One of our Masters swimmers is a former fighter pilot. AB (as he is known to his friends) gave a valuable presentation to our Senior 1 training group months ago. He shared with us the pre and post flight briefings that were part of his profession. As obvious as the pre-flight sessions were to our group it was the post-flight ones that got our attention most. In these debriefing sessions a couple of things were prominent.
All ranks were disregarded, meaning the senior most pilot’s comments were no more valuable to the group discussion than the least ranked pilot’s. Additionally, nothing was presented personally so no comments were taken personally. If you made a mistake simply admit. If you saw a mistake simply state it; end of discussion.
He told us that the success of the next mission was mostly determined by the debriefing; it was the only real lasting way for members of the team to improve.
Keep in mind that failure in their profession often meant loss of life. It made everyone willing to fully engage in the process of getting better. Debriefings were extremely important.
With our swim team we do the same thing at the end of a training cycle. We have just concluded our fall training block with all swimmers having raced at an important meet in the last two weekends.
At our most recent team meeting we handed out the following questions asking everyone to be brutally honest with themselves. They answered each of the questions in writing and then kept the answers. We asked them to take the sheet home and put it somewhere so that it would be visible to them daily. Its purpose was to remind them of the things they did correctly and those that needed attention going forward.
When we meet with them about winter 2012 goals we will ask them about their own view of their fall season and see how our feedback might add to their awareness.
Below is our list of questions. Thanks again to AB for sharing so freely of his wisdom and experience!
WHAT WE LEARNED – WHAT WE WANT TO CHANGE
WHAT DID I DO CORRECTLY AT THE MEET?
WHAT COULD I HAVE DONE DIFFERENTLY?
HOW DID MY TEAMMATE(S) HELP ME?
HOW DID I HELP MY TEAMMATE(S)?
WHAT DID I DO CORRECTLY IN MY TRAINING?
WHAT COULD I HAVE DONE DIFFERENTLY IN MY TRAINING?
HOW WILL MY FOCUS CHANGE THIS WINTER?