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Tips for Effective Feedback

post #1 of 13
Thread Starter 

What are your tips for giving a client feedback?  Looking for a raft of ideas, here.  Stuff like, "in a class setting, always give individual feedback privately so as to prevent distracting other students with thoughts that don't apply to them," or "always mention a specific body part and what it should be doing and why," and so on.  Ramping up for another new season and trying to kick-start my brain.  Thx.

post #2 of 13

I'm not a fan of "always" type tips. The best tip I've heard for feedback is to make it specific. "Nice turns" is not nearly as effective as mentioning why the turns are nice (e.g. pencil thin tracks). Accurate feedback should be obvious, but this is something you can't make a conscious choice about. You can practice under the guidance of more experienced pros to check your accuracy. One of my favorite clinic tricks is to put yes/no type questions about a skier on the slope to the group. Invariably I'll get a split of opinion from the group and majority does not always rule. Instead of pointing out that whoever is wrong needs to brush up their observation skills, I use the opinion split to make the point that we can't all be right all of the time. Whether you're right or wrong on one question is not important. What you do to make yourself right more often is what is most important. That's how you can make your feedback more accurate. There are three parts to accurate feedback: being able to break down a whole picture into parts, understanding the biomechanics about what movements are being made to effect the results that you see and translating body language into the "why" behind the movements. An area where I see rookie pros lacking is "hands on" feedback. These days, we have to be very careful to ask for permission before touching a guest. But we should not let that stop us from using physical contact to deliver feedback. This is used more often with beginners (e.g. holding tips together in a wedge, holding arms when getting off a lift) but can be used for upper level lessons as well (e.g. tug of war drill with ski poles). Whenever possible I try to use variable physical feedback so that the guest only gets as much assistance as they need. One example of this is skiing backwards in front of skier and using your arms to provide braking for the student when they reach their arms out to make hand to hand contact. You can start providing all of the speed control, but as the student gains control, you can reduce the level of assistance you provide. You can also lead the student into gaining their own speed control by moving the target (your hands) out of the fall line. One use of positive feedback that rookies typically are not skilled at is to advise students of incremental progress. Often times students are making the changes you have asked them to make but they are not yet doing them well enough to feel the difference. Feedback that shows them the progress that only you can see helps to keep them motivated and on the right track to making permanent change. That's more a flotilla of consciousness than a raft of ideas, but it should start you down the ramp.

post #3 of 13

<InMyNotSoHumbleOpinion>

 

Good coaching and good feedback ALWAYS consists of three parts:

 

1)  The body part of interest                                                     (the "What")

2)  The desired method to move or not move that body part         (the "How")

3)  The resulting outcome.                                                        (the "Why")

 

If you find saying statements like,  "go with your ski",  “be patient in your turns

((a couple of perennial favorites in the psia-nw region))  you're an ineffective coach.

 

</InMyNotSoHumbleOpinion>


Edited by johnpenxa - 10/7/10 at 7:28pm
post #4 of 13

Concurrent feedback is the best delivery (during the activity). If you wait until after the activity (reactive feedback) most of it will be lost before the next activity session.

 

"Principles of Motor Skill Development", by John Drowatsky, is an excellent book which also covers effective feedback loops.

post #5 of 13

I agree that concurrent feedback is most effective.  I will often follow behind someone & give them verbal cues as we go.

 

PCP has almost become second nature to me.

 

P-positive, tell them something that you like & why it is working for the skier.

 

C-constructive, point out & explain what is hindering their progress & why.

 

P-positive, show them how to replace the hindering movement with something that will enhance their skiing & describe why it can work for them.

 

JF

post #6 of 13

Thanks for the book suggestion VSP.

I would add that there can be several purposes for feedback. Command and task teaching activities work very well with concurrent feedback but if you have a group working on problem solving activities, concurrent corrective feedback isn't a big part of that since you're asking them to come to their own conclusions. Same for reciprocal and to some extent, guided discovery types of activities. My general rule is the further out of the spotlight I am, the less opportunities I have for concurrent feedback. Same goes for end of the day feedback that we all should be offering as part of our wrap up, and view of the future.


