Coaches / Managers - motivate or rule by fear?

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Coaches / Managers - motivate or rule by fear?

Post  Thomas Clarke on Tue Aug 13, 2013 11:37 am

bald eagle wrote: I find Americian football coaches rule by fear overall, i am not sports science student but i do research shitloads of coaches/journals/books to get a greater insight to what makes these people tick & as a (possibly unfair) generalisation i find these much loved US coaches to be  nothing but dinosaurs & borderline bullies. There is no arguing with Lombardis record, it is great but with coaches of a byegone era i am reminded of what a former manager used to say to us, "the older i get, the better i was".

I look at coaches with 2 questions in mind, 1) would i like to be that type of coach & 2) would i like to be coached by this person. I'm afraid that the majority of Americian Football coaches get a no to both questions (except Eric Taylor!). Coaches i admire are ones in the mould of Johnny Worsfold, i could listen to that man speak about coaching & training methods & approaches all day long.

I suppose who we hold in high regard as great coaches are a very personal choice, i personally want to play for a coach/manager who makes me feel at ease on the training ground & playing field, not a barking lunatic who makes you play with fear & frustration. I have played under people like that and have hated every second of it.
I thought this was a really interesting post, BE, and well worth a thread of its own.

I've noticed that a lot in American Football.  Ex-coaches working in the media are still always referred to as 'Coach x' by reporters, players and colleagues.  These guys are placed on such a pedestal, and they are rarely questioned.  

Fear is definitely a big part of the motivational techniques for many of them, but some seem to be loved despite this.  Bill Parcels recently entered the Hall of Fame, and although he was a loud, confrontational coach, his ex players seem to have real time for him.  Similarly Jimmy Johnson, Don Shula, Bear Bryant and many others.  

I wouldn't necessarily say that this is solely an american occurrence.  Alex Ferguson and Brian Clough, probabaly the 2 greatest British soccer managers of all time, both ruled through fear, while Clough could easily be described as a lunatic.  Closer to home, was Ger Loughnane any different to Lombardi?  Kevin Heffernan was never loved by his Dublin teams, but he had their complete respect.

I suppose the sporting world now is different than it was in the days of Vince Lombardi.  In all sports, elite athletes are now incredibly wealthy and professionally advised, and the bullying coach doesn't have anything like the same power.  We saw it even with Ferguson when, following his spat with Wayne Rooney, he had to eat humble pie and give the striker a huge pay rise to keep him at the club.  Perhaps the day of the bully has gone or, at least, his reigns will be much briefer.
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Re: Coaches / Managers - motivate or rule by fear?

Post  Thomas Clarke on Tue Aug 13, 2013 11:45 am

Just on Jimmy Johnson, I love this excerpt from the talk he gave at his old college (Miami) - to me, it makes a lot of sense, and shows how essential is is for an athlete to be in top physical shape. It also shows the enthusiasm that he had for the game ('I can't wait til x gets here'). Johnson was a top player, top college coach and took the Dallas Cowboys from a 1-15 record to Superbowl champions within 2 years of joining.

http://www.nfl.com/videos/a-football-life/0ap2000000090798/Jimmy-Johnson-A-Football-Life-sneak-peek

(Talk to the young Miami Hurricanes starts at 2.25min.)
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Re: Coaches / Managers - motivate or rule by fear?

Post  bald eagle on Wed Aug 14, 2013 7:47 am

It's funny because Parcells as who was mainly in my mind when writing that post, it's also funny that Parcells has also been credited with inspiring the greatest number of former players into coaching.

Ferguson i feel was far from a firebrand bully, it's very well known that he had a number of faces for the various characters he had to manage, Clough was a great manager but not the best people person, possibly the closest to what i would call a ruler by fear. He was awful to Justin Fashnu when he came out as gay, Lombardi was more tolerant of gay players in an earlier era (perhaps because his brother was gay).

The approach to GAA players has to be looked at differently due to the lack of payment, it takes a special kind of cat to get players who are not beng paid to put in the level of commitment that that Clare team did under Loughnane, they bought into everything he wanted them to do amd made some big scrafices. I will always admire him for that.

I am a looker at the positives, my managerial style is to try and be positive to the players during sessions & match talks as i find this works best. I was managing a camogie team once that were playing awful so at half time i flipped out and beasted them, 2nd half they played with fear & got hammered by a side they beat by 20+ points in the championship later that season! It was my fault, wrong approach for the type of players! I find the players i manage & coach like my style & when sent out to battle would run through walls for me, don't get me wrong, i will tell it like it is when the need is there but a player knows when he fs up and doesn't need me beasting him about it! I hated that as a player as i have previously said and i am always looking at coaches & managers from all manner of codes for ideas etc. I do always find myself drawn to coaches like Johnny Worsfold for their approach & methods, i suppose its because thats the type of manager/coach i want to be. The only thing i mainly look to Parcells, Lombardi et al for are their soundbites and quotes.

