Lets play the Shame Game

Eleanor Noble, Sports Editor

As youth sports become increasingly competitive, coaching styles intensify with them. Make a mistake on the field and a supportive “Thats okay, try again!” is not what you’re going to get. Harsh tactics often get results, but is that how young players should believe how success is achieved?

My coach is someone I look up to. They’re knowledgeable and invested in something I’m passionate which is always impressive. When they say I’ve messed up of course I’ll work harder to improve. After awhile you learn to accept the humiliation that comes along with the sharp criticism, and if you can’t you’re taking things “too personally”.

I have nothing against constructive criticism and I strongly believe that only positive feedback isn’t usually helpful. There are many easy ways to foster a competitive yet caring and supportive team environment. Many coaches are able to achieve this, but more often than not scaring players into submission makes for an easy and quick path to victory.

When coaches get the win they were looking for they break out the “all that work and all that yelling payed off!” They justify the shouting and the pouting as an obviously effective tool. Players learn to think that being yelled at, shamed, and sometimes verbally abused is normal and healthy. We learn to think that being humiliated and humiliating others is how we get what we want. We learn that the ends justify the means.

Is this a healthy mindset to be conditioned into? All I know is that in the future I don’t want my relationships built on shaming others and passively accepting that shame.