NEGATIVE YELLING AND SCREAMING TO ATHLETES IMPAIRS ATHLETE SELF-CONFIDENCE AND PERFORMANCE

The Short version:

It makes sense that Athletes should participate in sports out of love for the game, not fear of the Coach.

And it makes sense that Coaches must yell-out instructions, plays and corrections during loud, noisy practice and games.

Now follows the Buts and Howevers:

• Practice is one thing, but the game is when Athletes are to execute the assignments they have learned in practice and display their abilities and teamwork.

  • But Athletes can’t play and concentrate on the game of basketball or any other Sport, Recreation and Exercise (SRE) with one eye and ear on a continuosly yelling, screaming Coach on the sideline 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 humiliating them during SRE games 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.”
[EXCESSIVE EXERCISE AS CORPORAL PUNISHMENT IN MOORE v. WILLIS INDEPENDENT SCHOOL DISTRICT – HAS THE FIFTH CIRCUIT “TOTALLY ISOLATED” ITSELF IN ITS POSITION? Author By Kristina Rico Villanova Sports and Entertainment Law Journal, Villanova University, CASENOTE: 9 Vill. Sports & Ent. L.J. 351. 2002]
“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 http://www.cbsnews.com/8301-504083_162-57563577-504083/calif-basketball-coach-faces-child-abuse-allegations/]

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Coaches who yell, scream, berate, embarrass and bully Athletes constantly with negativity are verbally and emotionally Abusive. Under those practice and play circumstances, Athletes are conditioned to play with one eye and ear on the Coach and one eye and ear on the game. The diagnosis of PSYCHOLOGICAL (Emotional) ABUSE requires a Mental Health Care Professional’s diagnosis.

Screaming is defined as “utter a long loud piercing cry, as from pain or fear, when the Coach makes a loud piercing sound, speaking in an hysterical manner producing a startling effect.

Yelling is a shrill cry, an obnoxious noise that evokes fright and surprise.

The 1ST BIG MYTH that needs to be dispelled is that A TOUGH HARDNOSED SCREAMING INTIMIDATING COACH IS KEY TO WINNING SPORT PSYCHOLOGY

Well, that is totally Ludicrous! Negative Motivation is the most Foul, Cruel, Sadistic Method of Psychological Athlete Motivation

Playing Out of Fear of the Coach, Horror, Fright, Panic is extremely Destructive, Counter Productive and Harmful to Athlete Self-Esteem and Performance

Positive Motivation is Key to Winning and Mental Toughness. Trust is key.

VERBAL and EMOTIONAL COACHING ABUSE
• Erodes Trust of Athlete for Coach
• Core of Coaching is Trust
• Golden Rule is the First Rule of Coaching
• Yelling Intimidation Elicits the Fear Emotion
• Examples:
• Yelling For not playing well
• Screaming for losing
• You’re stupid, worthless
• Embarrassment Humiliation Athletes
• Coaches who Rarely use praise as Positive feedback are usually negative
• Demeaning Athletes is very detrimental
• Plays 4th Grade “head games” is typical

Another BIG MYTH: THE COACH YELLS and SCREAMS at YOU BECAUSE HE or SHE “CARES ABOUT YOU”

• That is totally Preposterous
• Yellers Damage Athlete:
• Self-Esteem / Confidence
• Causes Nightmares / Post Traumatic Stress Disorder
• Always leaves Athletes feeling badly about themselves
• Kills Athletes’ Enthusiasm Joy, Love of the Game
• Verbal Emotional Athlete Abuse Sets The Tone For:
1. Teenage Dating Violence
2. Domestic Violence

Most Negative, Loud, Noisy Coaches make vulgar loud-mouthed outcries often in protest of of an Athlete’s play and execution. Shouting vocalization is often times Coach attention-seeking.

Bellowing and hollering curse words and profanity are methods of intimidation and “tough man talk.” F….Bombs, Mother F..ker are examples.

An extravagantly loud outcry and clamoring while throwing a chair and hitting the bench with a fist. expresses more immaturity than mature Coaching.

Loud noise made to express displeasure is how Children get their way, when they don’t play well with others in the sandbox.

Verbal and Emotional Abuse are defeating, saps Athlete energy (Mental Fatigue and Exhaustion) and can result in lifelong Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, if severe enough.

