A coach can make or break an athlete

Coaches have more impact on an athlete that just what meets the eyes.

Arguably one of the greatest coaches, John Wooden, has written many books that have high school coaches nose deep between the pages. “A good coach can change a game, but a great coach can change a life,” said Wooden.

Coaches can change a life for the better, or for the worst. The constant yelling and pressure that some athletes undergo are unreasonably extreme in some cases. It will add up and inevitably crash.

After all they are just kids, they have a breaking point. They aren’t machines, nor are they professional athletes. They don’t get paid the big bucks to practice, or play. They aren’t getting paid at all. They are there simply because they once fell in love with the sport.

The constant threats and belittling can add up to the point athletes stomachs churn at the thought of going to practice. It’s not motivation, it’s a form of bullying. The only games that should be played are scheduled games, not head games.

I took a poll on Twitter and within three days 91% of the responses agreed a coach can make an athlete hate a sport that they once loved.I then asked my Facebook friends to start a discussion in the comments stating their opinion to the subject and why. One of the comments in particular stood out to me.

In life relationships are everything. The best teachers, coaches, and even bosses are those that foster positive relationships.” Brooklyn Schwab said. “If there is a strain in a relationship, it will affect performance/learning and most definitely enjoyment.

Some may argue that the athletes are overreacting and no single person can ruin a sport. Here’s my rebuttal: what appears to the blind eye is just the tip of the ice iceberg, but goes much deeper.

A sport can be a form of therapy, sublimation specifically. They take their anger and frustration out on something constructive. If their escape becomes the very demon that they are trying to avoid, it’s devastating.

If athletes can recall the abusive remarks and how the coach made them feel over a four year period that’s questionable. ‘But being tough is building character for the athlete’ There’s a point where being tough on a kid turns into bullying.

They’re not a good coach if they cause kids to cry out of sheer disrespect. They’re not a good coach if they call someone out and allow teammate to demean each other. Reflect coaching methods for a second. What could you do better as a coach? Do your athletes think this about you, and if they do, why?

For the athletes that have discontinued playing a sport for this particular reason, they are stronger than what people may think. I’m glad they did what they had to do for their well being, and that they finally put themselves first.