USFS Club Communications
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Different Personalities

The Ego and the Ability to Accept Criticism
       It is the negative connotations of the word "Criticism" that immediately starts any conversation that is best avoided. Frame any assessment in a "non threatening" one-on-one environment, and never in a group of the individuals peers.

Be Aware of Individual Differences Between People
       Some individuals seem to be better suited to receiving and reacting positively to criticism than other types of personalities.

Role Play the Individual who is the Recipient of the Assessment.
       As the target of criticism, what strategies can you use to be more receptive of criticism? Would it help if the presenter pointed out the positive and negative considerations upon which they have based their conclusion(s)?

       Do you believe that someone's expertise, educational degrees, and experience automatically gives them the right to expect that when they speak, their opinions/solutions not to be questioned?

       Can criticism can be expressed from either a positive or negative point of view? Is the fact that the "Spin" used in communicating agrees with you make you more likely to have a positive or negative feeling? Is it possible to frame the comments and conclusions with a positive or negative feeling that may not be supported when looking closely at the supporting facts?

Self Destructive Behavior Response
       Learning how to accept criticism requires hard work for many individuals, especially those who are diagnosed with borderline personality disorder.  Part of the syndrome is being unable to tolerate critical comments, no matter how well intended.  For this individual their body has an anaphylactic reaction. Before they can even start to work out the truth of what was said, why it was said, and what the ramifications of the criticism were. they have to regain physical control of their body.

      This acutely negative response requires professional counseling, not self treatment. Fortunately, most individuals are not this sever. However, anyone can benefit by participating in workshops that use group discussions and sharing. It really is in your best interest to seek out a "mentor", who you trust. Choose someone who will have your best interests at heart and wants to see you grow emotionally and psychologically to achieve your personal goals and aspirations.

      Assume you have lots of lemons that you can't even give away for free and converting them into lemonade which is sold for a profit on a hot summer day.  Using this same concept, taking the inability to accept unsolicited, unwelcome comments/suggestions and actively seek input can be very productive and help achieve very positive results. Seeking out a trusted "confidante" or counselor to proactively receive objective comments to defect any unexpected comments, no matter how well meaning the person is offering the advice.

The Real You Should be Natural, not a Fake Facade
      There are questions and free interview answers right from  The Complete Interview Answer Guide by Don Georgevich. The guide is filled with many more questions and answers. Every question in the guide is first explained and shows multiple answers for each question. This guide is intended to help you make a more favorable impression in a job interview; however, it also can be used to provide some insight into the functionality of your personality so changes can be made to actually achieve a natural persona not a role that requires performing a role that the interviewer wants to hear. 

Free Interview Q&A
       Sample Questions include answers -
  • What do you consider your most significant weaknesses?
  • How do accept criticism?
  • What are some of the things that bother you?
  • What do you consider your most significant strengths?
  • How do you get along with different types of people?
  • Do you prefer working with others or alone?
  • What are some of the things that you and a superior have disagreed about?
      If you prefer a harmonious existence, then you generally avoid situations where expressing your frank opinion would make waves and "rock the boat". Generally do you accept negative comments from others and act as if you accept their advice even if you totally do not agree with them?

      If an individual usually reacts defensively, then it will be difficult for them to accept any type of criticism that is offered as a constructive comment or deliberately meant to be negative and designed to upset and offend you.

Suggestion -
       Consider the source! Is the person a respected adult who has considerable experience that relates to the formulation of the comments/suggestions?  Attempt to understand the reasoning for the statement(s) to see if they actually represent a personal attack or can the comments be widely applied to other members of your peer group.

       Some situations are very complex and are extremely difficult to simplify without distorting or misrepresenting some "facts" in an attempt to prove a point.  In overcoming the over simplification in any argument, it is necessary that you are fully aware of the pros and cons on the topic. Not every "expert' will have the same qualifications so you need to seek others who support or reject the stated or unstated hypothesis. You must become aware of any biases that you and others may have that affect their opinions and the reason that is behind their reasoning in support or rejecting the question/  

Conducting the Critique
       Knowing the basic principles of conducting a good critique will make it possible for judges to effectively analyze and discuss a figure skating program. Take good notes to refer to as you consider what to focus in on and will allow you to create an effective and thoughtful interaction with the coach and skater(s). Remember that a critique should not deal solely with negative, but constructive criticism. Judges need to be honest in offering their opinion which points out both positive and negative elements of the performance.

