Reverse coaching is the topic that I use when I’m running workshops for coaching groups. You can see immediately when I say, “We’re going to talk about reverse coaching” that everyone in the room initially looks puzzled.
Now let me explain reverse coaching. One of the things you’ll notice with experienced coaches is they know when to coach and they know when not to coach.
Typically, with inexperienced coaches, they over coach at the wrong time. Typically, when their team is facing a big challenge or when their athlete is facing a major championship problem, that they will coach too much. They’ll give too much information, they’ll be too emotional, they’ll be too much in the face of the athlete.
My experience is that athletes know when the big occasions are coming. They don’t need a coach overspeaking, overcoaching, giving too much information too often. They are only clouding their thinking at that point in time.
So reverse coaching is the reverse of what most coaches will do instinctively. When the game, when the event, when the target competition is really important – coach less, speak less and the coach give less information.
Conversely, when the event is relatively unimportant, when the athletes are in the game, or in a competition that realistically they should win, that’s the time to over coach. That’s the time when players will typically decrease their own concentration and there’s a potential there to lose games that they should never lose.
Reverse coaching is a very very effective coaching tool. When the need to coach is greatest, it’s typically when a game is a should win or could win. The time to under coach, the time to coach less, to speak less, to say less, to be more concise is when the event is far more important.
Athletes will respond, athletes know when it’s important. They will lift emotionally, they will lift technically, they will lift physically if you provide them the environment.
When it’s a big game, think about being composed, about being clear, about being confident, about providing athletes with real certainty and simplicity cause they know how important it is. There’s no need for coaches to over coach. Reverse coaching, it works.