Responding Under Pressure

We’ve all had one – a coach who can’t see a single thing you do right but can see everything wrong with what you do. 

These are the coaches that test you to your limits, they make you question whether it’s even worth it to play the game any more. You’re counting down the days until you don’t need to see them ever again, and who can blame you? 

What if we told you instead of giving that coach certain hand gestures on the last day of practice, you should be shaking their hand instead? No, we’re not crazy, we just have the gift of hindsight.

When a coach seemingly hates you, more often than not, they really don’t. They may get annoyed by your off-the-field antics, but if they really hated you, they’d have kicked you off of the team before the season even started.

Coaches have a view on us that we rarely see ourselves and when they’re pushing our buttons, they’re generally testing to see what we’re made of. You should never blow up on a coach if they’re needling you, it should push you to go harder and take out your aggression on the field (legally). Run that much faster, jump that much higher, hit that much harder. A lot of the time, coaches can see your potential, and they can also see your personality. They’ve made the decision internally that the way to get you to work harder is to get you angry.

This might not be the right way to work with you, but instead of pouting and letting the coach win, have a one-on-one conversation and let them know that this isn’t the way to motivate you, they’ll respect you a lot more than if you talk trash behind their backs.

A coach might also think that this is the best way to prepare you for getting out on the field. Maybe you do have a fiery personality. Other teams will pick up on that just from watching your film and will target you to try and get you kicked out of a game.

Coaches see all different types of players come through their locker room doors and they can pinpoint a hothead. Hotheads are good if their energy can be honed in, but if they get babied during practice by their coaches, their outlets will be on the other team. If you can learn to channel your energy into productive outlets on the field, the sky’s the limit. Your coach is simply trying to help you do that.

Now we’re not saying that some coaches don’t have vendettas, but a majority of the time, the coach is using a tactic. They don’t know whether it was the right or wrong decision when they start off in that direction, and they won’t change their course unless you step in.

Coaches are people too, and they will be receptive to you if you respectfully talk to them about their reasoning for going after you. Most of the time, you’ll find that they’re doing it for what they think are good reasons. If you ask them to lay off, they will, maybe not entirely, but they’ll at least notice if you’re getting pushed to the edge.

Playing sports isn’t just about having a good time, unfortunately, it’s about responding under pressure. Whether that’s scoring in the waning seconds of a game or keeping a hot temper in check so you don’t start to cost your team penalties in pivotal moments, it’s up to you how you respond to outside influences.