    Sample questions to ask skaters:
  • What was most striking about the performance?

  • Were their visual and auditory highs and valleys in the performance?

  • Were parts repetitive?

  • What, if anything, seemed to be missing from the performance?

  • Are all of the required elements performed?
  • Does the skater known and understand the judging focus points?
  • Was there any emotional impact the performance had upon you?

    The following guidelines can help you in conducting a critique:
  • Emphasize that on any given day skaters may perform at their very highest level and not win or make errors and win. It all depends of the 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 to cover 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 you are closing, so you can reemphasize the points they should remember.  The summary should highlight and reinforce what the skater(s) should take away from the critique.
Eight ways to critique without crushing your team's spirit June 10, 2011 .


Me: 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 player.

Me: 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 our team's spirit like a proverbial bug.  Let’s look at how we can critique without being critical.

  8 Rules To Effectively Deliver Negative Feedback

  1. Always lead with questions. I may not lead with a question, but somewhere in my feedback, I usually ask if they understand what I’m asking of them.  The article says that the hard part about criticism is that it threatens that person’s membership in the group.  So asking questions shows them that they are part of a group effort.  Something as simple as, “Do this.  Does that make sense?”, is a typical exchange in our gym.

  2. Never give criticism unless it’s been invited. In my mind, by virtue of being on a team, they’re inviting criticism.  Turns out that I’m onto something!  “When a teacher grades a student, 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 the exchange.”

  3. 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 yet.  If you’ve got one of those “helpful” freshmen, you should probably pull them aside and have a little chat with them.

  4. Distinguish whether a demand reflects your needs or is a valid critique of what they are doing wrong. I’ll be the first to admit that sometimes I want my team to do something because it’s my preferred method of operation.  My general statement is, “there are a million ways to skin a cat…either way you end up with a cat without skin, so let’s try it my way.”  Sure, that sounds gross, but it gets the point across.  I’m not saying that the student-athlete is doing something wrong per se, just not the way I’d like them to do it.

  5. Never give feedback when you’re angry. Easier said 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 been known to tell my assistant to listen to my corrective statements during practice.  Like, “Katie is working my last nerve today, please make sure that I’m not picking on her at practice.”  Hopefully this keeps Katie from being a puddle of tears in the locker room.

  6. Know to whom you’re talking. As the article says, “Narcissists take any criticism as a personal attack; the insecure lose all self-esteem.”  I’m constantly beating the personality test drum, and that’s because I think it’s a great way to find out how your team is motivated.

  7. Know yourself. Personally, I’m less outwardly sensitive to criticism.  Of course it still stings and of course I’d rather receive a steady stream of praise, but I like to receive my criticism without all of the frills.  But everyone isn’t like me and some people really need to hear the frills before they can process the criticism.  Knowing that others aren’t like me will keep me from completely crushing the more sensitive folks on my team.

  8. Expect defensiveness. The article says that we tend to “simplify the world by making it bipolar”.  So when you don’t tell Susie she’s the most amazing player in the whole, wide world…well, of course you are saying that she’s terrible.  The good news is that this is just the initial reaction and you can expect a change in behavior to follow.  You can also train your team about the proper response to your feedback.  Do you want them to look you in the eye while you’re talking?  Do you want them to respond with a “yes, Coach.”  Be sure to let them know!

Recommended Reading:

Role of Technique in Choreographing Figure Skating Programs

Role of Music in Choreographing Figure Skating Programs

Role of the Choreographer in Figure Skating

Artistic and Interpretive Events

Showcase Events

Theater On Ice Events


The following internet links have been gleaned from personal communications
combined with information from public institutions and athletic organizations/
associations that have a web presence with information concerning team and
individual sports programs:

Developing Personality Traits and Character Traits

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The limited use of the materials for education purposes is allowed providing
credit is given for the source of the materials.

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