Mike Krzyzewski – emperor coach

 In Coaches, Junior Athletes & Parents, Professional & Olympic Athletes

emporerWhat do you think about that? Interesting use of words, right? Not so much if you think about. In the NY Times article Mike Krzyzewski, the Emperor Coach they have explained the use of coach as emperor and it makes complete sense – to me.

The word bullying tends to turn people off and steer them away from the conversation. It’s like a train wreck: you know it’s happening but you have to turn away…well some turn away while others stand idly by and watch it unfold (an entirely different blog for another time). Regardless the term is harsh (and it should be because it IS what’s happening) and in these coach/athlete situations many people don’t want to know about, even if at some small level it’s happening to them or their kids, until it really happens in a big way and they have to deal with it. Why is this? I can’t tell you how many parent conversations I’ve had where the child didn’t like the coach or they, themselves were unsure about the ‘coaching style’ but didn’t want to pull their child out because of this or that. Sure not all athletes are going to get along with all coaches but there’s a big difference between one and the other. Why wait?

There’s been so much research on ‘bullying’ or ’emporering’. The research affirms that this kind of abuse has ramifications that not only impact an athletes current performance but their entire life. Imagine when this style of coaching is happening in the lives of an 8 year old or even a 14 year old – abuse (like any other abuse) becomes normalized. What happens to kids in these situations? Issues arise that include low self-esteem, fear, anxiety, depression and some become abusive toward others in their lives. What happens to adults that have been coached by abusive coaches? It’s no different than having an abusive parents. The issues I mentioned above continue to grow and some become abusive parents and coaches.

This incident with Coach Krzyzewski is just another example of how the emperor needs new clothes. Regardless of how big or small the incidents of bullying are, they have a huge impact. Besides what and how it was said, I questions why this remark was said at all, immediately after the game and after the shot was already taken? What’s another way he could have approached this?

We know bullying is much about control and in this situation no less so. In my mind it sounds like what Coach Krzyzewski is really saying is this: ‘I’ve told you to never, ever do this, why did you disobey me?’

Isn’t sports hard enough? In my work, I see the (mostly undo) pressure athletes are under. The pressure at all levels is astronomical. Athletes are hard enough on themselves. This doesn’t mean they shouldn’t listen to the coach or grow in their sport partly by learning what they should and shouldn’t be doing but there are kinder, gentler, more efficient ways of accomplishing these tasks that don’t include bullying or acting as emperor.

Why are most emperor’s revered? It’s not usually because they are well liked!

Dr. Michelle

Photo cred: en.wikipedia.org

Full article: http://www.nytimes.com/2016/03/27/sports/ncaabasketball/duke-mike-krzyzewski-ncaa-tournament.html?smprod=nytcore-iphone&smid=nytcore-iphone-share&_r=0

Dr. Michelle Cleere
In her own private practice as an elite performance expert, Dr. Michelle Cleere helps top athletes, musicians, and executives in competitive fields unlock the power of the mind and create the mental toughness to be the best. Dr. Michelle’s extensive academic background, which includes a PhD in Clinical Psychology and a Masters in Sports Psychology, allows her to help clients deal with performance anxiety, gain more confidence, and build resilience. In addition to personal coaching, Dr. Michelle takes on many roles – a best-selling author, athlete, and teacher. Dr. Michelle’s bestseller line, Beating the Demons, helps clients develop practical skills to gain more control over competitive environments and mitigate the interruption in play to overcome intense odds and defeat adversity. As a 15-year USAT Coach, she developed simple and effective tools to mentally train her athletes, and they are used by coaches around the world. She is a professor at John F. Kennedy University where she teacher her students to use the mind as an ally to improve performance.
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