In Coaching: Good/Bad/Unfair, Problems in Youth Sports

There’s a very old school of coaching out there. VERY OLD as in prehistoric! It subscribes to the belief that the coach is the all powerful, all-knowing OZ and NO ONE on the team should ever question or challenge him/her.

This kind of coach (NC) supposedly “teaches” through intimidation, domination and fear. Injured athletes or those who report injuries are considered weak and asking this kind of coach about getting more playing time is responded to as if it’s an act of outright insubordination or sedition.

Often times such a coach fancies him/herself an expert in psychology and motivation. There is a cruel humor to this self-belief because nothing could be further from the truth! In reality, the Neanderthal Coach (NC) is totally out of touch with what really good coaching is all about because he/she is completely closed off from outside feedback. The NC views the learning process as a very narrow, one-way street where information flows from him/her to the athlete or his/her parents. Sadly, this is not even close to what good education at any level is about.

The NC believes that the emotions and feelings of his/her players are totally irrelevant and worse, a sign of weakness. Therefore the NC regularly ignores and/or tromps all over his players’ feelings so that they will become “tougher.” In this way, he/she is like a bull in the china shop. Like an un-coachable athlete, the NC does not believe he can learn anything from anyone, be it his/her players, fellow coaches and/or educational experts. This is because the NC deludes him/herself into believing that his/her way is not only the “right” way, but the only way!

In short, the NC is often times a terribly rigid, emotionally immature person. The NC’s rigidity and defensive anger that gets reflexively triggered whenever he/she is questioned by a player is a sign of underlying inadequacy. Inadequate people are always threatened by different and/or outside ideas and respond to feedback and questions as if their self-esteem and self-worth are being directly attacked. This is why the NC uses fear and intimidation as his/her main coaching tool. Like with a dictator, threats of retaliation and fear keep the masses in check.

The NC witnesses good coaches who actually listen to their players, actively seek out their feedback, genuinely care about their feelings and appropriately respond to them as “soft.” The NC is really nothing more than a coward and a bully, a child abuser masquerading as a coach. The NC and all of the athletes that they come in contact with would be far better served if they simply changed professions to one where they work only with their hands with inanimate objects. Like the dinosaur, the NC needs to simply go away!


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