Ssshh... Don't Speak!

Being our child's parent and practice coach, our feedback is always well-intentioned.

But sometimes the words that we choose or the manner in which we deliver the feedback may not quite carry through our good intentions. This is especially when we are feeling rushed for time during practice or are carrying over the day's stress into the practice session. Or, like me, when you're feeling annoyed at having to repeat the same practice point at every practice session and throughout the whole session.

In some instances, the child may be either so focused on the task at hand or distracted by something else that he isn't hearing what you say.

Try giving non-verbal cues, reminders or feedback instead. Use cue cards to display short phrases, funny drawings or colour cues (e.g. green for 'Correct', yellow for 'Almost' and red for 'Not quite') to get your point across without saying it. Make it special by discussing with your child what 'secret code' to inscribe on the card (e.g. a chicken wing as a reminder to hold up her elbow whenever you see it starting to droop). Invite her to use her eyes to look out for your cues and reminders.

In our Parents Can Coach Positive Practice Toolkit, you will find a deck of small cards on a ring - our One-Point Focus Cue Cards. Write one practice point on a card whenever the need arises during a practice session. Return the card to the ring for easy retrieval when you next need it! It will save you from scrambling for a pen, Post-It notes and having to handle falling Post-Its when they lose their stickiness. Trust me - the same practice point will come up yet again. It's called One-Point Focus after all. Not One-Time Focus.

Have a go and see if it works. Repeat after me (or not 'cos... sshh): Silence is golden.

(Parents Can Coach Members can download the full poster from the Parents Can Coach Members Studio)

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