I have always admired Chris Petersen. Nobody has done more with less, first at Boise State and now at Washington. Then I read this article, and I have even more respect for him.
Chris Petersen does not have “yellers” on his staff:
We’re trying to develop self-esteem out there, and that is a really hard thing to do. Because it’s usually never quite good enough. It’s a fine line, to really bring the intensity on the field and demand a standard. You have to be a really skilled coach to understand that. But we’re never going to scream at our guys, that’s not how we do it.”
I personally hate the phrase “self-esteem” but I agree with Petersen’s point. I understand that “yelling” is considered a part of sports, but it should be limited to when you really have to use it.
Let me define yelling. I do not mean simply raising your voice and telling someone to hustle. I mean screaming and m-fing people. Being vicious.
If you’re a coach who is yelling all the time, your athletes might start tuning you out. If everything is so important that you have scream, then nothing is. In my opinion, there are two types of kids:
Kid A – This is a sensitive kid. If you yell at him/her, it will upset them. They will be so upset that you’re yelling that they won’t hear your message.
Kid B – This kid has a little more swagger. You scream at this kid, and s/he just tunes you out. You’re probably pissing him off.
Either way, the coach loses his/her “teachable moment.” The first thing a coach is is a teacher. If you’re not communicating to your students, you are done.
Finally and most importantly, if you really beat up your kids verbally for ticky-tack crap, you will lose them. Nobody wants to be mother-f-ed all the time. Your team will not work for you. Why would they fight for a coach who berates them when the unknown successor might treat them better?
Let’s watch Notre Dame this season.