Praise, Correct, Praise In Coaching Youth Soccer Players

I forgot which soccer coach or soccer clinic it was, but I was taught the "praise, correct, praise" method of giving players feedback a long time ago.  The whole idea is based around keeping players confident and giving them constructive criticism in a manner in which they don't feel like they are being picked on or demoralized.  So, instead of:

"Mason,  keep your chin down and knee over the ball when you shoot so it doesn't keep going over the crossbar!"

you can say:

"Mason, that shot has a lot of power. Let's start focusing on keeping your chin down and  knee over the ball when you shoot. That is going to help you keep your shots on target so you can showcase the scoring ability I know is in you."

I have no problem with healthy communication and coaches being aware of their words (amongst other things) and the impact they have on the psychology of their athletes. However, I also feel that it is important to develop character using the game of soccer, and that having a strong character and thick skin is a prerequisite for greatness in soccer.  If a harsh comment really does break a player's confidence or on the flip side,  a player is constantly seeking the validation of the coach in order to believe in themselves there is cause for concern.

There is a word in Hebrew called "tachless". The word Tachless (pronounced takh’les), which means, the essence, the bottom line, the brass tacks. Israel is a culture known for being straightforward and lacking political correctness, and they value being straight shooters and not beating around the bush. Perhaps this is due to the fact that as a nation they have had to face a lot of adversity and seem to always under siege.  

“Speaking ‘tachless'” means speaking to the point – delivering a clear and unambiguous message. Saying “In ‘tachless’…” means “the essence is…”.

As beautiful of a game soccer is, it comes with bumps, bruises, losses, bad performances, plateaus, etc. It is not a matter of if, it is when.  Players need to be prepared for these set backs and to develop autonomy in their mental toughness.  The players who go on to do great things are not the ones who need to ask everyone and their mother how they played. The great ones learn to water the flowers of their own self belief.