secondsHe said that he'd arrived at each meeting knowing he had made a mistake in the previous game. And he he sat through the meeting wondering which mistakes I'd point out, what I'd say about them, and how he would explain or defend himself. His acknowledgment was that he never really listened to what was being said in either meeting, because he was bracing himself and preparing his defence. What enthused me was when he said, now that I know you won't point out my error, I can listen in team meetings. And I also know I can come and talk to you, not so much about what mistake I made, but what the solution is for next time.

Skip to 2 minutes and 42 secondsFrom that day, our relationship moved to an entirely new level.

Practical examples of reviewing success

To gain buy-in from players, coaches need to move toward solutions for the future, rather than focus on mistakes from the past.

The example of the implementation of a player-centred review process in the video highlights the importance of using this approach.

By the player’s own admission, he hadn’t been listening in the team meetings because he was waiting to be reprimanded for his mistakes and told what he had to do to fix them.

However, as the team became more comfortable with the player-centred coaching approach players started shifting their focus from what they had done wrong to working out a solution for next time.

The introduction of a player-centred review process enabled me to gain the team’s trust, as well as to have the players analyse what had gone wrong and identify possible solutions.

Another benefit was the team bonding that occurred as players became more comfortable with being included in the review.

It might take time for the change in coaching style to be accepted by players and senior officials, however the benefits for both the players and the coach are extensive.

Your task

In the video I demonstrate how to review success as a coach. As you can see, coaches often focus on mistakes and this can lead to players disengaging and not paying attention during the post-match review.

Taking a player-centred approach, coaches often empower players to focus on solutions rather than errors.

In your context, how do you empower people to focus on solutions in ways that grow their performance personally and professionally?

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Player-centred Coaching

Deakin University

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