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Why are (some) coaches so angry?

Photo by Han Duong |

Shiny happy people holding hands

Shiny happy people laughing


When asked this question, it is answered in two ways. First, by coaches that might be emotional on the sidelines;

  • The players don’t listen
  • They don’t hustle
  • They do the opposite of what I said to do
  • They aren’t doing what we practiced

A second type of answer also emerges, from coaches that are investigating the root cause of the anger;

  • Coach’s ego
  • Competitiveness
  • Emotional instability/immaturity
  • Coaching as they were coached

For the most part, I think we are youth coaches. Certainly with college or pro coaches, situations are different. College players, while adults, are still learning quite a bit and may still be prone to mistakes. Pro players are playing against other pros…who are also very good. Professional coaches might be fairly serious, with a salary and bills to pay. Then again, if these coaches are pros, you might expect some professionalism.
I agree with ego, and a couple other things. Why would we get upset about a loss or a bad play or perceived lack of effort? Because we’re competitive, we want to win and look good. There’s really not much else on the line, as a youth coach.

Maybe it’s frustrating to repeat, or to (perceive to) be ignored. I’m not sure our players ignore us; they react in the moment based on what they see. It’s hard to remember all the things the coach said when the ball is flying. Makes a great argument for training in reality, simply so they get used to it.

There is some argument for a lack of understanding about what it takes to learn. Have we really taught them enough? Have we trained each player specifically for how s/he will learn? Players will always be at varying levels of understanding and talent. While we need to compare players to choose lineups, we should be careful not to expect every player to be capable of what all the others can do. We’re all different. The game is hard.

For me, lately it’s been more about time. We spend a lot of time in the gym, time working on concepts and cues and mindset, agreeing with each other how we will play. Then you get to the match, and all our brilliant ideas don’t come out in the game. Maybe we haven’t solidified those idea in the practice gym (yet.)

Was the precious time wasted? If your practices are good, and you treat people fairly, and you are learning, I think it’s time well spent regardless of the play’s outcome. The moments in the public eye are emotional, for sure. I look at the angry outbursts like I view a reputation; tons of time spent being good, and a few moments can stick with you a long time. Understanding the true importance of that play, that point, that game or match might go a long way toward settling the emotions.

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