As a gymnast learns new skills and trains to refine those skills, accepting a coach’s comments is a necessary part of the process. And the delivery of those comments can have a significant impact on the athlete.
There is a difference in providing an athlete with feedback, rather than criticism. One is usually better received and yields better results than the other. So, what is the difference between the two terms? And which is better for gymnasts who are working to improve in their sport?
Criticism is passing judgment or fault-finding.
Criticism tends to involve a harsh delivery that shames or embarrases the recipient. A person delivering criticism focuses comments more on the person instead of that person’s actions.
Feedback is sharing constructive or remedial comments.
Feedback differs from criticism because of its evaluative component. Rather than passing judgment on a person, feedback is all about providing suggestions on how to improve.
Here are a few more features of feedback that differentiate it from criticism:
Mutual respect is an essential element in the athlete-coach relationship. A coach who respectfully delivers feedback is more likely to motivate an athlete to act on that feedback. At the same time, feedback is better received by an athlete who respects his or her coach.
Positive and productive feedback is more likely to encourage an athlete to listen. Not all feedback has to be corrective. There is also a need for providing athletes with positive feedback on the things they are doing right.
3. Focus on Future Improvement
Where criticism may focus on an athlete’s past mistakes or imperfections, feedback focuses on how to make improvements in the future. Highlight what an athlete is doing right and then provide comments on how they can improve in the future.
Kids First Gymnastics in Cedar Rapids focuses on providing each of our athletes with positive coaching and feedback. We offer gymnastics, tumbling and trampoline, ninja warrior classes, camps, before and after school programs, themed events, kids’ birthday parties, and more! To learn more about how to get your child started with any of our programs, contact us today.