All Coaches Yell and Scream to some extent; usually to be heard over the noise of the crowd or yell-out instructions. Negativity is the Key Word. Yelling or screaming positive reinforcement over the noise is Good, but continuous, berating Negativity during Practice and Games is Bad. Emotionally, Verbally Abusive Coaches:

Embarrass and humiliate of athletes
Rarely use praise or positive feedback
Demeans his/her players
Plays “head games” with his/her athletes
Creates a team environment based on fear and devoid of safety
Is never satisfied with what his/her athletes do.
Is overly negative and a pro at catching athletes doing things wrong, NYGSOAB
Is more interested in his/her needs then those of his/her players
Over-emphasizes the importance of winning
Tends to be rigid and over-controlling, defensive and angry
Ignores his/her athletes when angry or displeased
Is a bully (and therefore a real coward)
Coaches through fear and intimidation
Damages Self-Esteem and Confidence
Causes Atletes Nightmares
Consistently leaves his/her athletes feeling badly about themselves
Kills his/her athletes’ joy and enthusiasm for the sport
The Coach has mental health issues
Is emotionally unstable and insecure

Discrimination is sometimes a component of Verbal Abuse from the Coach. Discrimination in sports is when an Athlete is treated differently or less favourably because of gender, race, ethnicity, religion or disability. Often the discriminated are the ones to whom Verbal Abuse is directed.

Psalm 91:3 Surely he shall deliver thee from the snare of the fowler, [and] from the noisome, [noxious, offensive to the senses, sikley/sickness, unhealthy] pestilence.

“Help, my Coach is a Bully. What Does Verbal and Emotional Abuse Look Like in Athletics?”

“Usually, this involves a coach telling an athlete or making them feel that he or she is worthless, despised, inadequate, or valued only as a result of their athletic performance. And here’s the catch, such messages are not conveyed merely with the spoken word. They are conveyed by tone of voice, body language, facial expression and withdrawal of physical or emotional support. This is a large part of the reason why the problem of bullying in athletics is so hard to quantify – a clear definition of bullying is somewhat elusive. Even if we can define it, as above, it’s highly difficult to measure.”

“Bullying is partly defined by the subjective experience of the athlete. In other words, if the athlete feels shamed, frightened, or anxious around the coach due to his or her constant shouting, name-calling or threatening, then the label “emotional abuse” is warranted.” [3.]

Trust and Respect of an Athlete for a Coach is the Core of Coaching. Trust and Respect from Athletes is earned. Constant yelling and screaming Negativity by the Coach erodes trust and Respect of an Athlete for the Coach, causes fear and intimidation and decreases Athlete self confidence and team success; causes mental and emotional exhaustion.

Coaches have to yell simply to be heard sometimes in a packed gym. When emotions run high, so will voices. The content matters most, not the volume. There’s a big difference between yelling out a play number to break a press and screaming insults at the point guard because he picked up his dribble moments after entering the front court. [1.]

“Cheering when kids do things right or yelling out instructions is not screaming, I think the real problem is when coaches single out individuals and berate them. Sports psychologists who have researched it have proven the screamer is not the successful coach and that positive feedback is a much more powerful teacher than the screaming, says Keith Lancaster, Director of the Maine Center for Coaching Education and a former high school coach and athletic director.” [1.]

“Sure, you can intimidate your team into playing hard for a short period of time, sometimes because they’ll resent what you’re doing,” says Glenn Begley, Head Women’s Basketball Coach at William Smith College. “But I don’t think that ever carries over into anything long-term. They will either tune it out and ignore you, or they will tune it out and resent you.” [1.]

“It’s similar to using exercise as a physical punishment,” Lancaster says. “It may work for a short period, like when you make athletes do extra work because they’re not performing the way you want them to. But if a coach continues to do that, it loses that effect, and then it turns the athletes off.” [1.]

“The constant negativity and yelling can make players afraid to make a mistake,” Begley says. “And as far as I know basketball is a game of mistakes. Most people don’t even make half of their shots. So it’s not good to make your players afraid, because every one of them will make mistakes.”

“There are other pragmatic reasons for coaches to tone down the negative yelling and screaming. “Society today does not accept abuse,” Lancaster says, “and sometimes a coach can cross that line to where it is not only perceived as abuse, but it is abuse, by berating and embarrassing individual kids and putting them down.”

“There are other ways to prepare players for the rigors of competition besides exposing them to a verbal blast furnace.”

In 2002, the American Academy of Pediatrics urged pediatricians to be aware of the risk factors of psychological maltreatment of children. The academy’s report, based on numerous studies, said that “a chronic pattern of psychological maltreatment destroys a child’s sense of self and personal safety.”

“Yelling (insults and negativity by Coaches) sets the tone for family relationships that carry over for dating relationships where you get a lot of psychological aggression,” Dr. Straus said. Coaches, who Verbally Abuse Athletes, cause Athletes to Verbally Abuse others i.e. school peers. It is particularly a set-up for Domestic Verbal Abuse and Violence.

“Yelling overpowers children, it makes them feel frustrated and angry, and what can happen is that after a while kids become immune to being yelled at. They tune it out,” said Dr. Myrna B. Shure, a professor of psychology at Drexel University, who conducted a five-year study, financed by the National Institute of Mental Health, of children from kindergarten to fourth grade. [2.]

Emotional abuse (psychological abuse, verbal abuse, mental injury) includes acts or omissions that have caused, or could cause, serious behavioral, cognitive, emotional, or mental disorders.

Severe Emotional Abuse of Athletes caused by Coaches, when mental health professionals diagnose Emotional Abuse and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, is punishable by Law.

