I coined a term last night at a college game last night called the “One-Mistake-And-Yank Coach”. You know the type that you have either experienced personally or got hot and bothered by, watching the type coach your child. In my opinion, there is only one direction this kind of coaching can lead…competition, blame and shame (I guess that is 3;).
Check it out through my lens. Coach sends player out to replace another player who has clearly screwed up according to the coach’s disgust. One player is proud to come to the rescue, the other is pissed at themselves and likely, their coach. Now they have time to sit and stew and the emotions are so uncomfortable that they have to defuse it. Cue anger, blame and likely, its pal shame.
When I have personally experienced this is the past in volleyball or basketball (both at a high school and college level) I would know the second I made a mistake, and when I got yanked immediately the shame and disappointment was palpable. After multiple times of this, both as the sub and the one being subbed out, I became conditioned to look at the coach the minute I made the mistake to see if there was rage and a violent gesture for the sub to replace me. Now I am being taken down slowly by insecurity, questioning every move and losing confidence by the minute.
Don’t get me wrong…I understand sports and competition clearly. I’m not all about equal playing time or pretending that it doesn’t matter who the winner is.. What I do care about is the integrity of the coach and are they leaving emotions scars each game? I know that at the college level, there is a little more on the line for the coaches to win, seeing how their livelihood depends on it. But are they willing to become a Dr. Jekyll on the court and justify it in words like, “you know I do this because I care”, or “you know what you did.” Would you scream until you’re red in the face at your own child about them making a mistake and walk away saying, “I have nothing to say to you!”
The ‘one-mistake-and-yank” mindset will never make sense to me in building a team. This type of coaching only creates individuals and has full potential to pit the teammates against one another. When you are not ‘allowed’ to get mad at the coach (in fear of sitting forever) there are couple different options for the player…one, blame your teammates or two, blame yourself! If you are trying to build a team and want to empower your players, then I invite you to squash the yanking mentality and/or make it very clear after, that the player understands precisely why you were enraged and yanked.
I have had plenty of parenting moments (one being no less than 4 days ago;) of my own where I felt the discomfort of my child not playing, hearing a story in my head of them doing something wrong, and then taking one person out at a time (not excluding other players) with my emotional blame arrows. As a parent, I see my child in distress and I become the emotional manager, but I end up taking all the learning potential away the minute I blame someone else. As the player, I wanted to tell someone (parents) that it wasn’t my fault and I didn’t want to feel the discomfort. In the past this created a lot of emotional scaring and drove me away from any teammate that I felt in competition with.
Suggestion of an emotional tool to help yourself or your child: Self-Reflection
To me this means…looking inside and seeing where the voice (or beliefs) reside in you.
I would not ask anyone to do this in the moment of shame or being attacked, nor would I ask them to do this in the presence of the attacker. I would ask my kids after the game to self reflect for their own growth, since they can not change their coach or the person in question…
-Where is this bully inside of you?
-Is there a voice inside of you that thinks you have to be perfect and never make mistakes?
-Is there a belief somewhere in there (conditioned from all the yanks) that says that you deserve to be punished (ie pulled out of the game and yelled at)?
It’s not for everyone to do if it doesn’t resonate with you, but it is a helpful technique I use with myself and my family. It is not for the individual to take responsibility for the BS the coach says or justify their behavior in any way, they are only responsible for looking deep inside at the voice IN them that could sound anything like the coaches words, so that they can manage the inner critic.
Maybe we all need to practice the mantras…
-It is safe for me to make mistakes.
-I choose to be gentle with myself.
-I’m doing my best and my best is good enough.
-I know what is best for me and I am proud of myself.
We all have a ‘One-Mistake-And-Yank” voice inside that could use some healing. MESSAGE RECEIVED;) Thank you intense coach for showing us that we can’t control what you say…but we can control the story we tell after.
After reading this to Tré and Jalena before posting it, we had a brilliant conversation that led to me to realizing I must continue to allow them to manage their own emotions on the court. I may or may not guess correctly at why the coach is pissed, but I can work on my skills of not taking it personal and emotionally staying off the floor. I have prepped my kids to handle anything the coach has to dish out. I would like to model a healthy example for them in how to manage the inner critic that is sometimes worse than the coach;)