Managing mistakes: a few considerations…

Mistakes? or Opportunities?
It is pretty much accepted that making mistakes is an essential part of learning yet we sometimes then take the easy route to shortcut their learning – by giving players the answer. Clearing out some old files I stumbled across the below from 2008 and whilst this may be six years old, I think many of the principles are still current and worth consideration.
Strategies for managing mistakes to the players’ advantage
·         Allow for self correction and monitor progress – if the challenge is right and the learning outcome clear given the time and opportunity players may well put mistakes right themselves without the need for the coach to intervene.
·         In an all action activity which is interesting and challenging the group may not readily notice the coach speaking quietly to individuals. But beware – players will talk later and if you only ever speak to individuals about their mistakes the group will soon know what your strategy is; so mix it up with praise for good play.
·         Ask a question. ‘What were you thinking when you tried that?’ It gives players a chance to explain their actions and what they saw. After all you may well be quite a distance from the action and not really see what they did and more importantly why they did it.
·         Get into a positive mind set. Look for success rather than failure, after all most mistakes are 90% right. So work on the positive side. ‘I like what you did here and here, did you see this possibility?’


·         Talk to the group as well as individuals. Remind and re-enforce the key elements that get success and get players to show positive examples via quality demonstrations.

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