[1.] Positive Coaching Alliance, More Basketball, Less Yelling by Dennie Read Coaching Management Magazine 8/15/2003
[2.] [INFOCUS Free Newsletter]
[3.] “Help, My Coach is a Bully!” The Consequences of Verbally Abusive Coaching by By John Schinnerer, Ph.D. http://www.selfgrowth.com/articles/Help_My_Coach_is_a_Bully_The_Consequences_of_Verbally_Abusive_Coaching.html

CONSTANT OVER-THE-TOP YELLING AND SCREAMING AT ATHLETES CAN BE EMOTIONAL ABUSE. IT CAUSES FEAR INTIMIDATION AND ERODES TRUST FOR THE COACH

Trust and Respect of an Athlete for the Coach is the Core of Coaching. Trust and Respect are earned. Constant yelling and screaming by the Coach erodes trust and respect of an Athlete for the Coach, causes fear and intmidation and decreases Athlete self confidence and team success.

Coaches have to yell simply to be heard sometimes in a packed gym. When emotions run high, so will voices. The content matters most, not the volume. There’s a big difference between yelling out a play number to break a press and screaming insults at the point guard because he picked up his dribble moments after entering the front court. [1.]

“Cheering when kids do things right or yelling out instructions is not screaming, I think the real problem is when coaches single out individuals and berate them. Sports psychologists who have researched it have proven the screamer is not the successful coach and that positive feedback is a much more powerful teacher than the screaming, says Keith Lancaster, Director of the Maine Center for Coaching Education and a former high school coach and athletic director.” [1.]

“Sure, you can intimidate your team into playing hard for a short period of time, sometimes because they’ll resent what you’re doing,” says Glenn Begley, Head Women’s Basketball Coach at William Smith College. “But I don’t think that ever carries over into anything long-term. They will either tune it out and ignore you, or they will tune it out and resent you.” [1.]

“It’s similar to using exercise as a physical punishment,” Lancaster says. “It may work for a short period, like when you make athletes do extra work because they’re not performing the way you want them to. But if a coach continues to do that, it loses that effect, and then it turns the athletes off.” [1.]

“The constant negativity and yelling can make players afraid to make a mistake,” Begley says. “And as far as I know basketball is a game of mistakes. Most people don’t even make half of their shots. So it’s not good to make your players afraid, because every one of them will make mistakes.”

“There are other pragmatic reasons for coaches to tone down the negative yelling and screaming. “Society today does not accept abuse,” Lancaster says, “and sometimes a coach can cross that line to where it is not only perceived as abuse, but it is abuse, by berating and embarrassing individual kids and putting them down.”

But there are other ways to prepare players for the rigors of competition besides exposing them to a verbal blast furnace.

In 2002, the American Academy of Pediatrics urged pediatricians to be aware of the risk factors of psychological maltreatment of children. The academy’s report, based on numerous studies, said that “a chronic pattern of psychological maltreatment destroys a child’s sense of self and personal safety.”

“Yelling sets the tone for family relationships that carry over for dating relationships where you get a lot of psychological aggression,” Dr. Straus said.

“Yelling overpowers children, it makes them feel frustrated and angry, and what can happen is that after a while kids become immune to being yelled at. They tune it out,” said Dr. Myrna B. Shure, a professor of psychology at Drexel University, who conducted a five-year study, financed by the National Institute of Mental Health, of children from kindergarten to fourth grade.

[2.] [INFOCUS Free Newsletter]
Emotional abuse (psychological abuse, verbal abuse, mental injury) includes acts or omissions that have caused, or could cause, serious behavioral, cognitive, emotional, or mental disorders.
[1.] Positive Coaching Alliance, More Basketball, Less Yelling by Dennie Read Coaching Management Magazine
8/15/2003
[2.] [INFOCUS Free Newsletter]

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Positive Coaching Alliance, More Basketball, Less Yelling By Dennie Read, Coaching Management Magazine 8/15/2003 [1.]

It’s bad for the athletes, it’s bad for the game, and it’s bad for your heart. Plus, there are better ways to motivate your players than yelling at them.

Coaches yell and scream. They always have.

Most coaches who constantly scream do so because they believe it makes their players better. But does it? More and more coaches are finding that, no, today’s players do not respond to this type of coaching. These coaches believe that there are more effective ways to teach and motivate players than screaming at them.

Rhea Taylor learned this for himself throughout the 2002-03 season, his fourth as Head Boys’ Basketball Coach at New Roads High School in Santa Monica, Calif. After watching an offseason presentation by the Positive Coaching Alliance, he decided to adopt some of its tenets, including no screaming at his players. Previously a loud and critical coach on the sideline, he backslid occasionally during the season, but was otherwise pleased with the results as he led the team to its first playoff berth.

