Mind Over Sports

Coaches who yell and verbally abuse referees during a game

Posted on: March 28, 2007

Coaches who yell at and verbally abuse referees during a game are not only creating a distraction, but are also providing their teams with a reason to lose: “the ref (expletive) us.” Coaches (and owners) need to remember not to let their emotions get the best of them. They need to control themselves, especially when the game is on the line. Here are two examples. One good, one not so good:

markcubanThe good one: Remember last year how Mark Cuban, owner of the Dallas Mavericks, was constantly yelling and screaming about the refereeing? Even running out on the court during a game? Well, times have changed. This year he’s kept a much lower profile, never complaining publicly, and it’s showing up in a positive way in the Mav’s won/lost column. At the time of this writing, they are leading the Western Conference.

coachtimfloydThe bad one: When USC was playing North Carolina in the NCAA tournament, USC was down by 6 points with not much time left on the clock, but still enough time to win. That is, until USC’s Coach Tim Floyd, to show his anger at what he perceived to be a bad call by one of the refs, tore up a program he was holding in his hand and threw the pieces onto the floor, causing a technical foul that literally put the game out of reach.

Coaches should remember that the negative emotions they exhibit in front of their teams during a game not only provide a distraction, but also give their teams “a reason to lose.” The best coaches are those who control their emotions, on and off the court. And though they may show some unhappiness with a call by a ref, just to let the team know they are there for them, they should never explode in anger. Like Tim Floyd did. And like Mark Cuban used to do.


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