Edited by justanotherskipro - 10/9/10 at 10:17pm
post #7 of 13

In feedback I work with the rule of 3s. 

 

Taking 4ster's PCP idea as a base...also knowns as the "shit sandwich"...good/bad/good...I guess 4sters is more polite thou.

 

1 Somthing Positive (ie You showed Good Rhythm there.)

2: Somthing Constructive (given in 3 parts):

                              1: Part of the turn

                              2: Part of the body

                              3: The feeling

                                  (ie, At the start of the turn, extend your ankles more, it will feel like pushing down on a gas pedal of your car)

3. Something Postive (ie usuallly relates to above....This will help you develop earlier edge).

 

 

Also:

 

Ensure feedback is always:

 

1: Quick

2: Simple

3: Direct

 

Also always ensure you feedback targets the 3 communication methods:

 

1: Audio

2: Visual

3: Sensory

 

 

Hence putting it all together:

 

"Nice turns, you showed some good rythm.  But try to extend your ankles more as you start the turn "here".  This will help us develop an earlier edge for more performance and control."

[while talking you draw an arc in the snow, and highlight with your pole the zone of the turn where you want the action to happen, also you can be demonstrating the move your self while standing there talking{this is all visual}, then getting them to try it with you while standing{this is sensory, get them to feel it}]. 

 

 

At most this should take no more then 30 seconds.  Hence a group of 6, 3 minutes is all you need.  Although even that would be considered long, as typically in practice 2 or 3 (maybe more) of the class will have the same issue so you can group them up...pretty rare to get 6 students working on 6 different things.  If you find you are in that situation, often it means you are curing symptoms, and missing core problems.

 

 

Easy as 1, 2, 3.

 

 

 

 

 

post #8 of 13

Quote:

Originally Posted by Skidude72 View Post

In feedback I work with the rule of 3s. 

 

Taking 4ster's PCP idea as a base...also knowns as the "shit sandwich"...good/bad/good...I guess 4sters is more polite thou.


Not really,  I just play that role on epicski, I have a completely different persona on TGR & yet another in real life .

 

Quick, simple & direct .

 

Auditory, visual, kinesthetic. 

Yes, but once I discover the students learning style, for instance if he/she is a visual learner I will try & show them the particular movement first.  Second I will describe the movement & relate how it feels.  Then I will plug the movement into a demonstrated full turn or series of turns trying to emphasize that particular part.

So the visual is both the first & last segment of the feedback.

JF

post #9 of 13

Great input so far here guys!

 

I concur with Ric above!

 

I think it is important to understand why feedback, particularly positive, concurrent feedback is so important!  By offering positive feedback we focus on what it is we want to replace the old movement pattern with rather than what we don't want.  Many times students come to us asking us to identify what it is they are doing wrong.  I personally try to avoid appeasing this request or focusing on the negative because identifying a fault draws attention to it and helps to anchor that habit.  If a student is only able to identify what he/she is doing wrong, and doesn't have the positive replacement for that act, they are doomed to reinforce the bad habit because the mind doesn't see the word "don't" it only sees "sit back".  The student will recognize every time they sit back, "ooops! I did it again" but will not replace the error with a positive movement until they have recognized or identified the sensations associated with the desired movement pattern.

 

This is where positive concurrent feedback is so key to this goal.  Once the student recognizes the desired movement/sensation, with the help of concurrent feedback from the instructor, the student has taken the first big step toward changing the motor memory into a new habitual movement.  "That's it" at the instant it happened, from the instructor, may be all that is needed to anchor the sensation for the student.  Then the student can try to repeat that noted sensation or move again and again. Perhaps only succeeding two or three times out of ten at first but the important thing is they can identify when they have done it correctly and seek to do it again and again until they own it!  Voila!  lasting change has occurred and a new habit is formed.  

