Mind Over Sports

WHY COLLEGE ATHLETES DON’T SPEAK UP: THEY COULD BE BENCHED OR LOSE THEIR SCHOLARSHIPS.

Posted on: December 23, 2012

A good example might be an NCAA Division I mens basketball team. Let’s assume their head coach is having marital problems at home and is taking it out on his team. He’s short-tempered and treats his team badly. He’s not open to suggestions and has created a negative team environment. Team members would like to tell him how they feel but fear they might be benched or worse yet, cut from the team and lose their scholarships. And it is this “withholding” that affects their performance. “Withholding” is a form of lying that demeans them and lowers their self-esteem, creating psychological baggage that negatively affects their performance. That’s why I’m a strong advocate of team support groups, allowing team members to meet without any coaches present. As the team discusses their feelings and emotions in a protected team environment, they begin to feel better about themselves and their performance levels will increase. And the results of these meetings will show up in the team’s won/lost column. Athletic Directors who are responsible for selecting head coaches generally are hesitant to criticize them (since they were responsible for hiring them in the first place) and often stand by and wont take action unless pressured to do so by fan and media criticism.

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