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Tuesday, October 29, 2013

DEAN SMITH ON PRAISE AND CRITICISM

It was important to know how to treat each player because the players were not all alike.  If I was critical of one, he might go downhill for the rest of practice. After criticizing him, I tried to find a reason to praise him, although it wouldn't be false praise.  At best false praise results in short-term benefits.  How are work ethic and self-esteem enhanced through false praise?  They aren't.  I waited until he did something well, even if it mean waiting for days. It was wasn't good teaching to allow mistakes to go uncorrected.

Some players responded to my criticism by getting angry and playing better.  Each player responded differently.  It was up to me to find out the best way to deal with each on an individual basis.

During my one-o0n-one meetings with the players I asked each one if it would bother him if I criticized him in front of his teammates.  I told him that if it would, I could bring him to the office after practice and do it.  Waiting until after practice to criticize wouldn't have been as effective, of course, but it was an option.  I can't recall any player's choosing to do it that way.

We certainly didn't want our players to criticize a teammate for making a mistake.  One of the major elements of our team-building effort was an understanding that the players support one another.  This was part of our cast-the-first-stone theory.

Of course, it's just as important to praise as it is to criticize.  We were careful in practice to praise unselfish acts, good execution, and effort.  Praise behavior you want to see repeated.  Positive reinforcement is crucial to team building.

From "The Carolina Way" by Dean Smith