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Coaching question: when to say something positive and when to stay quiet

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  • #31
    Originally posted by bluedawg View Post

    Wait -so how would you lead your troops into battle? Singing the praises of what?
    Praise the Lord and pass the ammunition.


    Last edited by skipper5; 11-07-2019, 11:14 PM.
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    • #32
      I still struggle to reign in my knee-jerk reaction to "poor attitude" or "effort" from my younger (12 yo) in games, practices, etc. I am constantly reminded by my better half of his age/maturity and my reaction can unravel him and can be salt on his already deeply cut wounds. I too am a work in progress.

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      • #33
        As I have often posted here, I am a yeller. Therefore, I have to give positive feedback a lot. I've always read that 4 to 1 is a good ration. I tried to make it 8 to 1 positive. However, and this is important, I have always told my team that if there is a negative, it will be straight forward and not politically correct. My players/teams have always "got it." Per individual players, I would say that you can't have a steadfast rule of trying to pat one on the back and the other ... Players are different. For some, one moment of praise last a long time and for others, they are "high maintenance."

        Finally, I also subscribe to the old school adage that when I'm not getting after you/it, that is when you should worry. IOWs if a player really messes up and they know that I know it, and I don't say something, that is the time for them to worry.
        Granny said Sonny stick to your guns if you believe in something no matter what. Because it's better to be hated for who you are than to be loved for who you're not.

        I am an ex expert. I've done this long enough to know that those who think that they know it all, know nothing.

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        • #34
          Since MLB was mentioned, I see a distinction between practice and game day commentary. I can only think of one coach who would come to the ballpark and say anything negative game day and I love him - Perry Castellano, former strength coach for the Twins. He would get on the guys during warm-ups as needed. No blowups or the like, but it was noticeable against the usual ultra friendly, highly positive coaches commentary. Certainly not the same approach for a practice.
          "Whata crowd, whata crowd! I tell ya, I'm all right now but last week I was in rough shape..."

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          • #35
            I recollect the following from motivational speaker Randy Pausch ....

            Assistant coach to Pausch when his head was down after football practice: (head) Coach was pretty rough on you today. It means he cares. It means he wants you to be better. If he didn’t say anything it would mean he’s given up on you.

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            • #36
              I learned rather early that (most of the time) players already knew that they screwed up, and me hollering at them pointing out their mistake(s) to the whole world wasn't helping anyone or really anything...that's not saying that we wouldn't have a little discussion about it later in the dugout, just so I knew they knew or were aware of what they should have done.

              I also learned about that same time that (most) players are an insecure bunch regardless of age or level of play, and need (look for) reassurance, and positive reenforcement from those in a position of authority to give it to them as much as possible (mom, dad, grandma, or grandpa don't count)...I really liked smart, heads up, thinking plays, and/or extraordinary effort in practice or games, and commented on those much more favorably than I did on some "remarkable" physical play.

              Now to your question(s) directly....
              Originally posted by baseabllmom View Post
              My kid was upset after a workout last night with a new coach. He showed a lot of effort and hustle in the workout. It did seem like one positive word from the authority figure would have made a world of difference, but none was forthcoming. This is my son's general experience. So, I am curious if there are certain kid arctypes or behaviors that lead to this type of coaching. That way I can respond with positive suggestions for him - in the spirit of "control what you can control".
              "Effort and hustle" are very subjective, and what your son or yourself might feel are "a lot of effort and hustle", are what some might consider to be just normal or expected effort at whatever age or level of play.

              Since you say that "This is my son's general experience", then that leads me to believe that while he might "feel" as though he's giving "a lot of effort and hustle" in his workouts or games...compared to (most) coaches "expectations", he's most likely....right about where he should be compared to his peers.

              I guess if you want to tell him anything (if he's the one concerned or complaining about it), I'd suggest that you tell him that as long as the coach isn't yelling at him to "HUSTLE UP!!" than he's doing ok...and if he really wants the coach to praise him, than he just has to work that much harder, and show that much more effort to achieve it. You might also ask him "Are you giving the effort and hustle that you are to impress your coach (or boss when he gets older), or are you doing it make yourself better at what you're doing or trying to accomplish?"

              To borrow from Alex Elle, "Work harder than you think you did yesterday" is the way to greatness, and success....not having someone tell you you're doing a good job, to then only become complacent thinking you've done all you need to do to get to the top or wherever you want to go or be at the time.


              JMO though...OMMV,
              mud -


              Last edited by mudvnine; 11-08-2019, 11:06 AM.
              In memory of "Catchingcoach" - Dave Weaver: February 28, 1955 - June 17, 2011

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              • #37
                Thanks to all with sharing your approach and evolution. My husband and I find baseball is great for teaching all sorts of things to us and our kids. We also like that it mixes us up - that we encounter many more people with different backgrounds and approaches through baseball than we do through work or our kids school. It is nice to learn from all of your experiences and perspectives.

                Originally posted by mudvnine View Post

                Now to your question(s) directly....
                "Effort and hustle" are very subjective, and what your son or yourself might feel are "a lot of effort and hustle", are what some might consider to be just normal or expected effort at whatever age or level of play.

                Since you say that "This is my son's general experience", then that leads me to believe that while he might "feel" as though he's giving "a lot of effort and hustle" in his workouts or games...compared to (most) coaches "expectations", he's most likely....right about where he should be compared to his peers.
                Thanks for your feedback, Mudvine. I do appreciate it the feedback, and I hear you. I am going to go ahead and trust my own observations on this one.

                Dominik - you provided just the right perspective for the situation that prompted the thread. Even if it is not true, I think my son could pretend that it is true (that silence is golden) and that will help him enjoy the agility class more.

                Skipper - I like the clipboard suggestion! That sounds like effective teaching and helps carry over practice to games.

                Bluedawg - I appreciate the connection to military leadership. My son and I just finished reading through a book that compares and contrasts leadership strategies in the military. Thanks for bringing it up. We can draw parallels to coaching.

                BBrages and others - I also like the connection to management training. The praise sandwich has always stuck in my throat both in offering it and receiving it, but the follow up on taking the "you" out of criticism seemed useful.

                OMG - I do appreciate your pushback that I am an over-involved parent. I don't mind hearing it. Each time you do, I reflect for a minute, then decide. Generally I am there at practice or agility, etc. due to some other scheduling / infrastructure reason, but sure, sometimes, maybe I could not be there. That would be helpful. More time for other things. Also, I tend to post here when I am procrastinating on something hard at work. So you push back and call me too helicopter or too emotional - and I go, hmm, not fun, and get back to work. So thanks! Helps me be more productive


                If I could send you all some feedback as a mom of a kid who cares. A kind word on occasion would mean a great deal to my kid and would make that moment in my life substantially easier.



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