Nice Coaches are Evil by draining the potential from their players

Beware of Nice Coaches

If a Coach Is nice, and friendly, and available. And never gives you the fierce criticism and the tough pushback that forces you to confront your weaknesses, take risks, stop whining, cut the excuses, get over your fears, and make hard decisions about your ability and future in soccer then the are NOT helping you.

The “Nice coach” has been the downfall of, and wasted the talent of, countless youth soccer and high school soccer players with potential to be great. Too often parents and players are too soft to go after or demand quality coaches. These players and parents circle around the nice coaches in the club, the ones who remember their birthdays and sometimes bring in orange slices and capri sun pouches at practice. Too often these parents want their kids to receive the ‘benefits’ of the team environment without actually wanting the necessary team building events (pressure is uncomfortable – subject of another post) to occur. In essence they say one thing and mean another, babysitting.

If you’ve never cried before, during, or after a practice your coach is doing something wrong.

Do not attach yourself to someone “nice.”  Attach yourself to someone “intense.”  They might not be all warm and fuzzy, but they’ll have you prepped to deal with the REAL assholes who are always circling out there, waiting to pounce.

Nice loses in sport.  Nice always loses.

The last thing you want is a nice coach, if by nice they’re all, “hey, that’s a great  idea on that pass (that just got stolen),” and “wow your moves are terrific (half of them got poked away by defenders)” and “you’re brilliant, you’ll get a scholarship” and “you  have nothing to worry about.”

‘Cause that’s bullshit, pure and simple.

That’s not friendship or support or adequate coaching.  That’s abdicating responsibility. That’s laziness.  And it’s falsehood.

Everyone should be worried by the nice coach. Players do struggle with abusive and outrageous coaches. But far more often I talk to players at high school showcases who are slowly, gradually, painfully confronting the devastation  wrought by the nice coaches they have chosen, ‘what do you mean I am not going to play at North Carolina?”.  At least with an abusive coaches you know there’s a problem. The harm of the nice coach lies in letting you believe there is no problem, that everything is fine.  So you cruise on, attending practice and playing showcases, and sending out recruiting e-mails … until one day, you realize, at the hands of the completely cold and unyielding recruiting meat market:

Everything is not fine.  You are not brilliant.  You should have been worried.

In coaching at least, nice is evil.

All coaches, but particularly nice coaches,  beware of the impulse to water down your critique.  The truth, if it is really the truth, and not some passive-aggressive expression of your own private twisted agenda, is never toxic or undermining.  It is empowering.

I say it again:  The Truth Is Empowering.

You empower your players when you tell them the truth.  Even when the truth is kind of bad and disappointing.

No, you can’t just criticize (“your play is unimaginative and slow”).  You must criticize and then TEACH:  “your play is unimaginative and slow because you don’t look to switch fields and don’t prepare your first touch to strike the ball.

Yes, they may resent you.  No, they may not do what you say.  It is not comfortable.  It may involve strife.  But that is your job, as a coach.  To show them what they’re doing poorly and TEACH them how to do it better.

If you want to go home and be nice to your goldfish or your friends, that’s fine.  But don’t be nice to your players.

This entry was posted on Monday, May 21st, 2012 at 17:39 and is filed under Coaching. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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