Coaches Who Get In the Faces of Their Athletes
Posted September 15, 2006on:
Some parents have told me that they’re concerned about how a coach’s behavior might damage their child’s psyche, but based on my experience, it will have little or no effect if that child is coming from a loving, nurturing home environment. But if that child isn’t getting love and nurturing at home, and has a low sense of self-worth, the coach’s actions will more than likely re-enforce negative beliefs the child already has about himself or herself.
No coach should yell and scream and get in an athlete’s face. Coaches who do often say they were only trying to make a man out of a boy, or a woman out of a girl, and that they were doing it for the child’s own welfare. But the fact is, Coaches who follow this type of behavior generally have some issue (or issues) in their own personal lives that they’ve allowed to go unresolved, and their yelling and screaming in most instances has nothing to do with the child or the sport they are coaching but is actually a form of misdirected anger that can be traced to the issue (or issues) they are harboring. And if a coach can’t correct that behavior, which sometimes requires professional counseling, he (or she) should be replaced.
Kellen Winslow, who is an NFL Hall of Famer and former wide receiver for University of Missouri and San Diego Chargers, told me in an interview that during his sophomore year in college he had an assistant coach who yelled at him, attempting to improve his performance. This didn’t sit well with Kellen. But rather than confront the coach he bottled up his anger, not realizing the damage he was doing to his own feelings of self-worth. He stopped going to class and almost flunked out of school. But then he learned the importance of speaking up when team trainer Fred Wopple called a private meeting between Kellen and the assistant coach. The air was cleared, the assistant coach apologized, and Kellen went on to become a superstar.
And he also spoke up when the media was attacking his son, Kellen Winslow, Jr., for having violated his NFL contract by riding a motorcycle. Kellen learned long ago the importance of not keeping his feelings bottled-up, and the devastating effect that can have on an athlete, or even a former athlete.