Constructive Criticism

If you went to high school or a liberal arts college in the past 15 or 20 years, you probably had at least one session of an English class that focused on constructive criticism, but it seems like the world needs a refresher. Or perhaps a reminder that it’s not just for English papers!

There are, obviously, helpful ways to criticize and less helpful ways. Whether watching someone skate or reading their writing, you want to offer helpful remarks. Less helpful: “That’s really good!” “You’re super fast!” “I don’t like this part.” “You’re not doing that right.” “What are you doing?!” More helpful: “You need to bend your knees more and put your weight back.” “This wording suggests negativity; try this other wording instead.” “When you do that, it’s dangerous to other skaters. What are you trying to do? We can figure out a way to achieve it safely.” A good tip: avoiding generalities, snark/passive aggression, and anger. Be specific, sincere, and reasonable. (Anger/reasonability applies more to skating, particularly say in a pack or during group drills at practice. Not so much writing critiques.)

Had a good, productive weekend. Hope to continue the streak.

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