Psychological, Emotional and Verbal Abuse.

Athletes can’t play basketball with one eye and ear on a yelling, screaming coach and one eye and ear on the game.
•Children get their way yelling and screaming in the sandbox.
•The other children in the sandbox after a period of confusion will throw sand in the screamers eyes and scream back.
•Coaches yelling and screaming Negative Disapproval at Athletes and berating them publically during sports does not work long term.
•Trust and Respect for a coach from Athletes is earned.
•Constant yelling and screaming Negativity by the Coach
1.erodes Trust and Respect of an Athlete for the Coach,
2.causes fear and intimidation and decreases Athlete self-confidence and team success
3.causes mental and emotional exhaustion.
•“Cheering when athletes do things right or yelling out instructions over a noisy crowd is not Negative coaching
•The real problem is when coaches single out individuals and berate them.”
•“Sports research psychologists have proven the yeller and screamer are NOT the best teachers.
•Calm, Positive feedback, instruction, teaching and mentoring are much more powerful, builds trust, respect and self-confidence.
•“A coach can intimidate threaten, terrorize and intimidate a player and a team into playing hard for a short period of time, “but it might not carry over into the finals.”
•Basketball is a game of mistakes. Constant yelling and screaming Negative Disapproval can make players afraid to make a mistake.
•Basketball is a game of mistakes.
•Constant yelling and screaming Negative Disapproval can make players afraid to make a mistake.
•In the end, Athletes will either tune the Coach out and ignore the Coach, or they will tune out and resent the Coach and stop giving superhuman effort.”
•Negative yelling and screaming “is similar to using exercise as a physical punishment. It may work for a short period, but after a while it loses effect, and then it turns the athletes off as the Athlete grinds thru it .” [1.]
•It’s not good to make Athletes afraid of Coach repercussions for a mistake, because all Athletes, no matter their superior abilities, will make mistakes.
•Basketball Athletes only make half of their shots the way it is. Are missed shots mistakes?” Are bad made shots the way to shot a basketball every time?
•“Negative yelling and screaming, berating and embarrassing and putting athletes down is psychologically counterproductive.”
•“There are other ways to prepare players for the rigors of competition besides exposing them to a verbal blast furnace.”
•Discipline for bad behavior through Reasonable means is good and acceptable.
•But Unreasonable Punishment of an Athlete for not properly executing, achieving and performing their assignments, tasks and play during Sports are totally inappropriate and potentially dangerous.
•Constant yelling and screaming negativity during games and practice are unreasonable
•Discipline and Punishment should only occur through Reasonable means.
•Coaches cross the line when they push and punish Youth Athletes beyond their psychological and physical limits causing serious emotional and physical injuries and death.
•“An ongoing debate exists over the problems with our nation’s education and sports programs; however, you “never hear experts arguing that schools and athletic teams would be much better if only the students were beaten and punished more regularly.”
•The sport and recreation community—leaders, coaches, volunteers, parents, and youth—has begun to reflect on the fundamental difference between punishment, verbal and psychological abuse and appropriate training. Sports leaders, coaches, volunteers, parents, and youth are speaking up. The times indeed are a-changin’.
[Physical Punishment of Children in Sport and Recreation:, The Times They Are A-Changin’, Coaches Plan Summer 2010 : Vol. 17, No. 2, Ron Ensom and Joan Durrant]
•“The use of physical discipline, or corporal punishment, on children has a long and sordid tradition in America’s homes, schools and athletic programs.
•The recent deaths of middle school, high school, college, semi-professional and professional athletes indicates that the use of excessive exercise and punishment by school officials and coaches can kill.”
•“Athletic officials and the media attempt to spin athletic injuries and deaths as unfortunate byproducts of playing the game.
•“Despite their spin, ‘coaches tweak and torque the athlete to see how far [they] can be pushed.’
•“Today athletes are treated as superhuman-heroes who are expected to play even when hurt, sick or fatigued.”
•“According to common law standards, public school teachers and coaches may impose reasonable but not excessive force to discipline a child.
•“The use of excessive force or exercise to discipline a child violates that child’s substantive due process rights.”

•“The four overarching ethical principles elaborated in the Coaching Code of Ethics, Ethical coaching practice, set standards for coaching conduct that prohibit physical punishment.
•“Coaches have a special responsibility to respect and promote the rights of participants who are in vulnerable or dependent positions and less able to protect their own rights” namely vulnerable, susceptible, minor Children.
•“Coaches must maintain Children’s dignity and Rights in Sports”. Coaches must 1st do no harm, “primum non nocere” and Promote Athlete Safety 1st
•We are on the cusp of a worldwide sea change regarding physical punishment of children.
•Passage of laws is often preceded, and usually accompanied, by public education
regarding physical punishment and the value of positive approaches to discipline.
•Implementing measures to ensure the protection of children from harm—including physical punishment—is an obligation of governments under the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child,
•Pediatric Societies “recommend that physicians strongly discourage disciplinary spanking and all other forms of physical punishment.”
•Now a growing number of voices from within sport and recreation are raising awareness of physical punishment and supporting its elimination.
•“Credible information will change even long-standing attitudes and behaviour.
•Growing numbers of Canadian parents are accepting the evidence that physical punishment is ineffective as discipline and potentially harmful, and are becoming familiar with and using “positive discipline.”
•Basketball Coach “accused of abusing at least six of his players, ages 15-20.” The four that spoke with police reported that the Coach “tied them up for hours and even put clothes pins on their nipples, CBS Sacramento reports.” [Calif. basketball coach faces child abuse allegations, CBS News Jan 11, 2013]


