14 examples for word-perfect coaching

During a session, you’ll often want to keep feedback to a minimum until you have more time to speak to the individual. Use this range of phrases to add value to your on-the-spot praise…

Praise is an important part of your armoury to motivate players. However, if you’re constantly repeating the same phrase it starts to lose its meaning and effect.

Good praise is uplifting for a player. It points to something that’s worth repeating, like a good pass or tackle. In that short moment it identifies to the player that they’ve met your approval. You can then expand on this later.

When you’re feeding back after an exercise, ask players what went well. They should be able to remember when you pointed out a positive and talk about it. This is when you can ask them for more details and reasons why it worked out.

Here are six examples of good praise…

“Spot on”. Picking out a technique that is accurate is important. For instance, “Ben, that pass was spot on.”

“I’m impressed”. This tells the player they’ve done something that is more than expected of them. For instance, “Ben, I’m impressed with your power in the tackle situation.”

“Very imaginative”. Sometimes players do something unusual to find their way out of a problem. This phrase praises endeavour that might not normally be the best solution. It can help players who aren’t always technically good. You can then tease out other ways of solving the problem. “Ben, that was a very imaginative kick to space.”

“Good work”. Completion is as important as the processes involved. “Boys, that’s good work on the tackling exercise” shows that you’ve seen the effort being put in and that it has been focused on the task in hand.

“Well remembered”. “Same foot, same shoulder into the tackle, well remembered Ben” is a delicious piece of praise. It tells the player they’ve progressed, that previous training sessions have mattered, and that they’re in tune with your coaching.

“Quick thinking”. Players are often praised for their physical activity and not for their good decision-making. “Quick thinking” works well as a phrase because it can praise good intentions, even if the skill was performed incorrectly or the outcome wasn’t successful.

For example, a player might come in off his wing to tackle the potential receiver, but a try is still scored because of a break by another player. “Quick thinking, Ben. If the other tackle had been made, there would have been no try.”

And here’s another eight…

  1. “You’ve mastered it”
  2. “What a perfect example”
  3. “It’s a joy to see you work like that”
  4. “One more go and you’ll be there”
  5. “You’ve got the hang of it”
  6. “You’ve done better than ever”
  7. “You soon grasped that”
  8. “You really stuck with it”

Print out your reminder card from the PDF below

14 phrases for spot on coaching

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