After posting the program’s first playoff victory, New Roads found itself in the quarterfinals, trailing a team Taylor felt his squad could beat. But some bad breaks and borderline foul calls put his team behind early. Under the pressure of a big game, Taylor felt himself reverting to old ways. “I felt myself getting into that mode of stress and frustration with things not going so well, like a missed lay-up, a turnover, or a bad call,” Taylor says. “I finally told my assistant coach that we had to not show our frustration so much and, instead, show our support and really be there for the kids. We were able to get back in the game and take the lead. We ended up losing by three and had a chance to tie it with an open three-pointer that just missed.

“Last year, there was absolutely no way we would have been able to get back into that game,” he continues. “My kids would have crumbled from not only the pressure of the situation, but also the additional pressure I put on them. Now they still battle the pressure and adversity of the game, and maybe the officials or the fans. But they definitely know, without a doubt, that my assistant coach and I stand behind them in the decisions that they’re making and what they’re doing. We don’t always agree with what they do, but we deal with that calmly at a time-out or through a substitution as opposed to ranting and raving on the sidelines.”

What’s With the Yelling

Nobody advocates that coaches sit passively like monks who have taken a vow of silence. Coaches have to yell simply to be heard over the din of a packed gym. And when emotions run high, so will voices.

The content matters most, not the volume. There’s a big difference between yelling out a play number to break a press and screaming insults at the point guard because he picked up his dribble moments after entering the front court.

“To me, cheering when kids do things right or yelling out instructions is not screaming,” says Keith Lancaster, Director of the Maine Center for Coaching Education and a former high school coach and athletic director. “I think the real problem is when coaches single out individuals and berate them.”

Charles Coles, Head Men’s Basketball Coach at Miami University (Ohio), feels the same way. “When I’m talking to my players, I’m trying to teach them or encourage them,” he says. “Very, very seldom do I ever berate them.”

Most of the time when coaches carry on, they do so because they believe it helps make the message clear and will motivate players to improve. But many people question whether this really works. “Sports psychologists who have researched it have proven the screamer is not the successful coach and that positive feedback is a much more powerful teacher than the screaming,” Lancaster says. Coaches may be fooled by the short-term benefits they see after yelling and screaming at their players. Even coaches who try to avoid screaming at their players admit that it may produce a temporary positive change, but they also say that the changes won’t last.

“Sure, you can intimidate your team into playing hard for a short period of time, sometimes because they’ll resent what you’re doing,” says Glenn Begley, Head Women’s Basketball Coach at William Smith College. “But I don’t think that ever carries over into anything long-term. They will either tune it out and ignore you, or they will tune it out and resent you.”

“It’s similar to using exercise as a physical punishment,” Lancaster says. “It may work for a short period, like when you make athletes do extra work because they’re not performing the way you want them to. But if a coach continues to do that, it loses that effect, and then it turns the athletes off.”

In-game histrionics can turn players’ attention from what they’re doing on the court to what you’re doing on the bench. “The constant negativity and yelling can make players afraid to make a mistake,” Begley says. “And as far as I know basketball is a game of mistakes. Most people don’t even make half of their shots. So it’s not good to make your players afraid, because every one of them will make mistakes.”

There are other pragmatic reasons for coaches to tone down the negative yelling and screaming. “Society today does not accept abuse,” Lancaster says, “and sometimes a coach can cross that line to where it is not only perceived as abuse, but it is abuse, by berating and embarrassing individual kids and putting them down.

“Way back when I was an athlete and I first started coaching, the coach was perceived as God, especially if there was success, and administrators and others looked the other way,” he continues. “But I think sports are educational and coaches need to be good teachers, and that’s not what a good teacher is perceived to be.

There should be a carryover of value when the athlete gets out of that sport, and if that athlete learns that screaming and yelling is the way he or she should be acting, then the educational piece is lost.

In many cases, the line between what’s tolerated and what’s not shifts with the won-loss record. “If coaches are in coaching long enough,” Lancaster says, “they are going to have years that aren’t as successful as others. Then the yelling and screaming begins to catch up with them and becomes unacceptable.”

Many coaches compare the court to the classroom. “If you’re teaching calculus and someone is having trouble factoring an equation, would you go up to the student and say, ‘I can’t believe you’re so stupid! You’re holding up the class! What’s wrong with you?'” Begley says. “That wouldn’t be tolerated in a classroom setting by anyone.

First of all, it’s not the right way to treat someone, and second, it doesn’t help the student learn. If that’s the case, why isn’t the same true in athletics, where the students are volunteering to be there in the first place and doing something they think is fun and enjoyable?”

Phil Martelli, Head Men’s Basketball Coach at St. Joseph’s University, notes how the coaching role changes from practice to game day. “If you think about the best teachers you’ve had or observed, you never see them ranting and raving on the day of a test,” he says. “So I wonder why we as coaches think that is the way to go. The game is the test, and practice was the classroom. You use different methods for different days and different groups that you have, but once game-time arrives, your student-athletes are taking the test and you really should be there in a supportive role.”

