BAD coaches can KILL player motivation. Here's how.
Here's a scenario, the coach is a "tough as nails" type of coach who's an occasional "yeller/screamer" and you might think, "good"...the players will be held accountable.
In behavioral psychology - there is a term called Operant Conditioning.
It's a known fact that if a behavior leads to the removal of a negative stimulus, that behavior increases. In other words - if a player is forced to bear the brunt of constant negative reinforcement...
...the common response is to avoid the behavior that caused the negative reinforcement in the first place.
Again - you might think "good, they'll try harder next time, and rise to the occasion".
Again - wrong.
In other words, the instinct is to avoid a negative response by shutting down. The pressure to perform. The Anxiety over stats and the preoccupation with the past is the more likely result.
In other words - you get a player who underachieves.
What A Good Baseball Coach Looks Like
IMPORTANT: This doesn't mean players shouldn't be pushed. Iron sharpens iron and pressure turns coal into diamonds...
...however, it seems constructive-criticism is only as effective as the foundation it's built on.
If it's not predicated on a sense of trust and good-will, it's likely that criticism will create players who will naturally avoid the behaviors that lead to athletes who develop good make-up.
A good coach - builds the player UP, breaks them DOWN, and "assists" in building them BACK UP.
On the flip-side, a coach who cares but feels you need to be benched as a way to reinforce the level of expectations they have for you is simply doing their job.
Understand: There is a big difference between wielding constructive criticism, yelling, and benching as a form of positive or negative reinforcement.
How can you tell?
Simple - the player can recite the team's mission, just as well as the coach can.
In closing, behind every good ballplayer is a coach, parent or instructor who helped them learn how to play the game the right way.
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