The Coach Dilemma

The Coach Dilemma

Coaches play one of the most significant roles in an athlete’s career besides the athletes themselves. Therefore, having a great coach can lead athletes to perform their best. So, what makes a great coach great? Athletes may have different preferences individually, as some may prefer a more easygoing coach who will pride them on their achievements. In contrast, others are motivated by strict and demanding coaches. There are still very successful coaches who hold one or another of these values; the most successful maintain a balance of both. 

Lou Piniella, former coach/manager of the New York Yankees, Cincinnati Reds, Seattle Mariners, Tampa Bay Devil Rays, and Chicago Cubs, was known as being aggressive both as a player and a coach. He would often release wrath on players and umpires, leading to multiple ejections and yellow cards. Despite his flaws, he drove his teams to numerous victories, like winning the 1990 World Series Championship with the Reds, leading the Mariners to four postseason appearances in only seven years, and winning two in a row division titles (2007–2008) during his time with the Cubs. He also enforced a strong discipline and work ethic in his coached teams. Athletes under him described his personality as fiery and loud, but he was a very passionate coach and a good guy. The appeal to this coaching style is that the coach motivates the team through discipline, which can create a strong-as-steel type of team. Players never back down and push forward to the very end. 

Pat Summitt, former head coach of Tennessee Volunteers women’s basketball, never had a losing season with her team and led the Volunteers to many victories and championships from 1974-2012. Although she was strict, players coached under her claimed she was selfless and would always care. She would always listen if any athletes faced problems inside and outside the court and were overall a very genuine person. She did make a rule never to complain but always understood if a player was having a hard time. Some athletes perform best with a coach who believes in them and praises them for their excellent performance rather than a harsh coach who uses an athlete’s flaws and fear as motivation. 

As proven in various research, the best type of coach (seen by athlete’s opinions and their performance) is a coach who is a perfect balance of both. Someone who praises athletes for their accomplishments and brings a friendly attitude out on the field, court, or pool, yet they enforce discipline and work ethic onto a team and get fired up during the right moments. These coaches can create excellent team dynamics and lead their teams to multiple victories. These coaches must be created themselves as they must be utterly devoted to the mental and physical state of the team. We are fortunate to have multiple of these coaches on our campus here at LBHS, and they can train our athletes to the best of their abilities.

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Iza Zembruski, Sports Reporter

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