Wednesday, March 19, 2008


Good Coaching Behavior

Loves the game
Cares about athletes
Calls athletes to nobility
Focuses on excellence in fundamentals
Uses intensity to build and encourage
Speaks well of athletes to others
Shakes hands with the athletes
Encourages progress
Uses the coach position constructively
Is good at support
Talks to athletes directly
Says "We'll work on that"
Honors athletes' past coaches
Supports the team
With wins, boldly esteems the athletes
With losses, brutally examines self
Expects 100 percent from athletes
Gives 100 percent of self
Gives consistent message to athletes
Shows loyalty to athletes
Is strong in character
Invites feedback from athletes
Respects parents/family
Earns respect
Seeks to understand the athletes
"Owns" the results of his/her coaching
Apologies and forgives
Cultivates confidence
Embraces humility
Is teachable and open-minded
Seeks help and input
Shares information
Single faced and forthright
Emotionally and intellectually honest
Protects athletes' weaknesses
Admits personal weaknesses
Inspires hope
Brings joy to the game
Releases athletes
Channels passions
Finds the best in every athlete
Teaches and instructs
Works for athletes
Seeks acclaim for athletes

Bad Coaching Behavior

Loves to win
Cares about wins and losses
Calls athletes stupid
Develops the showy before the solid
Uses intensity to degrade and shame
Speaks poorly of athletes to others
Shakes head at the athletes
Encourages favorites
Uses the coach position to tear down
Is good at sarcasm
Talks about athletes behind their backs
Says "What was that?!"
Mocks athletes past coaches
Supports own ego
With wins, boldly esteems self
With losses, brutally examines athletes
Expects applause from athletes
Talks about how much he/she gives
Gives erratic message to athletes
Shows disgust with athletes
Boasts of his/her strength of character
Instills fear in athletes
Disregards parents/family
Expects or demands respect
Seeks to undermine the athletes
Blames results on athletes/staff/circumstances
Holds personal grudges, seeks vindication
Crushes confidence
Parades arrogance
Knows it all
Seeks to block and isolate
Withholds information
Two or three faced and oblique
Emotionally and intellectually dishonest
Exposes athletes' weakness to others
Denies personal weaknesses
Inspires hopelessness
Robs the game of joy
Stifles athletes
Chokes passions
Seeks only the best athletes
Yells and shames
Expects athletes to work for him/her
Seeks acclaim for self

Final note:
A Good Coach reads this and reflects on his or her style and motivations.
A Bad Coach reads this and responds with contempt and cynicism.
Gut check time.

~Mark Eaton~

I hope that according to this I'm moving more or less in the right direction. I also hope that anyone I coach will call me out if I'm not.


burn666 said...

Nice post dude. :)

After reading it i was wondering how it relates to the military boot camp experience (you know, with the drill sergeants, etc.) because it seems like its taken straight from the bad coaching section! ;)

Any ideas? Different psychological values/needs? Might it not have worked with positive reinforcement instead?

Albert said...

Hey, thanks for the comment man,

First of all I think that there's a pretty big difference when you compare a coach with a drill sergeant. There are similarities but when you get down to it, one guy's job scope is to raise the performance of athletes, and the other guy's is to use fear and discipline to turn civilians into soldiers.

I'm also sure that there are lots Drill Sergeants who care about the men in their charge and who try to make them better people as well as soldiers, so as far as that, it's dependent on the individual concerned. They can't all be like that guy in Full Metal Jacket.

Having said that I'm of the impression that much of the training when someone joins the army is designed to break you down mentally as well as physically. This makes it easier to take away your individuality, which in turn makes it easier to form bonds with fellow soldiers and also to obey orders without questioning.

I'm not saying that military training won't work using positive reinforcement, in fact I think that inspiration is a much greater, not to mention enlightened, motivation than fear. However, as I said, coaching an athlete is not the same thing as training a soldier. I mean, if you have to train grown men to kill others if necessary, teaching them to become better people may be counter-productive.

Bit rambling, but yeah.

Nicolai said...

I yell at people in my class. But i remind people that the reason i am yelling is so that everyone in the class can learn from one person's mistake and each person does not have to repeat the same mistake. i thought that was the reason drill sargeants yelled in the army (so everyone can learn at a faster pace).

The Real Geeza

Albert said...

Hi Nicolai,

(Unless I misunderstand you) I think we are actually on the same page here in saying that drill sergeants are so abrasive because it is an effective way to train people.

I don't actually have a problem with coaches yelling in class as long as it is made clear, as in your example, that your intentions are positive. I suppose it would also really depend on the kind of people you work with.

Thanks for the comment, and safe training!

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