The Press Box For Oct. 4
There’s a humorous saying in the sports world probably coined by coaches to reflect the sometimes thankless nature of their job, “Good game, good team; Bad game, bad coach.” Translation: When a team or athlete has a great performance all the credit goes to the them. They played great because of their ability, talent, hard work, and perseverance. However, should that same team have a terrible game, then of course all the blame for their sub-par performance must completely lie with the coach.
The coach must have done something wrong. Perhaps he called the the wrong play or said the wrong things to the team right before the game. Maybe his overall game plan was suspect. While some athletes and parents actually buy into this silly, one-sided belief system and are always looking to externalize blame for their failures, there are a number of coaches who have developed and live by their own, not so very funny version of it “Good game, good coach. Bad game, bad team.”
These coaches are especially quick to take responsibility for their athletes’ great performances and equally as quick to avoid any responsibility whatsoever should that same athlete or team fall apart. To these coaches a bad performance is the sole fault of someone else. They refuse to look in the mirror to examine themselves and their potential role in the failure. Their attitude is always very simple. “Had you done exactly what I taught you, then you wouldn’t have had any problems and would’ve performed the way that you were supposed to. The fact that you didn’t is clear proof that you screwed up!” These kinds of coaches are quite destructive in their defensiveness and refusal to own up to their part in the failure.
As far as I’ve seen we don’t have those kind coaches here in the Valley. I have been around a lot of them in my time and nearly all of have been great role models for our kids. Don’t take it to hard or personal when your child’s coach comes down hard, it’s part of their job. They have to teach the game and they have to point out the mistakes and try to make corrections. It doesn’t mean they dislike your child, in fact in shows they care.
Most coaches I have talked with, have nothing but good intentions. They want what’s best for their team and athletes. They try their hardest to give all the kids playing time. But often they get in a situation where the better players must play to get the win. That’s part of the coaches job as well,”Winning games.”
I always thought I might want to be a coach, however with what I hear and see it just might be the last job I would want, it’s a tough road to walk and not everyone is cut out for it. I have total respect for anyone who takes on the responsibility of coaching other peoples kids.
Talk about headaches! Last week there was talk about a local coach supposedly shoving a kid and screaming at the team following a loss. It was my understanding, the call was going out for his firing. What a much of crap!
Put yourself in a coaches position for just a second. Imagine what it would be like working with kids who actually never do anything wrong. They don’t take constructive criticism well, and sometimes not at all, because they and their parents think they are always right.
There is a lot of talk that goes on behind the coaches back that I am sure they are aware of. And believe me they know who you are. No sane coach would want players or parents like that on his/her squad, to much of a distraction.
There is a major problem in the NFL and it’s called lack of respect. My view on this is they probably got this way because of lack of discipline, refusing to take responsibility for their mistakes, never being held accountable for their actions and always blaming someone else. In short it was always the coaches fault, from the time they were being raised until they became adults.
I sat in a coaches meeting not long ago where they were trying to figure out what our athletes were going through. They were trying to find ways to reach out to certain ones, to get tuned in to their emotions.
The coaches talked about some kids being a real pain in the butt, however they wanted to figure out ways around that, so they could get the most productivity out of them.
One of them said, put yourself in the kids place, “We don’t want to be unapproachable or non-communicative, we have to be open to feedback and we must take responsibility for our mistakes” if we can’t do that we will never gain respect.
Since the glue that holds your coaching together is the quality of the relationship you build with your players, your concern for where your athletes are emotionally coming from will help you build the best relationship possible.
Think about this for a second. Everything you know as a coach, all your experience, skills and knowledge, is only as effective and useful as the quality of the relationship that you create with every one of your athletes. If you alienate them, yell at them continually, deliberately play head games with them or embarrass them in front of their peers when they make mistakes or lose, then they will lose respect for you and gradually tune you out.
For example, a basketball coach at a summer AAU game for 12 year old’s was so upset with how poorly his team was performing and he took a timeout early in the second half. He angrily smashed his clipboard down on the bleachers, shattering it, and then screamed at his players, “I’m sick and tired of watching you guys make the same dumb mistakes over and over again. It’s totally pitiful! I’m too ashamed to be seen as your coach!” Then there’s the head high school football coach who screamed at his players on the field right after a tough loss, “You played like a bunch of girls today. You’re a total embarrassment to me, our coaching staff and your school!”
That’s not how you want to deal with your frustration over failure and poor performance. It’s abusive and negative and totally lacking in anything constructive, teaching-wise. When your athletes fail, what they need most from you is your patience and understanding. They need to know that losing or messing up is not something to fear. Coaches who go ballistic whenever their athletes fail, inadvertently teach their players to worry more about failing than winning. As you probably know, being preoccupied with screwing up while you are performing is a great way to insure that you’ll play tight and the chance that you will screw up dramatically increases. Instead, your athletes need to know from you, that if they don’t have to worry about your anger, if they can truly trust you to appropriately handle their failures and screw-ups, then they will be able to play loose, relaxed and fear-less.