Rule by fear never worked for me, i've been toe to toe with these types of knobs on the training ground, as i have said, i am the first person that knows when i make a mistake on the pitch, i don't need some jumped up underachiever screaming to me what i have just done!

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Re: Coaches / Managers - motivate or rule by fear?

Post  Thomas Clarke on Wed Aug 14, 2013 11:57 am

I don't know, I think that Fergie was every inch the bully in his younger days. The hairdryer rants only have effect if people are actually afraid of you, and the incident with Beckham and the boot is a good example of what went on in the dressing room. If he mellowed in later years it was probably due to the growing power of players/agents, and a realisation that the business side of football meant that players were more valuable that any manager.

Clough was not a nice person, and if people liked him it was because he seemed quirky/odd and was a footballing genius.

I didn't realise that about Lombardi and his brother. Acceptance of gay players is still a massive issue in american sports, and no current NFL player has ever 'come out'. If you look at the comments from players, while a lot would be welcoming, there are many others who are vehemently opposed to having gay teammates. For a country that is so progressive in many ways, it is old-testamently-backward in others.

As regards your own style of motivation, the reality is that there is no 'one size fits all' approach. People are different. They have different needs. As a general rule, though, I agree that a culture of fear is rarely productive, certainly in the 21st century. Shouting and bullying may achieve short term results, but it is unlikely to foster an environment for progress over time.

Even looking at the NFL, I wonder how many of the old style, ranting coaches are left. There are some very tough men, but, with the odd exception, they come across as disciplinarians rather than bullies. But in general, there is a lot more reverence given to coaches in the US than in Ireland or UK.
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Re: Coaches / Managers - motivate or rule by fear?

Post  bald eagle on Wed Aug 14, 2013 12:26 pm

That is what we will agree on, you have to be different and i can kick an arxe or two when needed, however what baffles me is how these American football coaches are held in such high regard!  Lombardis achievements and the time that has passed since his coaching and death means that he is looked at with rose tinted glasses, in any footage i have seen of him he was a ruler by fear, a barker, as is Parcells.  The yanks would have you believe that they are the greatest at everything and it always surprises me how people actually fall for it.  

No matter if you like Clough or not, his achievements with Derby County & Nottingham Forest in taking them from the old Division 2 to Division 1 Champions to European Champions in Forests case is a relatively short space of time marks him & Peter Taylor as being one of the best ever managerial teams, regardless of sport!  They would have won the European Cup with Derby had it not been for an extremely controversial defeat to Juve in the Semi-Final, in what is still reported as a corrupt result.

This brings on the next discussion point, who do we feel is the greatest manager/coach/managerial team across the sports?  Not that would open up a whole world of discussion eh?

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Re: Coaches / Managers - motivate or rule by fear?

Post  Thomas Clarke on Wed Aug 14, 2013 12:58 pm

bald eagle wrote: This brings on the next discussion point, who do we feel is the greatest manager/coach/managerial team across the sports?  Not that would open up a whole world of discussion eh?
Colin Montgomerie in the 2010 Ryder Cup?! I doubt he'd disagree!

Very tough to judge. You'd nearly need to agree the best from all the various individual sports (tough enough to do), and then try and decide between them.
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Re: Coaches / Managers - motivate or rule by fear?

Post  The Puke on Wed Aug 14, 2013 1:43 pm

Thomas Clarke wrote:
bald eagle wrote: This brings on the next discussion point, who do we feel is the greatest manager/coach/managerial team across the sports?  Not that would open up a whole world of discussion eh?
Colin Montgomerie in the 2010 Ryder Cup?!  I doubt he'd disagree!

Very tough to judge.  You'd nearly need to agree the best from all the various individual sports (tough enough to do), and then try and decide between them.

Ger Loughnane
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Re: Coaches / Managers - motivate or rule by fear?

Post  Boxtyeater on Wed Aug 14, 2013 9:01 pm

The Puke wrote:
Ger Loughnane
Is that a "ruled by fear" vote for Ger then....

Well done today on the betting issue BTW. I'll be lending my support later in the week as matters unfold.
Limerick by 1-3 though. But then again, ye never feared Limerick.....sighs..
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Re: Coaches / Managers - motivate or rule by fear?

Post  The Puke on Thu Aug 15, 2013 8:17 am

Boxtyeater wrote:
The Puke wrote:
Ger Loughnane
Is that a "ruled by fear" vote for Ger then....

Well done today on the betting issue BTW. I'll be lending my support later in the week as matters unfold.
Limerick by 1-3 though. But then again, ye never feared Limerick.....sighs..
The townies fairly ran for the hills alright.
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