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College of Physical Activity
and Sport Sciences

CPASS courtyard view


10 Apr

With the recent firing of Rutgers University basketball coach Mike Rice in the sports spotlight, everyone is thinking it. Are mean coaches effective?

Discovery News released a psychology article related to this topic on April 4. Kristin Dieffenbach, assistant professor of athletic coaching education at CPASS, was quoted in the article for her knowledge on the issue.

“If someone yells at you, it creates a culture of fear or anxiety to please,” said Dieffenbach, who also coaches cyclists and long-distance runners. “But in the long term it’s not appropriate for development of elite athletes. A culture of fear inhibits athletes and they will hold back their best performance for fear of giving a bad performance. If you are afraid of getting yelled at or kicked in the pants, you’re not committed 100 percent in your performance,” said Dieffenbach.

Discovery News describes how abusive coaching techniques are gradually diminishing. Coaches are starting to realize that violent aggression can be ineffective, and with the media highlighting almost everything they do, they are more careful to avoid questionable behavior.