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Coaches yelling angrily at players: Helpful or Hurtful?

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01-25-2010, 01:59 PM
  #1
TravisUlrich
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Coaches yelling angrily at players: Helpful or Hurtful?

I'm a little over half-way through my first season of coaching hockey. I am an assistant coach on a Midget "A" (age 15-17 for those that don't know) team.

My approach to coaching has been similar to my approach in dealing with people in everyday life. There are times to be angry, sure, but not to be mean.

My head coach and another assistant coach are both self-proclaimed "old fashioned" coaches who believe it's necessary to get mad at your players and yell at them for poor decisions or perceived lack of effort. In fairness, they do this in addition to encouraging players who do good plays as well. Both of them have urged me to "be more of a ***hole" to the players but I just can't help feel like it's not the best way to deal with any human being in whatever venue. As a player, I found that it wasn't helpful with me. I was a very unconfident player who always wanted to get rid of the puck and didn't want to receive the pass. Hockey actually became very unenjoyable to me yet I continued to play, afraid for some reason, feeling like I had to play hockey.

It wasn't until years later playing in a beer league, where no one was breathing down my neck, that I actually realized that I could play with confidence and skill and score many goals, but by then I was 20 years old and far behind in my development. I still play for fun though.

I'm hearing more and more higher level coaches say that they never yell at their players and coaches who do, at that level, are few and far between. I've also heard that Borje Salming has said that coaches yelling at players is a foreign concept in Europe.

What do you guys think?


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01-25-2010, 02:09 PM
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rtl1334
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I played at a fairly high level (major junior and an Air Canada Cup winning Midget AAA team) and have encountered my fair share of beligerent coaches. For the most part I believe it is counter-productive and completely unacceptable at the younger levels. Most kids play this game for the enjoyment of it and it takes nothing more than a beligerent coach (or parent for that matter) to ruin it for the kid. One thing I can say is I played on a very successful pee wee team who's motivation was predicated on playing well in spite of our coach. So some may argue his tactics proved effective due to our level of success.


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01-25-2010, 02:21 PM
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Jacob
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My opinion is that, not just in hockey, but in life in general, you shouldn't need to actually yell to get your point across. But there will be times that call for sternness. It's probably good to have a mix of coaches that are a little more forceful and demanding and others that are more encouraging.. Kind of like a good cop bad cop situation. But anybody that constantly resorts to yelling, especially at kids, they're probably not very intelligent. Whether they're a coach or a teacher or a parent. That's just my opinion.

I had coaches that would yell who were blue in the face, and I felt like I never learned anything and, kinda like you, I just lost my enjoyment for the game. If a player isn't working hard or doing what you want them to do there are plenty of other ways a coach can get their point across. You control their ice time.

The bottom line is that for 15-17 year olds it's about having some fun. It's not a living for them. They might choose to make it a living, but for now, I'd go easy on their ear drums.

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01-25-2010, 02:32 PM
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rinkrat22
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I think a good coach can adjust his approach to each player. some players need or like to be yelled at to get motivated others need encouragement in maybe a more positive way. Its the coaches job to understand his players. is there a time to yell, yes is there a time to correct in a constructive manner, yes. Some players you can motivate by teasing them. hey (sarcastically) nice pass, or what were you thinking there?

The other thing I believe is you have to allow a player to make mistakes, even in games with out loosing your mind on the bench. If a player does something stupid makes a bad pass or misses an assignment on a play I ask them "what did you see, or why did you do that?" if the can give me a good reason they saw a lane or thought the play was developing in a different direction we just use it as a teaching point.

Now if its just being lazy and not hustling, then I might get in their butt a little, or more if necessary.

