Should Coaches Yell at Their Players?
There is a stereotype about coaches who tend to yell at their players when they are not playing well. This can actually be seen to produce results. Not all of us as coaches subscribe to the yelling methodology. Below are some points to consider.
Coaches have a temper tantrum?
My take on it is yelling is the coaches reaction to losing patience with their player. As coaches, sometimes you do lose the plot a bit after trying and trying to improve a particular area of your players game or seeing the same mistakes made time and time again. Yelling at that point almost releases the tension for the coach and may well snap their players into gear. Yelling at the outcome of something such as the score is certainly pointless. Yelling about a process such as their work rate or lack of team work etc can have some benefits but a better term is assertiveness which is more controlled rather than emotional. Most Coaches who are yelling a perhaps having a temper tantrum. This guy has definately had a temper tantrum in response to the referee.
Regression to the mean
I found a really interesting article which talks about how the words we use as coaches are not as important as we think they are. The statistical concept of regression to the mean will most times take it’s place. In laymans terms this means that if you have a shocker, it is likely you will play better the next time. Likewise, if you have a perfect day, it is likely you will not reach those heights next time. Therefore the yelling a coach does during and after a really bad performance or training is less relevant than the fact statistically, the player/s is going up in level anyway for the next time. Check this article out.
That coach is too soft on them?
Some people can perceive the coach who yells to be hard on them and good for their kids. The aggressiveness is linked to being more diligent in terms of discipline and work rate. Sometimes this is true and there have been some amazing coaches who deliver in this style. If i am running a squad group this is where i will slip more into senior sergeant mode. This can create a intense atmosphere which is important in a training environment. However yelling at a kid in a private lesson or during or after a match is something I see as counter productive. Praise publicly and criticise privately is the key. I also see yelling as the short cut to try and make an athlete/pupil tough. Building a tough player needs to include many different pillars such as some of these that go above and beyond just forehands and backhands. It is important to realise that coaches have different styles. The guys from athlete assessments do a great test to see your coaching style.
I stumbled upon another good article talking about yelling in sport and looking at it from the perspective of an athlete, a yelling coach and a parent. If parents were also taught by the yelling style of coaching then they are going to expect the same for their kids. My final suggestion to parents is not to confuse a coach who doesn’t yell all the time as soft. The coach who picks the known strong player to play in a team when the player hasn’t attended any training sessions and is expecting automatic selection, then that is soft. Here is the article.
When yelling is awesome
Positive inspiring yelling can be exceptional. My favourite type of movies are sports movies. There is so many clips I could of put on here but here are a couple below. So to summarise, its not the yelling itself but the content and message of the yelling.
Any Given Sunday
Thanks for reading
Director of Tennis
Scarborough Tennis Academy