Fear, anger, and coaching

When I speak to players about their college coaches, I often am astonished at the lack of respect that the coaches have for the players, and the lack of knowledge of science and training. Many appear to believe the worst about the players who they recruit and mentor. I thought about some of the players who I have spoken to recently about their former coach when I read this passage in Courage: The Joy of Living Dangerously by Osho:

“Anybody who tries to make anybody afraid, know well that he must himself be deep down afraid, otherwise why? What is the point?

People full of fear make others afraid so they can rest at ease. They know well that now you will not touch them, you will not trespass their boundaries” (p. 154-55).

Basketball Canada’s Mike MacKay tweeted out a similar message right after I had finished reading the book:

When I watch or hear about coaches who are verbally abusive, or close to it, or whose training methods border on physical abuse, I figure that it is their insecurity. They feel that they need to show who is in control, who has the power.

Coaching is not about power. It is relationships. A team works together for a common ground; the coach and players are not on separate sides. The staff should not look at the team as us and them, but as we. It’s not about making players fear the coach; it’s about building trust.

By Brian McCormick, PhD
Director of Coaching, Playmakers Basketball Development League
Author, The 21st Century Basketball Practice

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