How we use A Coach’s Guide to Teaching

Dan speaks to coaches Mike Pope and Rhys Williams about how they’ve used what they’ve learned from reading Doug Lemov’s book: A Coach’s Guide to Teaching.

Here are some of Doug’s thoughts after listening to the podcast

  • Until it comes unprompted when we aren’t reminded to think about it, we probably haven’t learned it.
  • “Interleaving is always with something you’ve already talked about.” Hugely important clarification for coaches that I hadn’t thought to make… though I will now.
  • On shortening the feedback loop. It’s not just hearing feedback as close as possible to the mistake but using the feedback as close as possible to hearing it. that was a great formulation of an idea I hadn’t quite locked in as clearly.
  • The bus route doesn’t change it’s just what stop we’re on. (Think about Rhys’s six week plan).
  • Dropping skills practice in to the midst of game training to interleave is a fascinating idea.

Here are the key areas Dan, Rhys and Mike discussed:

  • Rhys’s six week plans: how they work in the context of what he took from the book
  • Using feedback more effectively: examples, scenarios and maintaining flow in the session. Plus shortening the feedback loop
  • How interleaving makes learning stick
  • How the Forgetting Curve works for rugby players
  • Tough feedback which creates pressure
  • Desirable difficulty in training

Rhys is a youth rugby coach, plus works with Saracens DPP.
Mike is a school’s head of rugby , senior mens coach, plus a lead coach with Bath DPP.

Here are some further notes from Rhys:

I mentioned Practice Perfect: 42 Rules For Getting Better at Getting Better, written by Doug Lemov with Erica Woolway and Katie Yezzi. I read it straight after The Coach’s Guide To Teaching and I think it’s a very useful companion piece. It breaks down the principles that underpin really good practice, including:

  • ENCODE SUCCESS: Engineer your practice activities so the right actions are encoded in your mental circuitry to become habit.
  • PRACTICE THE 20: 80% of your success will come from 20% of your behaviors so practice the most impactful 20% to accomplish your goal.
  • LET THE MIND FOLLOW THE BODY: Automate skills so you’ll use them before you consciously decide to.
  • REPLACE YOUR PURPOSE WITH AN OBJECTIVE: Measure and define specifically what you’ll be able to do once mastering your goal.
  • ISOLATE THE SKILL: Identify and name each technique you’ve identified as an important building block for peak performance.

I also mentioned a skill game I saw Warren Abrahams play that made use of binary feedback. There’s a video of it on his Instagram here:

Links to the books:
A Coach’s Guide to Teaching
Practice Perfect: 42 Rules For Getting Better at Getting Better
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