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Athlete Retention and "Video Recaps"



Wanna know a harsh truth about coaching? 

Most of your clients don't practice what you teach them in your live sessions. 

Now I don't mean to diss on the discipline of all athletes. Obviously, there are plenty who show up to coaching each week having mastered their homework. 

And it's not like athletes choose to not practice effectively. It's usually not a problem with motivation or "laziness". 

More often, they just don't remember WHAT they should practice! 

Everything might click when you are together but within days, 90% of what you taught won't be retained. This results in time being wasted reviewing and repeating the previous week's session, rather than progressing. Two steps forward, one step back (at best). 

There's actually a scientific name for this phenomenon - it's called the Ebinghaus "forgetting curve." Solving this "forgetting" issue is one of the core reasons why I created the CoachNow Platform in the first place. 
But here's an insider secret: retention is a skill. 

And, like any skill, it can be improved through training and practice… IF the student has the ability to review. 

So how do you train your athletes to retain information? Easy. Use Video Recaps. 

You've probably heard me talk about recaps before, but I really can't stress just how much they improved my life as a coach (and you're athletes will love it too). 

So, this week, I want to dive deeper into a specific form of video recaps that's worked wonders for me. I wish I'd known this simple coaching hack sooner, and I hope you'll put it in play in your next session! 

Let's get to it. 

What is a Video Recap? 

By "video recap", I mean a 1-3 minute video taken at the end of EVERY coaching session. An effective recap always includes two key elements: WHAT to practice and WHY. 

And, ideally, you should always record at least two recaps before you call it a day. 

In the first recap, pull out your phone and record a video of your athlete/client explaining their biggest takeaways from that session. 

As they speak, elaborate upon any points that they make, and clarify any misunderstandings that may have arisen. Make sure to succinctly explain to you WHAT the practice plan is going forward and WHY it's important for their improvement. 

The goal here is to give your athlete the chance to show what they've retained, and give you as coach the opportunity to fill in the gaps. 

After they finish, trade places. 

Ask your athlete to take a video of you, and in that video provide a brief summary of exactly what you went over that day and why it's important. 

You should demonstrate key learnings and make it very clear WHAT they should work on between now and your next session and WHY it matters to their goals. 

Go line by line on all the mistakes you corrected and the advice you gave for how to fix them. Give a simple, yet thorough explanation of what is expected of them moving forward. 

See the video below for an example from one of my own coaching sessions. 

Benefits of Video Recaps 

Everything that you do with these "direct to camera" video recaps should be aimed at conquering the "forgetting curve". 

When done correctly, this ConnectedCoaching best practice benefits you as the coach, while also delivering tangible value to your athletes. 

Let's start with Coach benefits: 

  • Recaps make it easy to calibrate your coaching/communication effectiveness. They provide a regular feedback loop and help you as a coach realize what styles of teaching your athletes respond best to. Every athlete is different, and requiring them to repeat back what they learned will result in a better understanding of their unique needs and learning styles.

  • No one wants to repeat themselves over and over again, and it can be very frustrating for your athlete to make the same mistakes every week. Video recaps increase accountability and reduce repetition. Requiring them to explain the gameplan in their own words limits the number of excuses they can make for themselves if they don't practice. Plus, you won't need to spend the first 5-10 minutes of each session repeating what you did last week since that info is so easy for them to access on their own time. 

  • The more your athletes remember, the more they improve. The more they improve, the happier they'll be with your coaching. As I always say, "Retention = Retention" – the more your clients retain from your sessions, the more likely you are to retain them as a client. And, of course, their success will also be enjoyable to witness, and you will feel more fulfilled as a coach overall. 

Key benefits for the Athlete: 

  • When your athletes have a video record of WHAT to practice and WHY it matters, they are simply less likely to forget. Encourage them to rewatch the recaps before practicing to center their intentions and ensure they are taking your feedback into account. These recaps also prevent them from practicing the WRONG things and reinforcing bad habits. When compounded over time, recaps will lead to a noticeable improvement in their progress vs. just "going off memory".

  • It's important that your athletes don't just improve, but that they also feel like and believe they are improving. To that end, these videos also function as a "progress journal" for the athletes. If they ever feel discouraged or stuck, encourage them to watch videos from a few months back. This can do wonders for their psyche by calibrating expectations and putting any potential struggles into perspective. 

  • Remember that feeling of an upcoming "pop quiz" in school? The social pressure of being "put on the spot" is a great motivator for learning! Requiring the athletes to recap the coaching session formalizes and solidifies their learning while instilling that heightened focus you get from a pop quiz. No one wants to be caught off guard and say the wrong thing – use that motivator to your advantage. 

Want more CoachNow advice on Video Analysis best practices? Check out these two posts: 

The 3 Key Benefits of Video Analysis 

The 3 Biggest Mistakes Coaches Make With Video Analysis

Give it a Try! 

Of course, CoachNow is the perfect place to host these video recaps in one streamlined, tailor-built platform. I highly recommend posting these videos from within your athlete's space while you are still together, that way it doesn't become another task in your backlog. 

And, as we covered in an earlier post, be sure you set clear boundaries around your time and interactions when it comes to these recaps. 

Enough talking! 

Give it a try and let me know the results: 

Here's to better retention (and retention)! 

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