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To Yell or Not To Yell; That is the Question


Have you ever heard a parent say that, “Coach X is a good coach. She gets in the player’s face and yells at them if they make a mistake.”? Why do people believe that yelling is the answer or that it is the trademark of a good coach? I am aware of one coach who has told parents that the best way to coach a player is to intimidate and embarrass players. This particular coach believes that is the best way to get the best results from each player.

I’m a strong believer in treating each player differently. Yelling should never be the first choice. Constructive and affirming criticism has served me well as I coach my teams and as I give private lessons.

There are four basic temperaments (Choleric, Melancholy, Sanguine and Phlegmatic) (See “Volume IV: Nature of Man“, Hippocrates, approx. 400 B.C.). Each of us usually has a mixture of two dominant temperaments and a little of the others. Players react differently to correction or instruction depending upon the player’s temperament and personality. Some players respond well to the ‘in your face’ coach while others are too scared to act and in failing to act, compound their mistakes. A player who responds well to a strong ‘in your face’ tirade by a coach may look at a coach who uses another approach as being weak, which results in the coach loosing the respect of the player.

Another risk to using intimidation or embarrassment, when coaching female players is that the player may view criticism of the act as an attack on the person. If the player is more phlegmatic or melancholy, they will have a negative response to harsh criticism.

Please let me know what you think on this matter.


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