045 - how YA +A should seek feedback

I love this story, mainly due to the look on Jesse's face after he'd realised how simple a fix it all was and how much all of the fear and frustration was inside his own head...

It was halfway through the NPL season of 2017, and I received a phone call from him one Saturday afternoon...

"Nick, this is the worst thing ever, I have no idea what's happening..." he said

I replied, "Talk to me Jesse, what's going on? What do you mean?"

He went on to say, "The coach, he took me off at halftime, and I was playing great. He even said to me before the game that I'd been one of the top performers this year and to keep doing what I've been doing, and then he takes me off. And we were down at this point in time. I mean... what did I do wrong Nick, why did he take me off? Especially after he'd told me how well I'd been playing..."

It's quite a common situation, and my reply of "well what did the coach say", was met with an "I don't know, I didn't ask him"... My question then became why, why didn't Jesse ask his coach? Fear, mostly - fear of not wanting to bring it up, fear of not wanting to be told what he'd been doing wrong - and this fear held him back from the truth. The fear left Jesse inside his own head with his imagination running wild as to what the reason could have been - and some of those reasons were hilarious!

My advice to Jesse was simple, at training tomorrow, go to the coach and say this: "Coach, I just wanted to ask about what happened on the weekend. I thought I was playing great and then you subbed me at halftime. What did I do wrong? As I'd love to know so that I CAN WORK ON IT IN THE FUTURE TO BETTER MYSELF IN THAT AREA"

Jesse came into the Academy the following night, and the smile on his face told you that his mood had lifted. When I asked him what the coach said, he just laughed in hysterics. They were down 3-1 at halftime, and Jesse is a CDM. A player had been sent off in the first half, and the coach decided they needed to sacrifice a defensive player in order for another attacker to have a shot at winning, unfortunately, Jesse was the sacrifice. It wasn't to do with him or how he was playing, it was to do with the game situation and what was best for the team

His coach even told him how difficult a decision it was to take Jesse off, but they needed to score goals to win

And there's an all-powerful lesson here that YA + A's need to learn about seeking feedback - ask for it, respect what you're given, and discard what's not useful. The best way to approach it, especially in this sort of scenario, is to go in ego-free and with a desire to want to improve yourself - as in doing so, this shows the Coach that you're open to feedback and are willing to listen, learn, and improve

Get out of your own head and get into action. Seek feedback, ask for it, and become a better athlete and person in the process :)

Actionable Tip + Questions:

  • How am I when it comes to seeking feedback at the moment? Do I ask for it and take it in, or do I stay inside my own head wondering what's happening and what I can do?
  • What are 1-3 different things I can say to coaches or people when it comes to asking them for feedback?
Nick Maier