Mentor or Bully — Who’s Your Coach?

Is this your image of a coach? Be honest, with March Madness in full swing, while billions of dollars are poured through our economy through a series of college basketball games, there are many that see problems with this infatuation. Not so much with the values youth athletics can teach a child about life virtues – grit, teamwork, perseverance, work ethic, *insert management buzzword here*, but rather with the “expertly trained” professionals patrolling the sidelines. Coaches are often considered mentors, teachers and even parent figures, but can also be associated as bullies, screamers and tantrum throwers.

So where is the line between educating and bullying? Recently in an article in the Atlantic, Linda Flanagan wrote a piece about a young lady who was being belittled to the point where the sport was no longer fun. In the article she focuses on the “typical coach” who screams and belittles the players to get maximum performance in an event. I’ll let you read the various reasons why (under paid, under trained, every complaint you can assign to all education related issues) some coaches act this way and others don’t. While the article is certainly polarizing in athletic coaching circles, I really want to hear what you think about coaches and their role in athletics – so in the comments below, tell me what you think about this:

Everyone pretty much agrees that throwing bats and screaming at your 10-year-old baseball team would be considered extreme, but are we rewarding this type of behavior in how we flock to consuming March Madness, or are we viewing the positives of what athletics teaches us about human emotion and communication?

So while people will tune in to watch Duke, Kentucky, Georgia State and the fantastic human displays of embracing the occasion and withering in pressure, I will be glued to Coach K, Calipari and of course, Ron Hunter.

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This entry was posted in Fun, Managing Yourself, March Madness, Psychology, Social Change, Sports. Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to Mentor or Bully — Who’s Your Coach?

  1. sydhavely says:

    I had a bully of a track coach in high school who happened to have coached Olympians so whatever he did or said was pretty much ignored by school officials. He was like Bobby Knight at Indiana. I coached an Olympian myself, a woman named Margaret Groos who competed in the marathon in Seoul, Korea. I never chastised or belittled her. I pushed her when I thought she needed it but not beyond her limits. I learned from many greats. I once asked Marty Liquori’s high school coach how he coached him. “Easy,” he said. “I tried not to screw him up.” Great post, Seth.

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