Mind Over Sports


Posted on: March 5, 2010

It depends.  But I believe there’s a good chance they will and here’s why.  In today’s USA Today there was an article about All-American Damion James, and how James helped Head Coach Rick Barnes change his approach to coaching.  According to the article, “The coach used to curse when trying to make his point.  It wasn’t helping James come out of a slump last season, which Barnes realized in a one-on-one meeting when James reluctantly told him the cursing bothered him.  Barnes says he hasn’t cursed since.”

This is similar to a situation that existed with NFL Hall of Famer Kellen Winslow when he played for the University of Missouri. A wide receiver’s coach kept getting in his face, yelling and screaming at him.  This didn’t sit well with Kellen.  But rather than confront the coach he bottled up his feelings, not realizing the damage he was doing to his own sense 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.  Kellen told the assistant coach he didn’t appreciate his yelling and screaming in his face and the assistant coach immediately apologized, promising it would not happen again.  Kellen went on to be a superstar.

Now the question is: Has Coach Barnes applied the same principle when dealing with the entire team?  That is, allowing them to vent their feelings and talk about issues in a team meeting.  If yes, then Final Four here they come. If not, it will be short run in the Big Dance.


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