Conducting A Critique
The Critique Process
Knowing the basic principles of
conducting a good critique
will make it
possible for judges to effectively analyze and discuss a figure skating
Take good notes to refer to as you consider what to focus in on and
allow you to
create an effective and thoughtful interaction with the coach and
critique should not attempt to communicate solely with negative
statements, even if the intent is constructive
The person offering the
suggestions needs to be honest in offering their
opinion by pointing out both positive and negative
elements of the performance.
Start the process by asking the
skater some questions. Their answers will provide cues of how receptive
a state of mind they are in and conduct the remaining conversation with
that in mind.
to ask skaters:
guidelines can help you in conducting a
What was most striking about the performance?
Were their visual and auditory highs and valleys in the
Were parts repetitive?
What, if anything, seemed to be missing from the
- Are all of the required elements performed?
- Emphasize that on any given day skaters may perform at
very highest level and not win or make errors and win. It all depends
skills the skaters deliver when competing - not on the how well they
skated on the practice sessions.
- Establish and maintain rapport with the person you are
critiquing. Immediately cease the critique if you sense the
person has shut down and is not responding.
- Do not criticize if you cannot suggest an
improvement. It is extremely
important to know what can be done to improve, solve or eliminate a
problem or deficiency.
- Cover the major strengths and weaknesses. Try to be
specific, and if possible give specific examples.
- Avoid being maneuvered into the unpleasant position of
defending a critique. If the critique is honest, objective,
constructive, and supported, no defense should be necessary.
- The students should be informed of how the
critique is conducted. This will make it easier for them to
follow the critique.
- Don't be drawn into an argument with the person being
critiqued or their coach.
- Time is generally limited to critique a skater. Don't try
everything. A few important points may be more beneficial than
numerous, but poorly developed and expressed ideas.
- If possible, prepare a written critique that they can take
with them rather then
depending on an oral critique that may not fully communicate your
thoughts and suggestions.
- Do not extend critique beyond its scheduled time.
The individual being critiqued will become overwhelmed and reach a
point where they can't absorb more information.
- Ideally you should allow time to summarize the critique as
closing, so you can
reemphasize the points they should remember. The summary should
reinforce what the skater(s) should take away from the critique.
Susie, if you take one more step and face your target, your pass will
be right on the money.
Susie hears: You’re a horrible volleyball
Betsy, you’re on the right track, just be sure to communicate with your
teammates so that they know what you’re going to do.
Betsy hears: Not only do I think you’re a
horrible volleyball player, your teammates hate you too.
If either of those scenarios sound
a little too familiar, take heart. According to an article in
Psychology Today titled, A Chic Critique
(April 2011), “people react strongly to criticism no matter how its
delivered.” That being said, I’m sure none of us is out to squish
team's spirit like a proverbial bug. Let’s look at how we can
without being critical.
8 Rules To Effectively Deliver Negative Feedback
Always lead with questions. In the
process of obtaining feedback, ask if the person
understands the question being asked. The
part about providing criticism is that it threatens that person’s
the group. Ask questions that demonstrate that the athlete is
part of a
group effort. As a question such as "Does this
Never give criticism unless it’s been invited.
An athlete, by virtue of being on a team, has given permission for a
criticize their performance. When a teacher grades a
coach gives a pep talk, or a parent guides a young child’s efforts,
there’s a tacit agreement that praise and correction will be part of
Make sure you are seen as having the authority to
give corrective feedback.
Have you ever had a freshman give a senior some advice on how to
perform a skill better? Even if their advice is great, the senior
probably will not receive it because the freshman has no authority
If you’ve got one of those “helpful” freshmen, you should probably pull
them aside and have a little chat with them.
Distinguish whether a demand reflects your needs
or is a valid critique of what they’re doing wrong. Coaches
have their way of doing things. Since there may be different ways to do
a specific task, they coach will benefit if he/she takes the time to
persuade the athlete to "buy in" rather than taking an autocratic
Never give feedback when you’re angry.
than done, right? If there’s someone on your team that drives you
crazy, let them become your assistant’s pet project. I’ve even
known to tell my assistant to listen to my corrective statements during
practice. Like, “Katie is working my last nerve today, please
sure that I’m not picking on her at practice.” Hopefully this
Katie from being a puddle of tears in the locker room.
Know to whom you’re talking. Be prepared
“Narcissists take any criticism as a personal attack and those with
feelings of insecurity will lose
all of their self-esteem.” It helps to administer a personality test
to identify the optimum approaches to motivated your athletes.
Know yourself. Personally, Coaches are
people with different types of personalities. Some are
sensitive to criticism and react defensively when they feel they are
being challenged. Criticism stings and everyone would
rather receive a steady stream of praise. Some athletes prefer to
receive criticism without all of the frills. However, others
really need to hear the frills before they can process the
criticism. It is extremely important for a coach to avoid
crushing completely those athletes who are especially sensitive to
Expect defensiveness. Directness can
immediately trigger a defensive response in many athletes, especially
those who have an inflated opinion of their abilities. As a coach, the
challenge is to overcome the initial reaction and orchestrate the
desire change in
their behavior. The best approach is NOT to have the conversation
in front of the athlete's peers. Choose a time and place provides
an environment that doesn't escalate the conversation into a highly
charged emotional confrontation.
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public institutions and athletic
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