According to authors Don Shula and Ken Blanchard in their book “Everyone’s A Coach,” there are four main ways to respond to nearly every situation involving the actions of others: (For those of you too young to remember Don Shula used to coach the Miami Dolphins where they appeared in six Super Bowls and won two of them.
Shula also holds the NFL record for most career wins by a coach and coached the Dolphins to the only perfect season in the history of the NFL.)
Praise. What gets praised gets done! It’s been said that some extrinsic rewards have little value to some people but those same people will crawl a mile over broken glass in order to hear just one sincere compliment.
Redirection. We in the profession call this “coaching” – all the instruction, encouragement, reasoning, etc. given with the goal of getting the athlete or team to change or improve performance.
Reprimand. While redirection is basketball related, reprimands are behavior related. Lack of effort, refusing to follow directions, and bad attitudes would all call for a reprimand.
Silence. This is a common response when a coach becomes frustrated but unfortunately it is usually interpreted by the players as acceptance. For example, If one of my role players continues to take bad shots and I don’t say anything, he will think that I am fine with his shot selection. When it comes to behavior issues, silence can be interpreted as apathy.
All four of these responses are necessary at various times, but coaches should make a conscious effort to use Praise and Redirection much more than Reprimand and Silence.