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01-25-2010, 02:38 PM
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Most players, you don't need to yell at, but some you do. The key is just judgment. But beware, if you yell too much, everyone will merely tune you out. That's also known as John Gruden syndrome

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01-25-2010, 02:39 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rinkrat22 View Post
I think a good coach can adjust his approach to each player. some players need or like to be yelled at to get motivated others need encouragement in maybe a more positive way. Its the coaches job to understand his players. is there a time to yell, yes is there a time to correct in a constructive manner, yes. Some players you can motivate by teasing them. hey (sarcastically) nice pass, or what were you thinking there?

The other thing I believe is you have to allow a player to make mistakes, even in games with out loosing your mind on the bench. If a player does something stupid makes a bad pass or misses an assignment on a play I ask them "what did you see, or why did you do that?" if the can give me a good reason they saw a lane or thought the play was developing in a different direction we just use it as a teaching point.

Now if its just being lazy and not hustling, then I might get in their butt a little, or more if necessary.
Very well put. A good coach needs to be able to understand how to treat each player individually as well as a group. The group part is easier, it's the one on one relationship that makes or breaks players. This is why it's hard to find coaches like this because it's not an easy task.

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01-25-2010, 02:45 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rinkrat22 View Post
I think a good coach can adjust his approach to each player. some players need or like to be yelled at to get motivated others need encouragement in maybe a more positive way. Its the coaches job to understand his players. is there a time to yell, yes is there a time to correct in a constructive manner, yes. Some players you can motivate by teasing them. hey (sarcastically) nice pass, or what were you thinking there?

The other thing I believe is you have to allow a player to make mistakes, even in games with out loosing your mind on the bench. If a player does something stupid makes a bad pass or misses an assignment on a play I ask them "what did you see, or why did you do that?" if the can give me a good reason they saw a lane or thought the play was developing in a different direction we just use it as a teaching point.

Now if its just being lazy and not hustling, then I might get in their butt a little, or more if necessary.
This. Different players react differently to different types of motivation and coaching. Some guys respond well to the in your face yelling. Some guys shut down and do worse. I know that I react with hostility if you're shouting in my face. My response is quite probably going to be "F^&$ off until you can make your point rationally". Yelling without providing the rationale and theory behind what you're asking for is not going to motivate me. If you just tell me what to do and I can't see any actual reason for it, guess who's not going to do what you asked me to...

There are a lot of people who trust in that commanding presence of the coach, and the yelling works for them.

Another thought is that yellers as coaches who refuse to explain the whys are a big reason IMO that you get the big, dumb jock stereotype. Because to a large extent, the more thoughtful guys get sick of the yelling and chest thumping of coaches and stop being interested in playing sports.

In short, the best coaches know when to yell and when to explain depending on the player. But the ones who are only good at the explaining part of it are much less harmful then the ones who can only yell, especially in youth leagues. But that's also a reason there are multiple coaches. If one can't explain and one can't yell, they balance each other out and provide much better overall coaching for the team. having you there to discuss things rather then yell at them may be what's keeping a future Ron Francis thinking type involved in the sport.

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01-25-2010, 02:50 PM
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Gunnar Stahl 30
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if you break them down, you have to build them up. if you yell at a kid for not listening(thats the only reason i would) then you have to encourage them when they do it right so they can feel good about it and not just think you just yell at them

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01-25-2010, 02:53 PM
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I coach High School Football(I know this is a hockey board) but I try to encourage and challenge instead of berating a player that makes mistakes. Yelling hardly gets results in general, the only time I usually do it is when they are dogging it a little, which one poster has said as well.

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01-25-2010, 03:05 PM
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Gino 14
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Yelling at players shows a lack of control on the coach's part and is a sign of their weakness. If you can't get your point across without yelling, you need to step down and let someone who has the ability to control themself take over. Hockey, as with most sports, is all about control and if you don't have it, it's going to be tough to pass that along to your players.

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01-25-2010, 03:09 PM
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It was never the yelling that got me when I played football. All the coach needed to do is give me that "look" and I knew I was in for it. And I'd have to agree that coaches who always yell and rant just get tuned out.

