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What’s the difference between praise and feedback?

In some ways, praise is a form of feedback I guess.

But there’s something I’ve learned over my years coaching – and this REALLY hit home when I read the book “Mindset” by Carol Dweck.


A great (and important) read if you’re a parent or coach, by the way…

And that’s the idea of praising the EFFORT, not the result.

Because the first develops a growth-oriented mindset…  Through effort and practice developing a skill, you can get better at it…


But, as I was reminded the other day, there’s also a time to praise the result.

I witnessed a touching moment the other day.

It was Bring-your-Daddy Day at my daughter’s nursery school.

So fun, and was great how excited she was about it… Someday in the future, I’m sure that won’t be the case.

Anyway, when I got there I learned that all the kids sign in at the beginning of class.

First Avery went to the table and wrote her name on the sheet, then I put mine next to hers.

I have to admit I was a little nervous for her. The girl before her wrote her name so well – so clearly.

See, for a while, my daughter had been having a hard time with the letter E… The horizontal lines in the uppercase E would just go on forever dwarfing the other letters.

But she’s been working on it (we’ve been finding ways to make it fun).

And when she wrote her name I was impressed. I even took a snapshot.

A few minutes later, we were at one of the tables playing and her teacher, Mrs. K., came up behind her.

She touched Avery’s shoulder, leaned in and said softly,

“That’s the best E you’ve ever done.”

It was really a touching gesture. One the teacher didn’t need to make.

Was she praising the “result”? Sure…

But in that moment, she was also recognizing the effort that had gone into it.

And if you’re a parent or coach, that’s a big part of it.

Not just providing feedback when a pitcher’s doing something wrong… Give feedback when he’s doing something RIGHT. Especially if it’s something he’s been working on for a while.

Take that few seconds it takes to tell him, “Hey, that’s the hardest one you’ve thrown today. You’re getting it.”

Or, like an email I got from a coach who’d been working with his pitcher on developing his curveball…

The pitcher had been struggling with it, even saying he just couldn’t throw a good curveball.

The coach then worked on it with him, following the approach in the Curveball Mastery system, and minutes later he told that pitcher…

“Yes you can… And you just DID.” He said the pitcher was smiling ear to ear.

That’s valuable feedback.

Praise the effort? Definitely…

But don’t forget to recognize the effort with a little positive feedback (praise) when things start to click.

It goes a LONG way.

Until next time…

Committed to Your Pitching Success,

Coach Phil