Performance statements are one of the key facets when it comes to performance, specifically decision-making in a game environment. The ability to make effective decisions under pressure is one of the most important skills people can master as it demonstrates an ability to manage the effects of pressure while being able to remain mentally sharp.
One of the main areas where issues can occur especially with younger players is that the language used by coaches can sometimes be too absolute. What this means is that if someone plays within the system, some coaches will stress that it’s the ’correct’ way to play while players who play outside the system sometimes will be told they are playing the game ‘wrong’. What this can lead to for coaches to adopt what is called a ‘puzzle mentality’ where they search for one way to play, however, there are usually lots of options each providing differing positives and negatives.
In our own experience, we have seen that often the right-or-wrong mentality has drawbacks and coaches and players themselves should focus more on developing problem-solving skills by thinking through and discussing all options available. It is far more important that people use their initiative to make decisions and instead of highlighting the ‘correctness’ of the decision, instead look at the overall efficacy.
At no point in coaching should the term ‘wrong’ decision be used as a ‘wrong’ decision is a guess without reason. By changing the language from absolutes to continuum of effectiveness we can inspire confidence in people to take more responsibility and feel more willing to use their initiative moving forward.