From Cassi Lee, touring pro, LPRT,
Accepting feedback from people is a part of life, and a part of competition. Here are some tips for handling negative or unsolicited feedback:
From your coach – Listen, take notes, and be active in the feedback process. If you have a question or don’t understand, then ask! That’s what they’re there for – to help you learn and improve! Remember that constructive criticism from a coach is meant to build you up in the long run and improve your game – take it as a learning opportunity!
Multiple coaches – Some players have more than one coach for different reasons (are on a team, and have a private coach, for example). Handling feedback from multiple coaches can be very difficult. Different coaches teach and coach in vastly different ways (“how” vs “what” is a good example). Athletes of multiple coaches will get mixed messages, and are sometimes left in the lurch trying to figure it out on their own. If possible, have one coach and stick with them. If that’s not entirely possible (there are situations where it isn’t), there should be one coach that you have worked with longer – pass the advice from the second coach by your preferred, or longer-time coach. Don’t try to go it alone. This should minimize the effect of mixed signals and keep your game going smoothly upward!
Unsolicited feedback from ever-so-helpful players – Someone comes up to you after a game (or worse, between games!), tells you what you can improve on, how to shoot better, or how to position better, etc. My advice? Nod, smile, thank them for their input, and take it with a large grain of salt. Pass it by your coach when you’re done playing if need be.
Someone asks if you would like their input – There are a few ways to respond to this. “I would love your advice when I’m done playing this weekend”, or “I’m already coached, but thank you” are a couple good ones. Remember they’re just trying to help, but your coach is the expert here.