Should Coaches at Any Level Criticize Their Players Publicly in the Media??

We are seeing more coaches at the higher levels in all sports criticize their players in public by way of the media.

I myself would never do that, nor did I ever do that in my 40 plus years of coaching.

I always told my players that they get all the credit for the wins and I as the coach will take the blame for the losses.

If the players do what I want them to do, and we lose then it is my fault.

If the players do not do what I want them to do, then that too is my fault.

If the game plan does not work, then that to is also my fault.

If the other team is plain that much better than we are then it is neither the players or coaches fault.

Coaches also discipline their players by this method of media criticism. To me the only needed way to get player and team discipline is to use the John Wooden defintion: “A coaches best friend is the bench” (He forgot to say the wooden bench).

PLaying time is what really gets players attention. Coaches who yell and holler at their players usually find that the players adjust and if they stay in the game then all the yelling and hollering just goes in ear and out the other.

What really gets their attention is when they are subbed for and have to sit on the bench.

For the Coaches who do criticize their players in the media, stop and think, how would they like it if their players were allowed to criticize them in the media?

In fact, how many of these type of coaches ever ask their players for their input into why their team is not playing, executing or performing well.

The next game you go to at any level, take the time to check out the coaches behavior when coaching his team either positively or negatively. See how the players respond to coaches who yell, hollar or berate their players as the game is being played.

See how many coaches take the players out of the game if they are upset with what they have done or what they have not done.

I found that just taking my players out without any demostration of my feelings when players where doing things that I did not want them to do or they didn’t do the things
I wanted them to do got better results then yelling, hollaring or berating regardless of the level of play.

College coaches have a tendencey to do this more then any other group of coaches. College coaches forget who recruited these players in the first place.

People will say well they are college age players, however many of these players who are just freshmen out of high school are only 18 or 19 years of age. The most successful college coach of all time John Wooden figured it out. “You get more with honey then you do with vinegar”. He would never criticize his players publicly, even when he had Bill alton who was not the type of player that Wooden usually recruited.

Coaches who have reputations for calling out their players in the media, forget that this can backfire when recruiting.

Players do not like to be criticized publicly and they shouldn’t be. This should be done after the game is well over and the coaches have cooled down and are not fresh from a bad performance by his/her team.

One of the best ways for a coach to deal with correcting mistakes instead of placing blame on players is to tell them that as long as the coaches are correcting their players mistakes in practice then that is a very good sign that the coach thinks you are worth correcting.

It is when they stop doing this, then that is the time that a player should be concerned.

However, whenever doing this critcism, which I like to call positive coaching, not negative coaching, my players know that my criticism is to make them better and that it is not personal or a result of my frustration because players do not intentionally make mistakes.

Also, coaches MUST BE FAIR when dealing out criticism and make sure they handle all the players the same way….Coaches who do not do this will not be very successful because it does not take players very long to figure out if a coach is fair in dealing with all the payers in the same fashion.

I used to tell my players, that after I go to that big Basketball Arena in the sky they can all chip in a have engraved on my tombstone”, Coach Cimbollek was a !@#$%^&*, BUT HE WAS A fair !@#$%^&*

I always told my players that if a math teacher corrected their math exam, but did not mark the questions wrong on the paper how would the student know what questions they got wrong and so that they could correct the problem of the wrong answer.

Then I would tell my players that think of my positive criticism as their basketball test paper and if I don’t tell you what you did wromng how am I going to be able to get them to correct the problem.

However, I feel very strongly that coaches who yell, scream or berate their players whether it is in games or even in practices are not going to get the improvement they want.

The most effective method is to sit the player down during practice or in a game and that will be far more efective. Players want playing time and that is the method to get them to do what you want them to, when you want them to.

For those yellers and screamers out their coaching, try Wooden’s method, you might just find out that it works better then yelling, screamin in games or criticising players in the local media’s.