Coaches also point out that red-faced rants are difficult on more than the players; they can also wear down coaches. “Yelling and screaming takes a lot out of you,” Martelli says. “Coaching, particularly game coaching, is a draining experience. If you take energy and use it in the wrong places, then you end up wearing yourself out, and not productively. I feel that being a little bit more supportive during the games is best suited for me and for the players.”

Coles learned the hard way. He was a screamer until having the type of season most coaches can only dream about. “In 1973-74, I was coaching at Saginaw High School in Michigan, and we won 25 in a row with a team that wasn’t expected to do much,” he says.

“We lost in the state semi-finals, but we had a phenomenal year and I was too dumb to realize it,” he continues. “I was so possessed by trying to make the team better that when the season was over, a friend of mine told me how worried they were about me. I hadn’t noticed anything, but it just wasn’t fun. It should have been a great year for us, but I made it a bad year because we lost one game, and I felt it was a failure.

“After that season, I said to myself, ‘I can’t possibly do this again. When I coach, I’m going to have to share everything. I’m going to have to try to make more people happy and try to get some other things that can help make our season successful rather than just wins or losses.’ So I began to change then.”

Quiet Alternatives

Some coaches can’t imagine finishing a practice or a game without being left hoarse and raspy. But coaches who rarely raise their voices in anger or frustration still find plenty of ways to motivate their players and demand excellence. A lower decibel level doesn’t necessarily mean lower expectations.

“People think I’m very positive and that I give positive reinforcement, yet I know I am very critical,” says Tom Davis, new Head Men’s Basketball Coach at Drake University. “I try to do it in a way that is not readily apparent to the person on the sideline or in the stands. It’s a matter of not showing your dissatisfaction and further compounding the pressure you’re putting on the players by hurting them in front of their peers, and their friends and family who are watching the game.

“Let’s say we’re in a practice situation and we’ve been teaching a certain skill, yet a player goes out and does it the exact wrong way,” Davis continues. “Rather than throw a fit, which I probably would have done in my younger days, now I say, ‘Hey, John. Just calm down a second. Let’s make a change here. Take a minute or two off and let Bob run that play. I know you’re probably a little tired or else you wouldn’t have done that.’

“He probably already knows what he did wrong. By removing him from the lineup and not being vocal about my criticism, I’ve made my point. It’s really pretty easy for a coach to do, yet it’s every bit effective as a launching a tirade.”

At Miami University, Coles likes to use criticism and encouragement in tandem. “I’ll get on a guy a little bit and then I’ll put something in between,” he says. “I’ll call a guy over and say, ‘We’re not playing very well, and you’re a big reason why. Now you’re better than that. You’re a good player; you’re going to be all right. And you have to believe you’re going to be all right.’ Then as he departs, I’ll say, ‘OK, get going.’ “This way he knows that there are still a lot of good things going on between me and him and that I know he can do it,” he says. “You can do a lot with your players if they know that you think they can do it.”

It’s also important to recognize that all players don’t learn the same way. One player catches onto something the first time you show it to him, while another has no clue about what you’re trying to teach. When this happens, many coaches’ initial response is to try teaching it again, but louder. And, predictably, little changes.

“I spend less time yelling and getting frustrated and more time explaining and finding ways to say things differently,” Taylor says. “In the past, I got frustrated because I thought players should all understand the one way I explained something. I was putting them on the line and making them run because of their lack of understanding, which was really my fault more than anyone else’s.

“But I’m learning that certain players need you to say things in different ways to understand,” he continues. “Trying to remain calm and figure out a different way to say something, rather than getting frustrated and throwing a tantrum, was a big change for me.”

Some coaches use screaming in practice as a crucible to toughen up their players for a game. The belief is that if you add enough pressure and drive them hard enough, then the game will seem easier by comparison.

But there are other ways to prepare players for the rigors of competition besides exposing them to a verbal blast furnace. One is to make sure that practice itself is a competitive situation.

“The drills we do in practices reflect the game,” Begley says. “Almost everyone will try hard in a game, simply because it’s a game situation. If you run the clock in practice and keep score in all the drills with a consequence for the team that loses-even a ridiculously minimal one like one sprint or crunches-it reflects more of what the players really enjoy, which is the thrill of competing in a game where something is on the line. The intensity will definitely increase, and the really competitive kids tend to drag the less competitive kids with them.”

Martelli does much the same at St. Joseph’s. “The setting in practice should be demanding, but that’s not the same as being uncomfortable,” he says. “When you talk about a situation where players are supposedly coming to do something they love to do-play basketball-and you’re doing something you love to do-teach the game of basketball-then why would you take away from that by making it an uncomfortable situation?”

There’s another way to find out the best way to reach your athletes. It’s simple, yet many coaches overlook it: Ask them.

“Coaches should ask their athletes, ‘What works for you? Why isn’t this drill working? Why are we having difficulty learning this particular skill?'” Lancaster explains. “Talk to the captains and the leaders of the team and use that feedback to make changes if necessary.”

