[This post is in response to questions I’ve received about coaching and yelling. Actually, it was “screaming”, but I substituted “yelling.”]
Yelling, raising-your-voice, hollering, screaming … they all seem to reflect on how a coach does his or her job. It comes down to effective verbal communication, I think. Which is an integral part of what we coaches do.
There is a stigma that yelling signifies poor communicating, and maybe poor coaching. For instance, following is a description of Coach Al Ulbrickson, a rowing coach at University of Washington in the 1930s, from the book The Boys In The Boat:
He commanded enormous respect among his boys, but he did so almost entirely without raising his voice, almost in fact, without speaking to them. His few words were so carefully chosen and so effectively delivered that every one of them fell like a blade or a balm on the boy to whom they were delivered.
Makes him seem like a great coach, doesn’t it? (Hint: he was.)
However, many coaches yell. For some, that is the only way they verbally communicate.
I’m not criticizing anyone here, but as I looked at the issue of coaches yell (for a project I’m working on) some interesting facets appeared about WHEN yelling is the best way to verbally communicate. From those facets I developed this Choice-Tree:
Yes, I know, when you are emotionally upset this will do you no good — would you stop to read it when you are mad? That’s not my goal with it. In fact, my goal was to touch base on when yelling might be appropriate, and when not, and to open up some conversations.
I would love to hear your thoughts on this. The comments are on. How do you feel about yelling and coaching?