If you’ve been around athletics long enough (as I have) you will notice the different personalities, styles, and types of coaches that exist. There are some coaches who believe it is all about the athletes, as it should be. Then there are coaches who believe it is all out them. This week we’re going to focus on the topic of insecure coaches, the traits they exhibit, and what should be avoided.
Insecure coaches are demeaning. They feel the need to make corrections and discipline an “event.” When dealing with high school athletes a coach must remember to build up rather than tear down. Sadly, some coaches will belittle and berate athletes in front of their teammates and coaches. Kids do not respond to that. There is room for correction and discipline without having to make an athlete feel worthless.
Insecure coaches use fear as a motivator. These coaches will use conditioning as a punishment. If a team loses, there are consequences at practice the next day. I believe coaches will not get the best from their athletes if fear is used to motivate. Players should respect and look up to their coaches, not fear them. Coaches don’t have to put fear into their athletes to get them to give their best effort. Quite the opposite is true. If players respect and admire their coaches, they’ll give 10 times more than those who fear their coach.
Insecure coaches use backhanded compliments. This comes in the form of trying to say something nice about a player but in doing so you bring up a flaw of theirs. An example would be saying that Johnny lacks athletic ability and confidence but he’s a great teammate. There is no need to do this in a public forum. While it may make the coach feel as if they’re in control, it ultimately makes the coach look bad in the public’s eye. As a coach you should only make positive comments about individual players in public. Coaches should always stand up for and defend their players. Giving a backhanded compliment screams of insecurity.
Insecure coaches are afraid to give praise. It’s all about me. You’ll hear this often from insecure coaches: “I beat this team” or “I’ve won district titles.” When their team loses you’ll hear, “The kids are not very good this year,” “I’ve got a bad group,” or “They’re just uncoachable.” One thing I’ve learned to be true is that the more praise you give out, the more you are likely to receive in return.
Insecure coaches won’t ask for help. They will not ask other coaches questions that will benefit the coach and their program. Insecure coaches view it as a sign of weakness to ask others for advice. They tend to think they’re going to reinvent the wheel. The vast majority of coaches know that one true way to get better is to seek peers out and ask for advice. The best welcome honest feedback and take opportunities to learn from others. There is nothing wrong with taking what works for someone else and seeing if it works for you.
Insecure coaches won’t give credit to other coaches. It’s okay after getting beat to “tip your cap” and tell the other coach they did a good job. Coaching is very much a fraternity. The more quality relationships you build, the better off you’ll be in the long run. It is not self-deprecating or defeating to give praise to another coach. Once again, the more you give out, the more you’ll receive in return.
Insecure coaches won’t admit mistakes. Whether it’s to players, assistants, or peers, insecure coaches feel they lose value by admitting mistakes. In reality, the opposite is true. People like when others are able to admit mistakes because it shows they’re human and down to earth. It’s a sign of strength, maturity, and leadership for a coach to admit their mistakes. It will give the coach more buy in from the players. Players are more willing to take constructive criticism when they know the coach is willing to admit mistakes. Coaching, like life, is a learning process.
People who are confident and secure have more success. By avoiding the coaching insecurities discussed above, coaches will be on the right path for success.
As always, thanks for reading, have a great week, and be an RGP today!