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Communication and working relationships in sport and fitness
Communication and working relationships in sport and fitness

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4 Exploring three feedback principles

There is a considerable amount of management and coaching research and resources dedicated to explaining effective feedback in sport and in the workplace. Effective communication is a key part of feedback. You will now consider part of an article in which ways to give effective feedback are described. It comes from the field of education, but most of its ideas apply to the workplace and sport.

Activity 4 Ways to give better feedback

Timing: Allow about 30 minutes

Read the three sections ‘Correct quietly’, ‘Combine open and closed questions’, ‘End with clear action points’ in this Guardian article ‘Seven ways to give better feedback to your students [Tip: hold Ctrl and click a link to open it in a new tab. (Hide tip)] ’.

How do these three principles compare or contrast to your own experiences of how feedback is delivered in sport or fitness?


Correcting quietly, with private individual correction, is perhaps standard practice in many workplaces, yet in parts of sport there are plenty of examples of feedback being given in public and sometimes at high volume. The quieter approach was highlighted using the highly appropriate term ‘the whisper correction’. The use of open questions was explained as being valuable as they allow the voice and perspective of participants to be heard and this is seen to influence their engagement. The earlier section on hedging and boosting language is also highly applicable to optimising feedback communication.

The advice to ‘end with clear action points’ is reflected in a 2017 insight into a national rugby team’s feedback practice. The national coach Eddie Jones said: ‘We don’t have old-fashioned team meetings where the coach gets up and makes a speech for 10 minutes … We never have a meeting that lasts longer than 15 minutes and we never have a meeting that has more than three points’ (Austin, 2017).