I believe that one of the most effective ways a coach can improve is to remove anger from his coaching tool box. Before this statement makes you angry and you click on to something else, hear me out. You’ll often hear players say things like the following:
- If I miss practice, coach will be mad.
- If I take that shot, coach will be mad.
- If I’m late, coach will be mad.
While it is great to have your players want to avoid making you mad, it would be much more beneficial to teach them WHY it makes you “mad”. Why does missing practice, bad shot selection, and being late make you mad? What is the principle that’s being violated mean to the team? If we can clearly articulate our standards and have them be truly value driven, we can increase our ability to teach and instruct and also be more likely for our players to be able to transfer those lessons in to their life after they move on from our teams. You’ll also save yourself a TON of grief when every poor decision has a clear consequence that’s set before hand so they know that “anger” isn’t the thing to worry about. You’re late, you do X after practice. You shoot that shot, you’re likely to sit down. You’re not “mad”, you’re holding them to standards that make sense for the group and have been clearly taught and explained. Reserve anger for when it is truly appropriate and there will undoubtedly be those moments. I’ve tried to keep a running list of things that make me “mad” as a coach and see if I can remove the emotion and just transfer it to a consequence that’s simple and clear. When you feel it coming on you can ask:
- Does this really matter?
- Have I clearly taught what is expected?
- How can I hold the standard and maintain the relationship?
Life’s easier when anger isn’t a built in part of every day you show up to work together. Just some thoughts I hope helps us have a happier and less angry season!!