What is yours? Do you have one? Could you explain in detail how you wrap up the game?
As I continue to work with programs around the country I find this is a place where even the best coaches can grow. We work hard to prepare and have our team ready to compete and then once it is over we struggle to make the post-game time we spend together valuable, meaningful, and solution based.
After shaking hands with the other team after a win or a loss the norm is to head down the line for the post game chat with the team. This is the time coaches tend to recap the game. Talk about the highlights and lowlights. Sometimes it is helpful and other times it is not. Usually after a loss, coaches like to get on their soapbox and rant for about 10-15 minutes. The reality of this is that players may even look like they are listening but probably are only hearing about the first minute or two then tuning out the rest of your speech. Not productive for anyone.
After combat missions Navy Seals spend time debriefing the mission. Most times, they don’t like it but using their process they are able to learn from their mistakes, make adjustments to future missions, and also know what is working so that they can continue those things as well. Having a process for this is vital for them and it is for teams as well.
Break the game down by using the processes you believe in. If you use QABs, BASE2, or others then highlight those. Make the measurement the benchmark you either reached or didn’t reach. Use the data to help guide your conversation rather than memory, emotions, or your gut instinct. This way you don’t get off on a tangent. Focus on facts, try to stay away from your emotions which tend to lead to reactions. Stay clear and concise. Allowing yourself to acknowledge players who did great things that day and also where improvement might still be needed. You are able to deliver info that players understand in a way that provides feedback and actions steps the team will be taking in light of how the game went. Everyone moves forward with the same understanding of what is next instead of a mix of emotions or unclear next steps.
I would suggest a checklist. What are the things that you are going to talk about post-game? The questions you should ask when generating your list might be some of the following:
- What do I value most?
- What measurements (data) can I share with my team?
- How can I highlight the positives?
- How can we learn from our mistakes?
- What are our next steps?
- How long do I want this to take?
- Who will deliver the talk?
- Is everything clear and concise for players?
I have always been a huge proponent for players seeing data and the measurements you are taking. It will allow them to see the correlation between why 3 of 5 in BASE2 produces wins, above 60% QABs means they will have a chance to win, etc. Share it, you will not be disappointed. A sample checklist might look something like what I have below. Modify it and add to it as you see fit for your program.
One coach will speak, this will last no longer than 7 minutes:
- Share the results of QABs, BASE2, STR1KE
- Give out QAB Helmet stickers to players
- Highlight what we did well from our measurements
- What things didn’t we accomplish from QABs, BASE2, and STR1KE
- Based on our weaknesses today these are the things we need to work on at the next practice…
- Allow a teammate to award the Player of the Day to another teammate
Once you have a process, share it with your team. Tell them what they can expect after the game during the debrief. Things will go much smoother for all of you. Continue to do great things for the players you serve and please reach out in anyway I may be able to help your team this season. As for the midwest lets keep praying for some consistent sunshine.