So Baccarini invited Goodson and me to a coaching workshop on Sunday. The group that conducted the workshop is called the Positive Coaching Alliance. The workshop was more geared towards youth sports in a lot of ways (we spent a lot of time talking about managing your kids parents etc), but there were some things relevant to college as well.
One of the main things PCA emphasizes is “filling emotional tanks” (sigh, I’m starting to sound like I went to Paideia). Their theory is that players perform better when their emotional tanks are full. The way that coaches fill emotional tanks is by striving to maintain a 5:1 ratio of positive comments to negative comments. The positive comments have to be specific and true. In other words we as coaches aren’t just being positive for the sake of being positive. However, when we see our kids do something well we should view that as an opportunity to teach. We can reinforce good habits by telling them “way to hit the swing” when they do it, even though that’s what we’ve told them to do 1000 times. I had talked to Baccarini about this once before, and Nick and I decided to give it a shot at Southerns. We both kept stats about how many positive comments we gave and how many criticisms we gave. I should mention that negative comments aren’t necessarily yelling. A negative criticism would just be telling a player that they should do X when they did Y. Anyway, we struggled to maintain a 3:1 ratio, but I think the kids stayed more upbeat. We’re going to try it again at regionals.
They had some other interesting ideas as well. One was that every coach should have a written coaching philosophy. I plan on writing one in the next few weeks. When/If it happens I’ll post here. In any event, I’m rambling; the point of this was mostly to get your thoughts on player motivation. How do you motivate your players? I don’t think many of us are big yellers, but that doesn’t mean that isn’t a decent tactic. Anyone ever get really pissed at their team and have them respond well?