Since attending the pilot of the UKcc level 3 learning programme  run by BADMINTON England a couple of years ago, I have carried around and regularly handed out a notebook in which I ask players to offer their feedback from the session I’ve just run.  I offer this opportunity to primary children, all the way up to adults on coach education courses and teachers attending CPD opportunities.  Why?  For two reasons.  It is a method of passing some responsibility for content to the learners – they can make suggestions for future sessions, outline things they found useful, and it does sometimes cause them to think about their goals and aims.  Secondly, I hope to adapt what in their opinion didn’t work, evolve what did, and get an insight into the perceptions of players.  There will soon be a “testimonials” page added to my website, most of these will come from this “feedback book”.

The more I think about it though, the more I realise that in order to add real value to this practice, I need to work on developing self assessment and self perception skills among those I coach/tutor etc.  This blog was prompted when I read the following feedback from a new player in year 5.

“Thankyou very much Steve, I found this an extremely enjoyable activity and very exhilirating (sic).  The concept is good though I would advise you to do some full court matchs (sic) and give the children more fun.”

This was a rare gem in amongst the usual comments about players liking beating their mate.  The vocabulary surprised me, as did the confidence to use it in written form.  I’ve deliberately typed it as written for the reason that I didn’t know that exhilarating was spelt wrong anyway (and I’m much older than year 5).

On the flip side, I have also realised that it tends to be the same few who leave comments.  Given that this is a voluntary part of the session I have no problem with this, but started thinking about the reasons why some players chose not to get involved.  Methods I’ve employed to encourage more to be involved include:

  • picture feedback – smiley faces etc.  After all this is not school and writing is not compulsory!
  • writing a specific question I would like answers to – “What was the best bit of today’s session?”; “What did practice x make you do differently?”; “Thoughts on….?”
  • handing the book to individuals I’d like to have a go, but not in front of everyone else.

These methods have enhanced the quality of feedback.  I am more able to tell if my message is being received.  It also focusses the players minds as to what they may (or may not) have learned.  One of the components of Learning Nutrition is the ability to assess self and others and I continue to work on developing this.


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About the Author: Stephen Pritchard

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