CARVER Coaching & Performance Newsletter
Hi, Paul here,
I hope this finds you well. This week’s topic is:
Cognitive Biases Part 2
However, we will begin with…
We launched The CARVER Community for Positive & Impactful Sports Coaching on Wednesday. I’ve been really heartened by the response to it and uptake has been great. I can be an over-thinker and a worrier, so every time I put something new out, I am very much out of my comfort zone. However, outside of one’s comfort zone is where growth occurs.
A further step outside of my comfort zone has been taking CARVER Coaching and Performance into Phase 2 of the New Frontiers Programme. This is a programme ran by Enterprise Ireland and is a full- time six-month intensive engagement where places are offered following a competitive selection process.
New Frontiers is the national entrepreneurial development programme for early-stage
entrepreneurs with innovative business ideas which have the potential to scale and provide employment. I am committed to maximising my work’s potential for good. I believe in the work and want to it do the work justice by developing it into more consumer friendly formats. I want to see the principles of the work applied, on scale, across multiple coaching and performance domains. I believe it can help many.
The CARVER Community for Positive & Impactful Sports Coaching is my first step into online courses and content, and I committed to excellence in this. This programme will challenge coaches to go deep and support them in developing coaching practices which are true to who they want to be as a coach. When coaches are being true to themselves, great things happen.
In CARVER Coaching and Performance, we have lots of powerful stuff in the pipeline. We plan to do an online holistic athlete development programme similar to the coaches one early in the new year also and will hopefully launch that over the coming weeks. We have a number of new journaling products on the way and are also working on innovative projects of a bigger scale that are further down the pipeline.
Thanks for your continued support of my work. It really does mean a lot to me. As always, if you believe the work can help others, I’d greatly appreciate you spreading the word.
Cognitive Biases Part 2
Following on from last week, today we will explore two more cognitive biases. I hope you took something from last week’s piece and that today’s offering will further assist you in becoming more objective in your thinking.
Outcome bias as it relates to sport is the tendency to judge decisions based on whether they led to success or failure, rather than the processes involved. In sport this can often lead to unfair and damning judgements when a team or player’s efforts do not reflect the result. Commonly coaches may evaluate a player’s performance based on results, failing to consider the nuances of the player’s decision-making process, the impact of the team’s tactics and so on.
Below are some examples of how our judgement can be biased by outcomes and results:
Scenario: A youth hurling coach is focused on short-term outcomes, prioritising winning over the long-term development of players. This involves an over-reliance on star players to secure immediate victories.
Outcome Bias: The coach may neglect the development of younger, under-developed, less-experienced players, hindering theirs and team’s future success and ultimately limiting the overall growth of the team. (It is also quite likely that ‘star’ player isn’t being developed appropriately either.)
Scenario: A soccer team loses a game despite following the coach’s strategy. The players may have executed the plan poorly, but the coach attributes the loss solely to the lack of effort by the players.
Outcome Bias: The coach may fail to recognise that the strategy itself was flawed or that adjustments were needed during the game. This can result in a reluctance to change strategies or tactics.
As coaches we must ask ourselves:
• How can I be sure my decision making is thorough and has a positive impact on the
• What should I be focusing on rather than the result?
• What processes can I control which impact the outcome and performance?
This bias describes the overestimation of the benefits, and underestimation of the negatives, of a new idea, strategy or innovation. As coaches we can develop premature optimism without considering the potential risks and challenges which come with this new idea. Sometimes the prospect of developing or trialling something new is more attractive than the outcomes or results it may provide. We must aways remember what it is we’re trying to achieve and focus on the fundamentals that will turn the dial; simplicity yields complexity.
Here are some examples of how pro-innovation bias can negatively impact a coach’s decision-making:
Scenario: A coach might be over-eager to bring in a new piece of equipment for the first time, such as GPS units.
Pro-Innovation Bias: While these technologies can provide valuable insights, this bias might lead the coach to implement them hastily without considering potential disruptions or that someone is upskilled to use them effectively.
Scenario: A coach is always looking for innovative tactical approaches, such as adopting a new playing formation or introducing unique set plays.
Pro-Innovation Bias: This bias might lead the coach to frequently change strategies without allowing the team sufficient time to adapt and master the new approaches.
As coaches we must continually ask ourselves:
• Am I critically evaluating all aspect of this idea or am I just enthusiastic about a new
• Does this idea bring real value to the players’ development and performance?
• Can I introduce something similar which will be easier to incorporate?
For me, two critical words in coaching are: What is? Coming from a place of truth is a great starting point.
Be not biased,