By Erica Salmon, TeamSnap user, team mom, writer and guest author
With three children playing multiple sports each year, we have had many different coaches with many different styles. Initially, my kids all started out with my husband coaching them, and my husband has a very gentle and calm demeanor. So as my children transitioned to other coaches, they would often describe those other coaches as “loud.”
After thoughtful consideration on the topic of coaches being loud, I have decided that there is “good loud” and “bad loud.”
The “good loud” is a coach who demands the kids’ attention. He or she expects the kids to hustle, to behave and to listen to instruction in order to learn, develop as a player and, quite simply, not get hurt, especially in the early years! That coach is giving instruction as well as praise, not just firing off demands of what to do and what not to do. A good loud coach takes command on the field or court and wins the players’ trust and respect.
For kids who are not used to “loud” adults in their lives, this can be an adjustment. My son, Luke, has a soccer coach who is often giving him instructions from the sideline during a game. He is looking to Luke to help make adjustments on the field very quickly. Some games, Coach might yell to Luke 10 or 20 times.
When Luke first started playing for this coach, his impression was that he was always getting “yelled at.” My husband and I explained that Coach is looking to him to be a strong player and make quick adjustments on the field. We explained that Coach sees that Luke has the ability to make adjustments. We impressed upon Luke that when Coach stops giving you instructions, you should worry; he must not think you can handle it.
There is a difference between a coach “yelling to” a player and a coach “yelling at” a player.
Explaining the difference to Luke has helped him adjust significantly. Luke needs to listen to what is being said, not simply focus on the fact that Coach is yelling to him from the sideline.
There are other situations where a coach can be “good loud.” They might be overtly enthusiastic, a generally vocal person or trying to compensate for loud spectators. In context, this is “good loud” in my book.
As far as the “bad loud” … well, that’s pretty self-explanatory. If you have a coach that is negative and sincerely “yelling at” the kids, I believe that coach is going to be ineffective in the long run; that type of coaching style does not build a child’s confidence. And let’s face it, talent without confidence doesn’t get a child very far! If you have a coach that curses, is derogatory or uses inappropriate “humor,” it is probably time to move on (High school and college coaches might have different tactics; I am talking about youth sports here.).
Not all adults are meant to coach children at certain ages. Would you put up with a classroom teacher that speaks to your child the same way some coaches do? I wouldn’t.
If you are a parent who thinks your child needs to be yelled at to be motivated, make sure the intention of the loud instruction is still positive in nature. Even if you think your child needs a little volume to respond, make sure it is a “good loud” and not a “bad loud.”
Erica Salmon is a TeamSnap Mom, often seen on the sidelines of youth soccer, baseball, field hockey and basketball games as well as at dance recitals, concerts and art shows. Erica is a book author, former fashion analyst for NBC10 (Philadelphia) and the founder of several Websites and blogs including Fantasy Fashion League and Red Carpet Mom. Erica lives in Mullica Hill, NJ, with her husband, three children and their enormous dog Elvis.