Make sure that you are truly open to and ready for feedback. “One thing we tell coaches is ‘Listen with your eyes,'” Lancaster says. “For example, if the coach is getting feedback from an athlete, he or she should be looking at the athlete and listening actively, so the athlete knows that what he or she is saying is important. Many times, coaches will ask for feedback, but they might be looking off somewhere else, or their mind is wandering and the athlete gets tuned out very quickly.”

A Matter of Style

When coaches witness their opposite numbers winning games while carrying on or see boisterous college coaches filling the television screens, it’s easy for them to think that they have to yell and scream to succeed. But there are plenty of successful styles. The important thing is to choose one that fits you.

At New Roads, Taylor is still in transition one year after starting a conscious effort last season to take a more positive approach with his players. “I asked them more than I told them in order to see how well they understood what I was trying to get across,” he says. “When they do make a mistake, say blow a layup or turn the ball over, it really is a non-teachable moment at that point. They already know they’ve done something wrong. So we’re letting them know they need to brush it off and find another way to get that missed layup or turnover back.”

Throughout practices and games, Taylor kept a folder close to his side where he could remind himself of some positive approaches he may have overlooked in the heat of the battle. He also made notes of ways he could improve.

“I’d see something I hadn’t implemented yet and show it to my athletic director or assistant coach and say, ‘I really want to do this after this game,'” he says. “‘Whether we win or lose, I really want to have the team huddle be like this,’ for example. I always took tidbits and different things from each game, and I kept that information close to me.”

Still, Taylor says there were times last season when it wasn’t easy to keep his cool. One instance came when ESPN was on hand to shoot some footage for a piece on positive coaching for its “Outside the Lines” program.

“We were down 13 to a team we had beaten on their own court, and things were looking bleak,” he says. “Their coach was getting really animated with the refs and the game was almost to the point where I felt the sportsmanship was lost. I stood up and I started to get a little bit animated myself and then I said, ‘No. This isn’t how we’ve been winning and this isn’t the style I’ve been using all year.’ I just really supported my kids and we turned a 13-point deficit in the third quarter to a seven-point victory.”

Though Taylor would be the first to admit he’s not completely where he wants to be, he also says that other coaches should give the calm approach a shot, even if it’s in small pieces. “Whether they think they’re going to believe it or not or think it’s hokey and new age, I hope coaches will just give it a chance,” he says. “It might not change their overall coaching philosophy, but there might be one or two things that they can benefit from.”

While it has meant some extra work and effort on Taylor’s part, he says the change is something he’d do again in a minute. “The thing that keeps me going is that it’s better for the kids,” he says. “And if it’s better for the kids, then it’s better for the program.”

_______________________________________________________________

Constant yelling and screaming erodes trust between a parent and a child

While physical abuse of children has been widely studied, child development specialists have in recent years begun to focus more attention on emotional abuse, which studies suggest can be equally harmful. In 2002, the American Academy of Pediatrics urged pediatricians to be aware of the risk factors of psychological maltreatment of children.

The academy’s report, based on numerous studies, said that “a chronic pattern of psychological maltreatment destroys a child’s sense of self and personal safety.”

study in the July 2001 issue of The American Journal of Psychiatry that compared 49 subjects with depersonalization disorder with 26 emotionally healthy subjects, found that emotional abuse was the most significant predictor of mental illness, more so than sexual and physical abuse.

Dr. Straus, director of the Family Research Laboratory at the University of New Hampshire, said yelling could set a bad example for children that affects the way they handle social interactions later on.

“Yelling sets the tone for family relationships that carry over for dating relationships where you get a lot of psychological aggression,” Dr. Straus said.

“Yelling overpowers children, it makes them feel frustrated and angry, and what can happen is that after a while kids become immune to being yelled at. They tune it out,” said Dr. Myrna B. Shure, a professor of psychology at Drexel University, who conducted a five-year study, financed by the National Institute of Mental Health, of children from kindergarten to fourth grade. [INFOCUS Free Newsletter]

Emotional abuse (psychological abuse, verbal abuse, mental injury) includes acts or omissions that have caused, or could cause, serious behavioral, cognitive, emotional, or mental disorders. In some cases of emotional abuse, the acts of parents or other caregivers alone, without any harm evident in the child’s behavior or condition, are sufficient to warrant child protective services (CPS) intervention. For example, the parents/caregivers may use extreme or bizarre forms of punishment, such as confinement of a child in a dark closet. This is usually done in the name of “discipline.”

