Q&A: Is Yelling at Players Good or Bad … or Does it Matter?
Dealing with a negative coach can be overwhelming for a youth athlete who is still learning the game and developing skills. Master Mental Game Coach, Patrick Cohn, Ph.D. , offers the following advice regarding dealing with a coach who leads by yelling.
James asks: This may sound like a strange question, but here’s what I do and don’t understand: Many coaches yell at their kids, even the young kids. They do this in part so that the kids can hear them out there on the ice or to get the kids attentions, which can be rather difficult at all ages, however, often it is because they’re upset with something the kid is or is not doing.
My instinct tells me this turns kids away from the sport. They don’t want to be yelled at and they won’t have fun with it. Plus, it seems as if it forces most of the kids to second-guess what they’re doing and therefore not act quick enough (which can get them yelled at more).
I do find it interesting that a lot of kids seem to not let it bother them at all! In fact, they chase the pucks hard and it seems to force the best effort out of them. I find that often these kids have parents who are yellers as well, so perhaps they are used to this type of behavior.
I also wonder if treating them with “kid gloves” inadvertently makes the kids more susceptible to chatter and contact from the other teams when they move up to a more advanced league. Would this make them ill-prepared for more competitive play? Sports biographies rarely cover the younger years of professional athletes so I’ve found that it is hard to come to a conclusion as to what works.
I am concerned that the mantra of “don’t yell at the kids” or “don’t pressure the kids too much” has become the new way of doing things, but not necessarily the best way of doing things.
What do you think?
Answer: As a mental coach to athletes, my main concern about coaches who yell is that some athletes will react negatively to this and lose confidence. I agree that yelling forces most kids to second-guess their behavior. A big downside, from a mental game perspective, happens when kids are afraid to make mistakes because they fear what the coach will do. This causes some athletes to play more tentatively in fear of making more mistakes — not a great mindset to perform ones best.
Many kids will feel embarrassed when they are singled out by the coach and yelled at for mistakes. These kids are less likely to work hard for the coach because they feel in opposition to the coach.
I also agree that yelling can get kids attention, but why does a coach have to yell at the kids to get attention? Do they not respect the coach? Are they messing around too much? Do they have their own agenda? If players on the team respect the coach, they will listen to him without the coach yelling.
Editor’s Note: A special thank you to Patrick J. Cohn, Ph.D. for this insightful answer.
Fatal error: Call to undefined function wp_related_posts() in /nfs/c03/h06/mnt/57119/domains/phoenixcoyotescare.com/html/wp-content/themes/PhoenixCoyotesCare/single.php on line 32