Bad Coaching?

Oct 20, 2009

 Throughout my career as an athlet e I have experienced both good and bad coaches.  Unfortunately, I must admit that I have experience coaches that fair on the rather 'bad' side of the coaching spectrum. But what makes a good coach? I think there are many things that a high school athlete needs as far as guidance and instruction, but I think think many coaches have over looked those things in order to achieve a more authoritative and assertive role. 

Maybe its because I'm a senior this year as well as a captain, but this year I have had to deal with my coach more. More team meetings, more issues to handle, more responsibility etc... In previous years I never had much interaction as far as planning things out and keeping the team well organized. But this year the pressure  is on. Which would be fine, if I wasn't getting constantly yelled at, scolded for voicing my opinion, and somewhat "blamed" for what goes wrong. That, more than anything, turns me away. I am a firm believer in respect, and for me, respect goes both ways. I hold respect for you, if you hold respect for me. But sometimes I think coaches kind of forget that. At least, the coaches I've had sometimes do. Yelling at practice is expected. If you make a mistake, you should be instructed on how to avoid it in the future, or to reflect on why it was a mistake. I get that. Mistakes are a part of the game. Yelling, is a part of a game. But when players are walking out of practice clearly defeated, and girls cry after a drill because of being constantly ragged on, I think it becomes a problem . 
There has to be a better way to coach without having players lose faith and respect  for themselves. One coach I know, Jamie, once confronted some of my teammates and I after a game - one of which our coach completely lost it - and explained, "I try to never get worked up. Not in the game, and not at my players". I think this should be true of all coaches. And it's not just in soccer. In my understanding, football coaches always seem to have the fear-stricken perception. I remember last year I was waiting to speak to one of our football coaches outside of the locker room because I couldn't go in there and I asked a freshman if he could please tell the Coach that I was waiting to talk to him. As soon as the question left my mouth the boy's immediate response was a wide-eyed grimace and the words "OHHHHH NO!". At the time it made me laugh, but looking back on it, should players really be afraid of their coaches? Yes, and intimidation level can be used to make your players perform but when it gets to the point that we cannot even approach them due to the consequences that could come, is that really a healthy relationship?
According to Robby Stahl, this is the take of how coaches affect players :

"However, few coaches are actually aware that their own expectations and behaviors helped produce this self-fulfilling performance result in their athletes. Thus, it is absolutely critical that all coaches understand the cyclical relationship between their expectations and players' performance - players' athletic development and enjoyment are dependent on this knowledge. "




Emma-     I am in

Submitted by ccurtin on Wed, 2009-10-21 00:24.
    I am in complete agreement with you on this one. I myself have had a fair share of coaches who could easily be labeled as bad and I think you get to the point of why that happens so often when you write "I think there are many things that a high school athlete needs as far as guidance and instruction, but I think think many coaches have over looked those things in order to achieve a more authoritative and assertive role." I think that it is important for coaches to ensure that their team knows who's in charge, but often times they don't go about it in a proper manner. Instead of establishing that respect you mentioned in a positive way, coaches can go overboard and force athletes to give them respect rather than earning it. In my opinion, coaches should ultimately make an athlete strive to get better, not turn them away from the sport they love, and this has a lot to do with the way they approach coaching. Thanks for the post!


Emma, i greatly enjoyed your

Submitted by mbrock on Sun, 2009-10-25 15:38.


i greatly enjoyed your post and really connected with the problems associated with a difficult coach. my own experience with swimming has produced a fair share of coaching conflicts, and even challenged my stamina in the sport as a whole. i think that a lot of coaches tend to get carried away with the improvement of the player or team and forget to incorporate enjoying the sport into that regime. this creates unnescesary stress for many athletes, especially when all they hear is constructive criticism. i liked your thought about how respect goes both ways. although the respect may always be there, bad situations can arise when respect isn't made obvious. i think a good coach needs to make his or her team always feel appreciated underneath all the tough practices and harsh comments. a healthy sense of fear of dissapointment is good, but it can sometimes make the players feel like they are playing the sport soley for the coach, and not for themselves. good coaches need to find the balance between positive and negative in order to keep their players making progress. good insight!

Emma What a great post! I

Submitted by rcaravati on Sun, 2009-10-25 18:37.


What a great post! I have been saying for a while that i have always disliked  coaches. A far back as i can remeber i have disliked every one of my coaches. That goes for soccer, Basketball, and all other sports that i tried. I know coaches dont have it easy but that doesnt mean they should yell at their players and make them feel bad. Bad coaching is one of treasons why i am not currently playing a team sport. I think that coaches sometimes forget that their players have alot going on besides that sport. Alot of sports players have school work and other issues to deal with and when you add the pressure of a competitve game to that it can be just a little to much. Exelent post.


Emma-   I really liked

Submitted by samwatson on Sun, 2009-10-25 19:18.



I really liked your post, "Bad Coaching?", because I have had to deal with it before as well. I can relate to it. To me, there is a very fine line between when a coach is offering constructive criticizm and when the coach is downright insulting a player. Coaches are there not only to instruct, but to support as well. When the players on the team are too afraid to talk to their coach, there is obviously no support there. In that same light, there will be far less improvement among the players if they are scared of their coach. They will not be able to approach the coach with questions, nor will they be able to improve as quickly if they are always being told what they are doing wrong. I feel as if coaches shared the same oppinion as you, there would be a lot more motivation for kids to play sports. I know there would be for me.


  I agree with you and I

rprotik's picture
Submitted by rprotik on Sun, 2009-10-25 22:20.


I agree with you and I really enjoyed your post.  And since you're a captain, you're going to have to take a lot of heat if your team is not doing well (hopefully you succeed).  Coaches are the leaders of a team.  When the team fails or loses, it's usually the coach who takes most of the blame.  As you see in pro sports, losing teams, the coaches are the ones who are always getting fired.  They are in charge of their squad.  But that's a different story.

I agree with you that a coach should always respect his players because if he respects them, then they will respect him.  Mutual respect between the coach and players is the key to success.  The coaches must also be supportive of his players.  Let's say the game is on the line in basketball.  You draw up a play for the star player to get the ball to hit the last shot to win the game.  However, when the ball is inbounded, the play fails and you lose.  The coach has the right to be upset, but he can't just explode on his players.  The best coaches are the ones who rebound from this loss and learn from the mistakes and move on.  

Discipline is another thing coaches must teach his players.  Showing bad attitude and behavior could have a negative effect on players.  I think a great example of a coach is Tony Dungy, former Colts coach.  He led the Colts to a Super Bowl win in '06, after many years of failure in the playoffs.  His impact on his players made the Colts a very well disciplined team.  Thank you for writing this post.  I hope to read more from you and I hope you and your team succeed.





 Emma, I enjoyed your

Submitted by bfery on Sun, 2009-10-25 22:40.


I enjoyed your article because I've seen many coaches on both sides of your spectrum. I think that coaches need to find some meeting ground that fulfills the important aspects of each end. Some coaches use their power to a very severe extent while others carry no authority amongst their players. I'm sorry that you had to experience a coach a little far on the power side. I think the best thing a coach can be is respectful. When someone treats you with respect and as an equal, you develop a respect for them that makes the relationship function. Although, when you receive no respect in return, things begin to deteriorate. Another aspect that is important is listening. If a coach isn't willing to hear the opinion of someone actually playing the game, they shouldn't be coaching at all.