The Funnel Effect

A problem coaches have (myself included) is giving the athlete too much feedback at one time. Any feedback that comes after the first or second cue just turns into noise. It’s like when you meet a group of seven people for the first time. Will you remember everyone’s name in the group? Not a chance. You’ll be lucky to remember the first three. The same can be said for coaching. If an athlete is working on vertical jump mechanics and has poor technique, the best way to approach the situation is by giving one or two things to master at a time. You could take the minor to major approach and try to correct two things, or just stick to one thing for the rest of the training session. Either way, the goal is to create a “funnel effect” and avoid giving the athlete information overload. This funnel effect is the coaches way of adapting to how an athlete thinks and responds to feedback and is arguably the best way to pass along information. Try it for yourself:

  1. Come up with five different cities that contain two words (i.e. Santa Monica)

  2. Say them all at once to someone ONE TIME

  3. Have them recite each city in the order you said and then in reverse

Hard right? It can be done, but takes a little brain power. In coaching, the athlete shouldn’t have to use a ton of brain power to make corrections. If they’re walking away from you reciting a bunch of cues under their breath, too much brain power is being used. At that point, the athlete has most likely reached information overload and you need to break out your funnel.