Bench Bosses: Who can produce?

According to this website , there are nearly 36,000,000 young american kids ages 5-18 who are playing a competitive sport. As I’m sure that the majority of students in our SIOW class have at one point in their lives. Personally, I played a competitive sport for 16 years as an ice hockey player. Having played in many different leagues and travel teams, mini-mite (youth) through Junior ‘A’, I have experienced playing for many different coaches. I recognize that different coaches have their own little eccentricities that make them unique to their players, but for now, I would like to focus on two of the more popular styles of coaching. Styles often referred to as the “player’s coach” or the “yeller”. I want to know which style has a stronger correlation to winning.

The player’s coach, typically is seen more as a nice easy going coach. Someone who can relate to their players and can be capable of developing a friendly relationship with them. They aren’t known for screaming at players when mistakes are made, but do like to make sure a player knows when they performed well. That being said, the player’s coach will generally give a lot more positive, rather than negative feedback. When mistakes are made, or a player is having a difficult time grasping a certain aspect of their respective game, the player’s coach will take an encouragement approach to motivating  the player’s through their issues. Their pregame and post game talks to the team won’t involve a red face accompanied by protruding facial veins.

Brainerd Warriors' head coach Ron Stolski chats with defensive back Trevor Dukowitz and tells him not to get discouraged, that the DB position requires resiliency, and that he has "the stuff to be a good player and leader."


Through my experience, I have had many nice guy coaches during my hockey career. I had developed more of a friendly relationship with them and still keep in touch to this day. In a respectful way, us players would often joke around and act as if the coach was just another guy on the team. Even our parents developed friendly relationships with the coaches. Post games I had coaches who would stand in the lobby with the parents and talk about the game while waiting on us players to come out of the locker room.

On the hand, there is the yeller. The yeller is not a coach you want to mess up in front of. And when you do, he/she will let you know right away. Some will get in your face and belt out how poor that mistake was with a booming loud voice. For example, a 2009 article in Yahoo Sports by MJD, describes how at the time, then San Francisco 49ers head coach Mike Singletary, once yelled at wide receiver Michael Crabtree for working out while still considered to be injured by the 49ers organization. The article states that coach Singletary had the first round draft pick almost to the point of tears over the situation.


I will admit to have more experience with player’s coaches than yellers, but yet, I have had a few yellers. One word that comes to my mind is intimidation. Around my teammates, I used to pretend that I was tough and that these guys couldn’t intimidate me. That wasn’t the case… There were a few instances where I missed a pass or shot the puck over the net where I was a little scared and anticipated some vocal criticism on my way to the bench.

I found a video on YouTube that featured an episode of the show FSN Sport Science. This episode, labeled episode 5, is meant to find out which coaching style is more effective. The two styles they are comparing are in other words, the player’s coach and the yeller. To find out, the team at FSN Sport Science had a basketball player shoot 10 free throws with an encouraging coach to his side and 10 more free throws with a yelling coach to his side. As you will see, the results actually proved that when being yelled at, the basketball player actually drained more shots.

In conclusion, I do believe there is a correlation between a coach’s style and the results of games. Otherwise, what would be the point of even having a coach on the sidelines. Again, referencing my personal experience, I have actually developed more from having the yelling coach. But that is just me, athletes are different. Just because one responds better to an authoritarian approach, doesn’t mean every athlete will. Making the case that yellers will win more than player’s coaches or vice versa, extremely hard to prove. I will add that I think it’s a positive thing that we have a variety of coaching styles. This blog has actually made me also question whether there is reverse causation involved with coaching styles. What I mean is, how much correlation is there between the outcome of the game, and a coach’s attitude post win or loss?


Yahoo Sports

YouTube FSN Sport Science

Statistic Brain

Media references:

Player’s coach pic I used

Yelling coach pic I used







2 thoughts on “Bench Bosses: Who can produce?

  1. Thomas Tatem Moore


    This is a very well written article that appealed to me as a person who participated in team sports from the ages of 4-18. While I agree with the fact that the type of coach does not have a correlation to the end result of the game, I feel the quality of coach does. Like you, I felt like I performed better and responded better to a yelling coach as opposed to a more passive one. I felt more motivated by a yelling one, and responded better probably due to more authority exerted by a yelling one, and somewhat out of fear of being yelled at again. Here is an article that explains tips coaches can use to get their athletes to perform at peak performance.

  2. zvk5072

    I agree, there is definitely a correlation between players on a team with a strict vs. lenient coach. Usually a coach is lenient if his team is good enough where he can act that way. I found an interesting article from a college newspaper about the average correlation of success between the different coaching styles: Really cool article that I wish had thought of writing about. Good stuff.

Leave a Reply