This resource stems from a question submitted to the Ask PCA blog. Responses come from our experts including PCA Trainers, who lead live group workshops for coaches, parents, administrators and student-athletes.
“My child’s coach is a yeller. He yells at his players and criticizes them when they do things wrong. He even yells when they seem to be doing things right. His teams consistently have winning records, and the players seem to handle the yelling without getting down on themselves. My questions are: Would you want your child to play for this coach? Does his winning record excuse his yelling? Would your answer change depending on the age of the athletes?”
PCA Response by Jim Thompson (@JimThompson18), PCA Executive Director
Coaching is much more art than science, and certainly isn't a cookbook activity. There is no single recipe that will work all the time. Athletes are different, game situations are different, etc., so it can be a tough topic to be definitive about.
Nonetheless, let me offer some thoughts on coaches who yell:
Yelling is a limited tool to be used in a limited fashion. Kids (people) tend to block out continuous noise, and a coach who yells all the time risks losing his/her players' attention. Then when something serious comes along that needs to be addressed in dramatic fashion, a coach raising his/her voice seems just like normal, and the import is lost.
Much of the time, yelling is a distraction. Athletes usually need to focus on what they are doing. Being yelled at by a coach can distract them from focusing on what they need to do to make a play.
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