If They Don’t Get it

Coaching is teaching. Teaching is the ability to present information in a way that allows for retention from your students. Bill Parcells once said, “If they don’t get it – its your fault!”

The difference between a teacher and a coach, is that if your pupils “don’t get it”, it shows up on the scoreboard and in the newspaper. Your ability to distribute information effectively enough to show up in action is critical.

As Parcells stated – it is on you. The first step in coaching is to take ownership of the results. Coaches that start post-game interviews blaming others don’t last long. There are three main modalities in which people gain access to information. They are through what they:

  • hear (listening)
  • what they see (visual)
  • and what they feel (kinesthetic).

Chances are good that your team is made up of individuals who are strong in only one area of learning style. Therefore, it behooves you to be sure when presenting that you hit each mode hard and often.
I have taught high school for 30 years and for 30 years I give a learning modality test the first week of school. Regardless of my numbers in class (20-40 range) I have never had more than 3 “listening” learners in a classroom period. But the million-dollar question is, “What do most teachers do most of the period?” That’s correct, Johnny – they talk! Leaving behind a majority of their learners, scrambling to gain the info without the tools to get it.

In the football world, if you are presenting anything you want to “stick” I would highly recommend:

  • 1) saying it
  • 2) showing it
  • 3) doing it (over and over and over again). Whether it’s a play, a drill, a scouting adjustment to an opponent’s formation – whatever.

Athletic training research has shown it takes 300-500 reps to build any given technique.
Advertising research says customers need to see an ad a minimum of seven times to retain it (playbook, scouting report, rule, etc.)
Marketing research says if I want someone to retain something (a message, slogan, PSA jingle, etc.) They need to hear it a minimum of 39 times.
Your squad is made up of a wide scale of learners, from honor students to those with disabilities. They are varied in their modes. But as Parcells warned, it’s on you to make sure “they get it”. Analyze your presentations – vary your out puts – hit all cylinders – repeat like crazy – review and grade your effectiveness often. You will know your effectiveness soon – the scoreboard is what they call “immediate feedback.”

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