Feedback is a Gift: Planning a Productive Meeting with a Coach

For many young athletes, going in to meet with a coach can be scary. Knowing what to do, how to set it up and even what to say can be very stressful. Below is our easy-to-follow quick tips on how to make sure you have the meeting you want. (P.S. this can also apply to you parents too!)
  1. Set an appointment
    Ask the coach ahead of time if and when they have some time available to set aside for a meeting with you. Ideally, this would not interfere with practice time or a game, but rather a set time where both sides can devote their focus and energy to having as productive of a conversation as possible. Choose a location – such as an office or classroom – that is convenient for both sides while also limiting outside distractions.
  2. Come in with a game-plan
    Just like you wouldn’t break out a new pitch in a game without practicing it first, you should never just walk into the coach’s office and simply see where the conversation goes. Take some time the night before and write down the main questions or talking points you want to address in the meeting. This can help guide the meeting along, as well as show the coach that this is something you have put some thought into, rather than just showing up.
  3. Establish open, candid conversation
    Be straight-up with the coach beforehand and make it clear to them that you want them to give you honest, candid feedback, rather than canned “coach-speak”. There should be a mutual agreement for the coach to be able to speak freely without you interjecting or feeling the need to respond to every point made. With any and all feedback, it is crucial to always keep in mind that it is not personal and is only meant to help you grow as an athlete, as well as a person. Remember the old cliche’: if a coach stops coaching you, they have given up on you.
  4. Ask productive questions
    To the same note, these conversations should be just that: conversations. Instead of just sitting back and having the coach speak to you, make sure to engage and respond accordingly. Ask questions and ask them to explain something further if need be in order for you to fully understand and receive the information. Do not be afraid to ask a coach to elaborate or explain something in a different way if you don’t understand it at first.
  5. Receive the feedback (IT’S NOT PERSONAL) Process it, and do something with it after
    After the meeting is over and you thank the coach for their time, it is important to take some time alone – away from your friends, teammates or even parents – and reflect on what feedback you received. If you took notes during the meeting, take the time to carefully reread what you gathered. Make a conscious effort to process the feedback you received, and develop a plan for what you are going to do with it in the future. Understand that making adjustments may not always be a quick or simple fix, but you can always enjoy and trust the process.

Don’t be afraid to print this guide out and keep it on you during the meeting if you need to!