Giving criticism can be tricky because it tends to drain tanks. You want your feedback to contain usable information and empower your swimmers.

Read below for ideas on giving receivable feedback.

  • Avoid Non-Teachable Moments – Identify the right lesson for the right time. Avoid giving technical instruction during high pressure situations, as your swimmers might be too emotional to hear you.
  • Use If-Then Statements – Instead of giving a direction you think is simple, encourage your team to focus on results. Try saying, “If you eat a small snack beforehand, you’ll have more energy for our practices,” rather than, “Eat a small snack beforehand.”
  • Give Criticism in Private – While it may not always be possible, try to provide critical feedback in private rather than in front of the whole team.
  • Ask Permission to Give Feedback – Consider if your swimmers are even receptive to hear what you have to say; allowing them to take charge of how they receive your input empowers them.
  • Try a Criticism Sandwich – The critique is the meat, and compliments are the slices of bread. For example, “Great job on the last finish. Next time try to remember to keep you head down until you touch. The way you kicked strong to the wall was great!”