Our hockey team captain from last season hardly said anything when things went right or wrong. When he *did* speak, we listened because something important was about to be said.

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01-25-2010, 03:22 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jbennardo View Post
It was never the yelling that got me when I played football. All the coach needed to do is give me that "look" and I knew I was in for it. And I'd have to agree that coaches who always yell and rant just get tuned out.

Our hockey team captain from last season hardly said anything when things went right or wrong. When he *did* speak, we listened because something important was about to be said.
Coaches by necessity need to talk and work with players more then that. But captaincy is an interesting matter in itself.

I like the story that during the Hurricane's Playoff run in 2006, Rod Brind'Amour only addressed the team as a whole twice. Before game 7 of the ECF and before game 7 of the SCF. Both times were players only meetings.

Twice. But you can be pretty damn sure they listened.

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01-25-2010, 03:32 PM
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Badger36
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Some players need to get yelled at because otherwise they just dont get it. I do agree though, that if you are coaching kids that there is no excuse to be mean and yell at the kids. They are playing for fun and yelling at them is only going to scare them and make it not fun anymore.
I do agree though, that even at the highest levels that there is a time to yell and there is a time to not yell. There is nothing more annoying than a coach who flips out everytime some little thing doesnt go right.

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01-25-2010, 04:09 PM
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I was coaching a 10 year old team cause I was injured with a a concussion, so they asked me to help and coach the younger team. K these kids were in AAA, trying to win and there 10 years old, there gonna make mistakes. about 7 mins in the game, it was 0-0 our player turned the puck over, but they did not score. The Head coach benched him for the rest of the game and screamed at him for like the rest of the game. I said to the coach should you be doing this? well he just gave me a dirty look and threatened to kick me off my team( it's not like he has the authority to do it). For 4 games our head coach was gone on vacation so I coached the team. When they made mistakes I just broke them down quickly and said how to fix it, 99% of the time they did not make that mistake again, when they were put in the same position they took my advice. Well after 4 I was ready to play and their coach came back. We won all 4 games, there coach comes back and they lose all but 2 games.

Yelling will not get your point across.

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01-26-2010, 01:01 AM
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Like a couple others on this thread, I too coach high school football. I'm actually a fairly quiet guy and I rarely raise my voice (yelling actually makes my throat hurt). Even my sideline demeanor has always been fairly mellow. But I was coached by a position coach who was borderline insane...he looked like a Marine DI, he sounded like a Marine DI, and half the time he acted like a Marine DI. Not my style, but he sure got results; he ended up becoming a head coach elsewhere and has built a team that, no matter how much they may win or lose, will always leave you black and blue.

It's up to a coach to figure out how to develop and motivate each player that he has. I will say this: with the younger kids, there's also the fact that they're not obligated to come back the next year. Plenty of kids drop out of sports because of poor coaching more than lack of talent. I was a very good baseball player, but I was stuck with coaches who couldn't be up-front with me, never actually did any real coaching, and whose idea of whispering was ear-splitting. I took it for a year, then gave up the sport for good. Even in football, which I've always loved, I only played two out of six optimal years before picking it back up as a junior and senior in high school as a result of poor coaching.

Ultimately, kids want to be put in a position to succeed in the sport at that time. There's nothing worse than the feeling of being out there and having no idea what's going on because it was never taught (or wasn't taught well), but knowing when you get back to the bench that you'll catch an earful for something.

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01-26-2010, 09:07 AM
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Jarick
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Nothing pisses me off quicker than being yelled at...but that's me. I'd say if you're not playing college or pro hockey there shouldn't be a need for yelling. I'd imagine with teenagers you might have to deal with immaturity, laziness, etc, but if it's a high enough level of hockey and the players are self-driven and committed, individual challenges and goals (and how to achieve them) would probably be better.

A manager once gave me the rule "praise in public, scold in private"...anytime I've seen someone violate the second half of that rule it backfires.

