As a coach, I’m extremely supportive, but extremely vocal. Someone asked me recently if I had noticed that the amount of yelling a coach does drops dramatically as you get to higher and higher playing levels. Some college basketball coaches don’t say a word during games. I hadn’t ever though it it like that (and am not sure it’s actually true… Bobby Knight.)
I’m of two minds when it comes to yelling as a coach during games. In the past, I’d yell and scream at the top of my lungs both giving the kids encouragement, but also giving them instruction. The more I read about this and the more I think about it though, the more I want to reserve my loud voice for practices and stay much quieter during games.
I am beginning to think that games should be played by the kids using what they have learned during practice. The question I’m struggling with now though is that delicate balance between being overbearing and supportive. During games, the kids should be totally focused on using the skills they have been working on at practice – to some degree, it’s like taking a school test for them. My role isn’t to give them the answers, but to have taught them enough to figure it out on their own in a live game.
This doesn’t mean I’l be silent of course, it just means that I’ll focus my game energy on watching what’s going on (maybe I need a little notebook like Bobby Bowden carries around to scribble impressions and notes down) and providing bench players with guidance and teaching.
Last night, I tried it out and felt a lot better about things, I was calmer, and more collected and really watched my players play. I saw a few things that I didn’t like, things that I thought we had practiced enough but now know we still have a long way to go, even on some fundamentals.
Are you a yeller? Have you ever thought about not yelling as much?