Debriefing a game

Jan. 10, 2011, 12 a.m. (ET)

As a Responsible Coach, de-briefing a game is a great time to help your players improve at their sports and learn life lessons. Improved performance stems from assessing the team’s progress against the backdrop of real competition, as opposed to the more controlled environment of practice. Life lessons may come in the form of you and your team overcoming adversity by starting to bounce back from a loss or re-committing to continual improvement even after a win.

Whether you conduct your de-brief immediately after the game or at the next practice, a favorite Responsible Coaching tactic is the “Winner’s Circle.” With your team in a circle, you can go around from player to player having each person say something specific and positive that a teammate did in the game. Your players’ confidence will rise when they realize their teammates saw things they did well.

As coach, you should speak last, making sure to provide those specific positives for any players who were left out. This is a great time to draw on the results of your Positive Charting where you or your assistants, players’ parents or even the players themselves have tracked the positive contributions of each player.

Another way to conduct a de-brief is to invite players to review both positives and areas for improvement from the last game. As a guideline, you might ask players to talk only about their own negatives, especially after a tough loss, to avoid finger-pointing.

Watch a youth coach put this principle to action on the field

In an effort to benefit millions of youth athletes, parents and coaches, this article is among a series created exclusively for partners in the Liberty Mutual Responsible Sports ProgramTM ( powered by Positive Coaching Alliance (