Sunday, April 21, 2013

Understanding the New Coaching Culture in Sports - Opinions From Section II

After several weeks of research and calling and interviewing my story on the changes in coaching culture is in print and online today.

It's very exciting.

But wait; there's more! I talked to dozens of people over the past few weeks and everyone had some really fascinating opinions on the changes in what is acceptable coaching behavior. Now, in print, I'm slightly limited by space and the flow of the story but here on the blog, I've got some space to share what everyone is thinking.

It only seems fair that if someone gave me their opinion, it should be shared with the readers, so here we are. Under the cut, you can check out some extended quotes from people who were mentioned in my story as well as quotes from athletes who answered my call on Twitter (thanks guys!). This whole process has been really interesting and it's incredible to see how much things have changed and haven't changed all at the same time.

Section II Athletes and Former Athletes
"If it's like low key swearing just to motivate you, it's cool. But if they are angry and swearing it's no good. once you yell at someone once for something you won't need to again."
- Billy Pine, Hoosick Falls

"If it's on a personal level, such as race, sexual preference or background, that's (yelling) wrong. but if it's just about performance, then no."
- Will Bradley, Hoosick Falls

"I played baseball for CCHS from '94 - '97. Greg Hansen was my coach. He was the best coach I ever had. He yelled and screamed. He would hit 100 mph grounders to us in the gym and if we missed he would hit them harder. As tough as it was to deal with sometimes, he made all of us mentally tough. We could deal with anything after a practice with him. On downtime he would talk with us and get to know us and showed us he cared. Nowadays, if a coach was as hard as he was, he would get sued by some overbearing parent. Thank God they didn't interfere with him then because Coach Hansen made me a better man today."
- TJ Snyder, Catholic Central

"My relationship with my coach is a student/teacher type relationship. When you go to Watervliet, the expectations are immense. As a player, I need to go into every game knowing everything I can. That's our version of homework. I believe a good coach is a jack of all trades. They are nice but know how to lay down the law when need be."
- Beth Jones, Watervliet

"The biggest issue, for me, would be invading personal space. I'd probably tell the athletic director and my parents if something ever happened."
- Jess Adams, Columbia

"If they take it off the field then it's definitely way to far. if it gets brought up in school or if it's evfen after the game, then I think it's too far."
- Caitlin Cooper, Columbia

"Great coaches put in the extra time to make you the best you can be. If a coach singles out a player constantly, that's wrong. If it's affecting the teams' playing ability maybe I would talk to the coach about it first. Then if it continues maybe talk to the team and see what they want to do."
- Sean McLaughlin, Hoosic Valley

"When a coach gets in your face sometimes it's all discipline. You cant' just be lazy. I could see it being an issue though if he was singling out one player the whole time in every practice or every game."
- Chris Carmel, La Salle
Section II Coaches and Officials
"From an AD standpoint, I want my coaches to be demanding coaches. But certain things are actually illegal. So, we've gotten to the point where we have a coaches manual which describes in very clear, concise terms what is and isn't acceptable from coaches. It describes how to address it."
- Brett Lamy, Hoosick Falls

"If you have a win at all costs mentality, if you only focus is how many games you can win, then you're completely forgetting about the life of the student. I think you're going to be coaching in a completely different manner than someone who says I'm worried about the athlete before I'm worried about the student."
- Robert J. Zayas, NYSPHSAA Executive Director

"I tell my players all the time, I may hold the Section II record for getting yelled at the most by my coach. It's the coaches job to do other things besides yelling though. There's things you can do to let the players know that you care about them. If they know, from your actions, that you really care about them, the more leeway they'll give you to be hard on them."

"I just think back when we were growing up, kids didn't have their parents go to every single, little minor, battle for them. Kids gain confidence by working it out with the coach for the most part. it seems like a lot of times these days, every little inconvenience or bump in the road that a kid goes though, their parents are right there to go to battle for them."
- Mike Lilac, Hoosick Falls Basketball & Baseball

"There's always been those lines. I don't think it's ever been acceptable to harm anybody physically. Sometimes things between coaches and athletes get taken out of context and feelings get hurt. The most important thing is to communicate them. Nine times out of ten, that's not the way it was intended."
- Sheila Golden, Maple Hill Soccer & Track and Field

"If you're not doing your best or not trying, then I'm going to yell. To me, that's worth yelling about because those are things that go forward into life. To me, you are reinforcing life lessons. But I'm never going to call them names; that's a whole different thing. You've crossed the line and there's nothing that is beneficial for your team that can come from that."

"Don't vent your own frustration at a kid. If you find yourself yelling about stuff like that, then you've lost your mind. The issue is you probably don't know how to fix the things that are going wrong."
- Ron Jones, Hoosick Falls Football

"We don't intend to use foul language in front of our players, but it happens from time to time. And you might have a parent or an athlete that feels uncomfortable, so we try to enforce with our coaches not use that language. There's a difference between swearing directly at an athlete or just generally at practice or in a huddle."
- Mark Bubniak, Maple Hill AD & Girls Basketball

"The only that is different is that society is different. That changes every step of the way. People see what goes on in regards to professional and college athletes. They're not necesarily held accountable and it's that celebrity status. They're treated a little different and unfortunately our society puts some emphasis on those kinds of things. Those are the things we deal with."
- Jack Burger, Troy Football & Track and Field

"It's kind of hard to say this is ok and this isn't. We have coaches here, and coaches across the country that have very, very different styles. So it's hard to say I would accept this and I wouldn't accept that."
- Paul Reinisch, Troy AD

"Everybody has an iPad, everyone has an iPhone. Everything that you do is goign to be recorded, some way or antoehr. So why not do the right thing all the time? The one instance where it gets taken out of context, it's going to get blonw up. Coaches need to knwo their line and thier limit."
- Chris Ciccone, Columbia Softball 

"It's a constant evolution. When you're dealing with high school kids, you're almost changing on a daily basis. I feel, personally, as a coach today, you really need to be flexible with you do deal with the kids."
- Kyle Turski, Voorheesville Baseball

"Take Rutgers for example; I think that was totally out control. I don't care what level that is. You have to coach everybody differently. Not every kid is coached the same. some kids you can yell at and you're going to get them to improve. other kids you need a different approach becuase they wont' react to yelling and screaming."
- Pete Strand, Watervliet Baseball


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