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01-26-2010, 12:36 PM
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Joe Cole
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Every player is a person. They are all different. Some need a firm hand, others advice. None need to be senselessly screamed at.

Sometimes players need to have their cage rattled, to shake them out of a careless mindset, but screaming.... that is crossing a line to being unprofessional and disrespectful.

Also, these kids have parents who are paying for them to play. They are not pros, drawing a salary.

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01-26-2010, 12:50 PM
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Heat McManus
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My approach was always not to yell. My inspiration was my father. I can count the times he yelled on one hand, but when he did.....jesus you knew he meant business.

A coach who constantly yells will end up with a team full of kids who drown him out.

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02-03-2010, 11:07 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TravisUlrich View Post
I'm a little over half-way through my first season of coaching hockey. I am an assistant coach on a Midget "A" (age 15-17 for those that don't know) team.

My approach to coaching has been similar to my approach in dealing with people in everyday life. There are times to be angry, sure, but not to be mean.

My head coach and another assistant coach are both self-proclaimed "old fashioned" coaches who believe it's necessary to get mad at your players and yell at them for poor decisions or perceived lack of effort. In fairness, they do this in addition to encouraging players who do good plays as well. Both of them have urged me to "be more of a ***hole" to the players but I just can't help feel like it's not the best way to deal with any human being in whatever venue. As a player, I found that it wasn't helpful with me. I was a very unconfident player who always wanted to get rid of the puck and didn't want to receive the pass. Hockey actually became very unenjoyable to me yet I continued to play, afraid for some reason, feeling like I had to play hockey.

It wasn't until years later playing in a beer league, where no one was breathing down my neck, that I actually realized that I could play with confidence and skill and score many goals, but by then I was 20 years old and far behind in my development. I still play for fun though.

I'm hearing more and more higher level coaches say that they never yell at their players and coaches who do, at that level, are few and far between. I've also heard that Borje Salming has said that coaches yelling at players is a foreign concept in Europe.

What do you guys think?
Well, sometimes, I think it might be the maturity of the individual. I use to be that way, but I learned that it wasn't getting me anywhere. So I changed. Thanks god, I learned that early in my coaching career.

Then when I got my level 5 coaching certification, I was told by an NHL coach how to manage my team better. Here is what he said....

If you have a coaching staff of three, each coach is responsible for one third of the team. Head coach is resonsible to assign players to each coach including himself. Each month, the set of players are rotated to another coach on the team.

Now, each coach is responsible for touching each player for practice and games. Yes, this doesn't mean physical touch, but acknowledgement of the individual. Example: How's you family? Is your wife doing ok? How's your school work? Did you do anything exciting on your day off?

The whole purpose of this is to make sure that your players life is going ok. If they have problems, they will perform poorly. By asking them these questions and giving them the confidence to confide in you, you can take care of these problems before they get out of hand.

The NHL coach said that with todays player, you also have to have a psychology degree as well. I think that you don't have to go out and get one, I just think that one need to treat others like they would like to be treated.

Respect work two ways. If you want the respect of your players, then you need to respect your players first. What you give...is what you get! But you have to be the first one to make the effort.

Oh, and by the way. If you want players to play your game and systems, then they ALL have to be on board. If their is a hand full of players that think you are sh**, you might as well look for another team. Why? Because they will not play your systems.

Coaching is like a Symphony conductor. Have you every gone to the Symphony? You know, you are sitting in your seat and the Symphony players are all warming up and it all sounds like sh**! This is the point when you are wondering what the heck you are listening too and did you really pay that much!

Just then, the Conductor comes out and taps his little baton on the podium and all of the bullsh** stops....thank god! Then, with a wave of his hand all that crap sounds like magic!

That's what a coach is suppose to do. Help make all of those crazy things look like magic. But I can't do it by myself without the help and respect of my players. The way to do that...respect my players!

Head coach

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