Athletic development specialists dedicated to the art and science of excellence in movement

Optimizing Feedback in the Pool: Part II

An ageless question in coaching: Do we praise the good (positive feedback) or highlight the bad (negative feedback)? Balancing positive and negative feedback is a delicate balance for all coaches, myself included. We’ll commonly tell swimmers “don’t cross over” or “don’t drop the elbow” or “stop lollygagging your turns.” Many coaches rule the deck with an aura of negativity, believing that negative feedback builds toughness and positive feedback breeds softness. Some negativity is necessary for group discipline, but does negative feedback actually impair motor learning?

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