Parents Sue hoops Coach, Mishawaka schools
[South Bend Tribune March 20, 2007 |JEFF PARROTT Tribune Staff Writer

At 6 feet 9 inches, senior Jim Ross was Mishawaka High School’s tallest basketball player this past season. But his minutes played were among the shortest. His parents, Don and Shirley Ross, are so angry at coach Robb Berger that they are suing him and School City of Mishawaka in St. Joseph Circuit Court. Their lawsuit makes no mention of playing time. Instead, they claim that beginning in 2005, Berger “harassed, berated, humiliated, intimidated and psychologically abused” the youth. In a court filing, Berger has denied the lawsuit’s substantive allegations. Examples of the verbal abuse, according to the lawsuit:

“You are eight (f——) feet tall, why can’t you make a lay up?”
“You were almost competitive and got a god(d—) rebound.”
“You can’t run, you can’t jump, you can’t play.”

And this, from a harassment complaint letter the Rosses sent to School City of Mishawaka Superintendent R. Steven Mills:

“My grandmother is faster than you and my kid has more heart.”

As a result, Jim Ross suffered emotional distress, withdrew and shut down, the lawsuit claims. After the couple complained to Mills, Berger “switched his method of abuse to ignoring Jim Ross and acting as if he did not exist, as if he were not present,” the suit claims.

“Coach Berger does not speak to Jim Ross, does not look at Jim Ross, or does not address him in any manner.” This grew so extreme that on Sept. 17, when Ross fractured his left foot during practice, Berger ignored him and failed to ask him about the injury, the suit claims. Another student helped Ross to his car, and when he arrived at home, his parents made sure he received the medical attention he needed, the suit states. Citing the pending litigation, neither the Rosses, Berger nor Mills would comment when contacted by The Tribune.

The couple initially named only Berger as a defendant but recently amended their complaint to add the school corporation. That means Shirley Ross, who works as the corporation’s director of gifted and talented education, is now suing her employer.

The corporation, added to the suit March 9 under an order by Judge Michael Gotsch, had yet to acknowledge having been served with the complaint, according to court documents on file Monday. In communications with the Rosses, School City officials have denied that Berger’s conduct was abusive and “appear to be claiming that his actions are part of his coaching style or philosophy,” the Rosses state in court documents.

They allege that the corporation is liable for “negligent supervision, training and hiring” of Berger. Don Ross, a real estate developer, has long been active in the community and schools. In the late-1990s, he headed the board of the corporation’s Education Foundation. He also is a past president of the Mishawaka Business Association. Reg Tisdale, longtime publisher of the recruiting newsletter Indiana Basketball News, said he was “shocked” to hear that Ross had played so little his senior year, while noting that a high school coach reserves the right to play whomever he wants.

“Obviously he and Jim have some problems with each other,” Tisdale said. “I would just guess, I don’t know.” Tisdale said he had seen Ross play in spring and summer camps since age 14. Initially, he was “awkward,” Tisdale said, but he had steadily improved. “He was uncoordinated when he was growing up,” Tisdale said. “Last summer when I saw him, he was much better, catching the ball, scoring, his footwork was better, he had better spring (in his legs) and touch.”

The lawsuit alleges that Berger’s harassment could hurt Ross’ chances to win a college basketball scholarship. Tisdale agreed but said Ross’ playing career is not necessarily over. “Not playing on that team certainly stifles his college career,” Tisdale said. “It makes it a longer and harder road to get there, but that’s not saying he can’t get there. “If this was a thick-legged kid with big ankles and he couldn’t move, (playing in college) would be an uphill battle,”

Tisdale said. “But he has a world of talent for college basketball, he runs well, he has long arms and a great touch.” Tisdale said Don Ross had been corresponding with him during his son’s junior year, and he advised the couple to consider transferring him to another school. But they decided against that because the student body elected him student council president for his senior year, the Rosses said in the letter to Mills, which has been included in court documents.

This year, Jim Ross was one of 16 Mishawaka High School athletes chosen to serve in the “Stay in Bounds” program. The athletes serve as mentors to teach character-development skills to fourth-graders at LaSalle, Bieger and Liberty elementary schools. Ray Craft, an associate commissioner with the Indiana High School Athletic Association, said parents suing a coach over his allegedly abusive behavior is not unheard of but is “very, very rare.”


Apr 8, 2008 … MISHAWAKA — Robb Berger, former Marian and Wawasee coach, has resigned as boys basketball head coach at Mishawaka High School after eight years

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