A Difference between Real Coaches and Dr. Feel Good Coaches
It is good to help kids feel good about their efforts as long as coaches are honest about their actions. I am all for coaches helping youth players feel good about themselves, but there is a difference between that and what I call dr. feel good coaches. Dr. feel good coaches simply go through the motions and tell kids how good they are doing without really recognizing their problems and or doing the necessary things to help them improve. The problem arises when kids get false hope that never leads to in game success. Additionally, kids are happy because they develop a good relationship with the coach and are relieved that the coach is a good guy, not realizing they have little chance of further success. Furthermore, the players’s parents are happy because the coach is a good guy, always praising their child. Once again, the problem is that there is no real substance to what the dr. feel good coaches teach.
Real coaches realize that the feel good part will show up as the child improves, whereas dr. feel good coaches simply tell kids they are doing well, giving them no real chance of eventual improvement. Real coaches know that the feel good part comes when players come through in game action, sooner or later, because of the practice they put in with the coach.
Of course, this does not mean coaches have to be mean to players or criticize them for their actions, but they are honest with players and willing to tell them where they stand in comparison to others and exactly where they need to improve to reach a higher level of play. Dr. feel good coaches never tell it like it is and insist players are doing well, when in reality, players have no chance of real success, at least for very long. Part of being an athlete is overcoming challenges, so coaches should not be afraid to be honest with them.
Most common reasons for Dr. feel good coaches
- They do not know their “stuff,” usually from a lack of experience
- Failure to recognize mistakes even though they have some knowledge of the correct way
- Laziness or complacency to point out mistakes
- Allowing almost right to pass as correct
- They are in it for themselves or for the money and not to help kids
Recognizing Dr. feel good coaches is not Easy
These type coaches do not tell players or their parents what they are doing wrong and insist all is well. Even the greatest players have slight flaws and to pretend kids do not is not being totally honest. Additionally, they give false hope and false praise, which usually leads to the opposites of failure and lost confidence.
Don’t get me wrong, I admire all coaches, paid and volunteer, who give of their time, but they must be careful of getting complacent and believing players are incapable of doing things correctly, or at least better. Of course, it is very difficult to recognize coaches that are only about telling kids they are doing well and meaning it or just saying it. The solution lies in dr. feel good coaches becoming trained properly, along with staying on top of the latest and best coaching techniques and tools . Finally, it is OK to help players develop and build confidence, as long as they are also honest with them.