Coaching & the culture of the game

Rutgers former basketball coach, Mike Rice, gained national attention and lost his job after video surfaced of him shoving and berating players.

Certainly, coaches can be very vocal and intense. But where is the line when it comes to coaches "motivating" players?

Local high school and collegiate coaches will be the first to say that every coach and every sport is different. But they'll agree there is a line that coaches shouldn't cross, no matter what.

"You can motivate kids, but at the end of the day, they need to know that you love them and that they can trust you," says Jerry Hood, head football coach at Clay-Chalkville High School.

Hood describes the culture of coaching high school football. "The more you raise your voice, the more you bring energy in a positive way. The more intense that situation becomes. In sports, we believe you do it better when it's intense. If it's lazzez fair then we aren't getting anywhere."Hood has spent 23 years as a coach. He also serves as the school's athletic director.

Hood says, coaches at the school know there's a line they don't cross when it comes to motivating players. "I talk to my coaches about this, every year, there's certain ways that we're going to talk to our players," says Hood. "If we have to motivate them in a loud way, we got to make sure that we love on them three times as much."Hood says the actions by former Rutgers coach Mike Rice, are completely over the line."If you're the type of coach that uses your position as a bully pulpit, you won't last long at any school," says Hood.Hood will say football coaching requires a time for coaches to be physical, but that no coach should resort to name-calling and physical contact out of anger"In football and in basketball, if you're learning how to post a kid up then the coach will have to show you how to get a high hand and how to get a low hand, and where to put that hand. That's appropriate contact in teaching technique with a child," Hood explains.

Jerod Haase, UAB's head basketball coach would agree. No matter what level of athletics, the same line is in place. "Once you get into anything physical that's obviously over the line. Verbally anything that becomes personal in my opinion is over the line.{} If you're yelling at a kid saying they need to deny better, they need to stay in front of the ball. Trying to get them to be a better basketball player, that's all within the realm of things. Once it becomes personal, that's when it's over the line," says Haase.Dr. Vivian Friedman, a child psychologist says coaches can motivate players without having to raise their voice. "I think that players are motivated to please a coach, they're motivated to win. They're motivated for the team to do well. You don't have to scream to motivate them to want their team to win," says Friedman.Friedman says effective coaching comes with positive reinforcement. She says, "I think someone who is a really good coach motivates positively, the same goes for business managers, for any kind of person in a leadership position. Positive reinforcement works better than negative reinforcement."Ultimately, the coaches say each sport is different and so are coaching styles. Haase says, "There's just a lot of ways to go about it. There's a lot of different sports, there's a lot of different variables there. But I think again, again it goes back to the individual of what that individual thinks and believes in."