This past month an interesting article and video garnered significant attention. A Toronto Star/CTV W5 investigative report was featured in The Star.Com Canada. It examined accusations made against a competitive high school basketball program – that their coaches’ behavior was emotional abuse. This video provides interviews with two students and their parents who levied the accusations, which went to the Headmaster’s office and ultimately was heard by two separate independent investigators. They ruled that in spite of screaming and yelling behavior, in addition to name calling and unrestrained use of profanity – there were no grounds for punitive action against the coaches. Passionate coaching intensity, a winning pedigree and a star-graduate in the NBA were mentioned in consideration of the allegations being dismissed by the investigations. Here is the video:
This particular coaching group, at this school (private), had a number of athletes support their methods suggesting that athletes must make the adjustment to the higher level of competition this program required. Public exposure of the complainants resulted in a variety of exclusionary experiences amongst both faculty and fellow students. Neither of the individual’s interviewed for the video attended their high school graduation for fear of a public display denigrating them personally in similar fashion with name calling.
Something tells me that coaches at even higher levels of competitive play don’t resort to these tactics. John Wooden was a quiet man, never yelled and yet commanded huge respect and his success was unprecedented. Consider coaches at Duke, UNC, and Kentucky as they enter the NCAA Tournament. These coaches achieve great success without resorting to the sorts of shenanigans discussed in this investigation.
Perhaps these coaches aren’t violating a standard established at this school, but in my opinion their conduct warrants censorship and probably dismissal. Let them go pro. I wonder how they’d do with the lowly Denver Nuggets as they just fired Brian Shaw, another fire-brand type leader.
Podium has featured a number of pieces on poor coaching behavior – in addition to – research on effective coaching. The Positive Coaching Alliance has provided a significant body of research on their findings and research at Stanford on coaching. Included in this article is a TED Talk by PCA founder Dr. Jim Thompson.
This material is appropriate for review by every coach and every parent “BEFORE” enrolling themselves or their young athletes in a program. It is incumbent on every parent to properly vet the influences their children will be exposed to. If Dr. Alan Goldberg’s research is accurate, and it certainly seems to be gaining a much broader base of support, your athlete will perform better and live a much happier life with competitive coaches who embrace the tenants espoused in the Positive Coaching Alliance Charter.
Let us know what you think?