Examples of emotional abuse include:

Belittling – Disparaging comments; making what one said as unimportant or contemptibly small
Countering and correcting – Responding in opposition and pointing out errors and mistakes
Put-downs disguised as jokes – Making critical, dismissive, or slighting remarks in a joking, often sarcastic, way
Teasing – Harassing someone ‘playfully’ and often with sexual connotations, or harassing maliciously (especially by ridicule); provoking someone with persistent annoyances NOTE: If teasing is reciprocal, it can be considered a playful bonding interaction and is not abusive. If one or both persons are already in a relationship with another, then this type of teasing is flirting and is emotionally abusive in its betrayal.
Holding out – Refusing to provide emotional support, share information, or otherwise be intimate in a relationship.
Shutting down – Changing the subject of a discussion (particularly if it is done rapidly), stopping an emotionally-uncomfortable discussion down entirely, and “forcing a discussion off-track”
Blame-shifting – Scape-goating or laying the responsibility of one’s actions on someone else (e.g., “It’s your fault,” “If only you were more/less _____,” “You’re just trying to pick a fight”)
Fault-finding – Relentless criticizing and correcting
Intimidation – Words or actions that threaten or imply harm or loss of something important; emotional blackmail
Insulting and labeling – Calling someone something pejorative; name-calling
Selective memory – Remembering only parts of an event or bringing up only negative aspects of a person; includes ‘forgetting’ and altering of facts to make himself/herself look good
Commanding – Issuing demands in a controlling or dominating way (as opposed to polite and respectful requests)
Lashing out – Angry attacks, yelling, screaming, raging, temper tantrums

Some emotional abuse, such as habitual scape-goating, belittling, or rejecting treatment, is often difficult to prove and, therefore, child protective services may not be able to intervene without evidence of harm to the child.

________________________________________________

Only one teacher really did scare me. He was not afraid to scream at his students and be a hard ass.

This particular school has issues that need to be addressed. They have a hostile and aggressive approach to get children to listen. I have heard the teachers numerous times, and the volunteers Yell at the children at the top of their lungs.

Is not just the yelling! Is the body language and facial expressions that tell me this people is not qualified to deal with young children.

As your article mentioned, we as parents feel overwhelmed sometimes and are tempted to yell at our children, but if this is considered a form of emotional abuse if parents do it at home; what laws are there to protect our children from people like this when we leave them in their care for a full day of school? By the end of the day I get children who are stressed out beyond believe, and frustrated because they have been yelled at all day!

Some of the teachers with the worst classroom discipline are the “screamers.” These are the teachers who yell at their students continuously. Eventually, this form of negative reinforcement causes the students close their ears and write off their teacher’s behavior as unreasonable. Sometimes silence speaks louder than words. Screaming rarely works and in fact often makes a class come together against the teacher.

ADULTS AND CHILDREN AGAINST VIOLENCE

Constant Yelling Can Be Just As Harmful to Children as Physical Abuse
What does the research show?

Most parents, even the most patient ones, lose their temper and yell at their children. According to a 2003 study published in The Journal of Marriage and Family, 88 percent of the 991 families interviewed admitted shouting, yelling or screaming at their children in the previous year. That percentage jumped to 98 percent in families with 7-year-old children.

While occasional yelling is common in American families, parents who constantly yell at their children are subjecting their children to emotional abuse that researchers say can be as harmful as physical abuse. A 2001 study in the American Journal of Psychiatry involving 49 people with depersonalization disorder (a mental disorder in which a person has a feeling of detachment or estrangement from one’s self) and 26 emotionally healthy people, found that yelling and other forms of emotional abuse was a more significant predictor of mental illness than sexual and physical abuse.

Besides being potentially harmful if overused, yelling is often ineffective. “Children can become immune to being yelled at and start to tune it out,” according to psychologist Myrna B. Shure, Ph.D., of Drexel University.

Dr. Shure’s research shows that parents whose only way of disciplining their children is by yelling, demanding or commanding have children that at age four or five are more likely to display physical or verbal aggression, social withdrawal, and a lack of positive/prosocial behaviors, such as sharing and empathy. She says instead of yelling, which makes children feel angry and frustrated, parents should use a problem-solving approach in which children are taught to think about their own and others’ feelings. For example, if your children will not pick up their toys, ask them to think of how you feel when they won’t pick up the toys. Then ask them to think of something they can do so you won’t feel that way.

This approach can have large and long-lasting effects on children’s behavior (see http://www.psychologymatters.org/shure.html and http://www.thinkingchild.com).

How do these findings relate to ACT?

The ACT program recommends that the best way for parents to prevent negative behaviors in their children is to support positive behaviors. Parents may be less tempted to yell at their children if they talk to their children about simple rules about behavior, and then put them into action. After setting up the rules, parents can guide children using some of the following approaches:

• Let children know what you expect, with simple statements. “Please put away your toys right now.”
• Give warnings and reminders, without threats. “When you put away your toys, then you can go outside with your friends.”
• Tell a child what to do rather than what not to do. “Please use a soft voice,” instead of “Stop yelling!”
• Follow through with praise for following instructions or consequences for disobeying.
It is normal for adults to get angry; but it is important to learn to recognize angry feelings and to learn and practice positive ways of dealing with them. For specific anger-management steps, read the ACT handout: “Helping Adults Manage Their Angry Feelings” (http://www.actagainstviolence.org/materials/handouts/FamilyAM1.pdf).
Citations:
Simeon, D., Guralnik, O., Schmeidler, J., Sirof, B., & Knutelska, M. (2001). The role of childhood interpersonal trauma in depersonalization disorder. American Journal of Psychiatry, Vol. 158, pp. 1027-1033.
Straus, M.A., & Field, C.J. (2003). Psychological aggression by American parents: National data on prevalence, chronicity, and severity. Journal of Marriage & Family, Vol. 65, pp. 795-808.
Shure, M.B. (2005). Thinking Parent, thinking child. New York: McGraw-Hill.