 

However, if we wait until the student skis down to us and we say, "remember that third turn you did back there?....that was it, that was the right move",  it would likely be too late to have any value to the student.   This is one of the key aspects of teaching I try to reinforce in new hire instructors working with their students, recognize any small successes with instant, enthusiastic, positive, feedback! and build on each success with reinforcement, and repetition.  We are turning on light bulbs in our students heads!

post #10 of 13
Quote:
Originally Posted by bud heishman View Post

 

This is where positive concurrent feedback is so key to this goal.  Once the student recognizes the desired movement/sensation, with the help of concurrent feedback from the instructor, the student has taken the first big step toward changing the motor memory into a new habitual movement.  "That's it" at the instant it happened, from the instructor, may be all that is needed to anchor the sensation for the student.  Then the student can try to repeat that noted sensation or move again and again. Perhaps only succeeding two or three times out of ten at first but the important thing is they can identify when they have done it correctly and seek to do it again and again until they own it!  Voila!  lasting change has occurred and a new habit is formed.  


Another tip we can use to help the student anchor the "That's it" is to help them identify a "trigger" that invokes that positive response.  I know for me the trigger is usually just thinking of the coach that brought me the new sensation, no matter what the sport.

 

JF

post #11 of 13

All really good feedback on the feedback model.  I like this thread. Everyone is putting a lot of thought into their comments.

 

When I'm working with new instructors either on the slopes or in the pool at my other job, I stress ' specificity of feedback'. New students are often overwhelmed by all of the new sensations and have a hard time focusing on just one.  When we design our drills we try to coach or train one movement at a time.  We set up the drill so that the student will have a high probability of sucess.  We make sure the drill is appropriate to the level of the skiier.  All of this to try to isolate a movement or sensation.  The student is then using all of their mental prowess and physical talents to focus on that one item/skill/movement. 

 

The instructor must then critique or praise the item/skill that they've asked the student to focus on.  Anything else is wasted.

 

I've seen many an instructor propose a skill/movement, set up a drill, do the demo.  It all looks good.  They've asked the student to think about feeling their ankles move through a specific range of motion.  The drill they picked should support it.  The student does the drill.  The instructor then starts talking about 'hand position, hip wiggle, and movement into the direction of the turn'.  It confuses the student.  The instuctor needs to give feedback specific to what is asked of the student.  Give feedback about what the ankles were doing.

 

Specific movement/skill/sensation.

Drill to train that movment/skill/sensation.

Praise or critique that movement/skill/sensation.

 

 

On the PCP (positive, constructive, positive) feedback,  I'll often times praise the effort the student put into the drill as my first positive.  "I could see you focusing on the movement and trying to make changes. It may feel strange but it is making a difference.  I like that."    Praising the student for their effort recognizes that they are doing something challenging and stepping outside of their comfort zone.  This is especially true with kids.  There was a recent psych study that showed that self worth in kids was often tied to praise for effort rather than praise for sucess.  Kids who were told they had natural talent showed huge swings in mood depending on whether the task succeded and were less likley to attempt a skill that they had trouble with.  Kids who were praised for effort/hard work were more likely to try again if the first attempt failed.

 

Matt.

post #12 of 13

Another take on PCP,  I have heard somewhere we should treat our students like emotional bank accounts.  With the bank account we need to make  deposits before we can take any withdraws.  In other words, build them up with positive feedback before pointing out any errors or negatives.

post #13 of 13
Quote:
Originally Posted by bud heishman View Post

Another take on PCP,  I have heard somewhere we should treat our students like emotional bank accounts.  With the bank account we need to make  deposits before we can take any withdraws.  In other words, build them up with positive feedback before pointing out any errors or negatives.


Same deal gaining trust.  Your feedback is meaningless until you have deposited some trustworthy actions.

JF

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