I think that we can all agree that the days of the old school, in-your-face-nearly-anything-goes coaching tactics are done with, or at the very least, coming to an end. Our players, the times, parents, and coaching methods, are all changing.
Last night I was reading an article on a women's basketball program (Memorial University) up in Canada and their head coach Doug Partridge when I came across a statement that made me stop and think. However, before we get to that particular quote, we have to touch on Partridge's coaching style.
During a game over the weekend, Partridge grabbed one of his players by the chin, looked her in the eye and let his temper get the best of him as he attempted to coach her up. The approach made the player upset, as well as his administration, who decided to suspend him for a game.
Asked about his conduct during the game, Partridge responded by explaining that he was not ashamed of his actions, but he was embarrassed.
“It is a different era. It is a different time. And I can continue to be the way I am but, within a period of time, the end of my career would no longer be my choice. At some point in time, someone would say, ‘We’ve had enough.’ I am going to need to adapt."
"One of my best friends always says, ‘You can’t stand over a flower and yell at it, ‘Grow.’ Well, I think it is time for me to stop yelling at the flower.”
That's a great analogy.
Now, back to that sentence that got me thinking. Following Partridge's statement on needing to adapt to the way that today's players respond to coaching, author Joe O'Conner wrote in his piece on the National Post:
"He is going need to stop yelling, and grabbing chins, and get with the modern times — where the methods seem to matter as much as the results."
I had to immediately stop reading and ask myself: Is he right? Are our methods as coaches just as important as the results?
I'll start by saying this: regardless of your success, the days of an administration or community putting up with a coach grabbing a player's face mask to get his point across on the sideline are dwindling...and in a hurry. Right, wrong, or indifferent, society has changed. Blame it on social media, or people/players/parents getting "soft," but that's the new way of the world.
Personally, I would argue that our methods in the coaching profession are more important than the results. I've had the opportunity to coach on some teams that really struggled, as well as teams that were a step away from a state title or a national playoff berth. Through those experiences I really subscribe to the belief that the lessons we instilled as a coaching staff were far more important than our successes, or failures, as a team.
But we live in a results based world, so finding an athletic director that shares that same vision may prove difficult.
In short: Methods>Results, in my opinion.
I know not everyone shares that viewpoint though, so I'm really interested to hear varying opinions on this one from our audience. Do you feel that we've reached an era in coaching where the methods are just as important as the results?