Screaming at children seldom helps, may hurt, THE NEW YORK TIMES, November 14, 2004

The thing about children is that sometimes they misbehave. They disobey. They talk back. They ignore their chores and fight with their siblings.

Even the most patient parent can end up hollering. Indeed, yelling at children is so common in American households that most parents view it as an inevitable part of childrearing.

But in some cases, researchers say, yelling can become a form of emotional abuse. And children whose parents consistently raise their voices or combine yelling with insults, criticism, ridicule or humiliation may suffer from depression, dips in self-esteem or demonstrate more aggression themselves.

While physical abuse of children has been widely studied, child development specialists have in recent years begun to focus more attention on emotional abuse, which studies suggest can be equally harmful. In 2002, the American Academy of Pediatrics urged pediatricians to be aware of the risk factors of psychological maltreatment of children.

The academy’s report, based on numerous studies, said that “a chronic pattern of psychological maltreatment destroys a child’s sense of self and personal safety.”

Almost every parent yells at one time or another. A 2003 study by Dr. Murray A. Straus and Carolyn J. Field, published in the Journal of Marriage and Family, found that 88 percent of the 991 families interviewed reported shouting, yelling or screaming at their children in the previous year. Of the families with 7-year-old children, 98 percent reported having yelled.

In another study, not yet published, Dr. George Holden at the University of Texas and his colleagues followed 132 parents and their newborn infants over four years. Thirty-five percent of the parents reported yelling at their children before they were 1. By the time the children were 4, 93 percent said they had.

Not all children suffer as a result. Researchers say that content and context matter. The tone, what is said and the frequency can mitigate or exacerbate its effects.
“The difference comes in how the yelling is used,” said Bonnie Harris, a parent educator in Peterborough, N.H., and author of “When Your Kids Push Your Buttons: And What You Can Do About It.”

“Is it blaming and shaming?” she asked. “If the child is being held responsible for the parent’s feelings and behavior, then the yelling can have a deleterious effect.

“But not if the parent is just venting without blame, saying, ‘I am really angry, I can’t stand this anymore,”‘ Harris said. “You have just as much right to your emotions as your children do.”

Researchers are trying to codify the definition of emotional abuse while, at the same time, understanding more about its effects. A study in the July 2001 issue of the American Journal of Psychiatry that compared 49 subjects with depersonalization disorder with 26 emotionally healthy subjects, found that emotional abuse was the most significant predictor of mental illness, more so than sexual and physical abuse.
Straus, director of the Family Research Laboratory at the University of New Hampshire, said yelling could set a bad example for children that affects the way they handle social interactions later on.

“Yelling sets the tone for family relationships that carry over for dating relationships where you get a lot of psychological aggression,” Straus said.

Still, in the context of a supportive family environment, raised voices do not necessarily signal trouble, a study published last summer in the Journal of Emotional Abuse says.

“Other familial factors (particularly, having an emotionally warm and close relationship with at least one parent) appear to ameliorate the potential negative effects and also to play a greater role in long-term psychological outcomes than yelling or other forms of aggressive acts,” Dr. Anupama Sharma, assistant professor of psychology at Eastern Illinois University and a co-author of the study, said in an e-mail message.
Some experts even say that yelling can be useful, teaching children about failures in a safe environment.

“Children have to understand that we as parents are not perfect and every once in a while we lose it,” said Dr. Bennett Leventhal, director of child and adolescent psychiatry at the University of Chicago. “It’s far better to understand at home that sometimes people get beyond their limit.”

But as most parents can testify, screaming at children is often not effective.
“Yelling overpowers children, it makes them feel frustrated and angry, and what can happen is that after a while kids become immune to being yelled at. They tune it out,” said Dr. Myrna B. Shure, a professor of psychology at Drexel University, who conducted a five-year study, financed by the National Institute of Mental Health, of children from kindergarten to fourth grade.

The yelling can also make parents feel worse. Jen Sayre, a mother of three from Rockingham County, N.H., said she hated yelling at her children.

“I feel so sad and out of control when I’m yelling, and I’m mad at myself,” she said.
Sayre does not yell often, she said, because she and her husband took workshops with Harris to help them be more effective parents.

That was four years ago. Today, on the rare occasion that Harris raises her voice, a child pipes up and puts her in her place.

“My kids will look at me now and say, ‘Mommy, this is your issue, you need to work on that,” Sayre said. “I try everything I can do not to yell, but when I do yell, I apologize.”

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