I have had football coaching colleagues ask me about how to be successful as a girls coach as I am a successful football coach who has also found success in girls sports. My number one rule is this.
Do not yell at girls.
I would argue that we could also do well to yell at boys less, but the male psychology is a bit different and that is not focus of this discussion right now.
Do not yell at girls.
By “yelling,” I am referring to the raising of one’s voice accompanied by aggression, anger, frustration, and threats. Yelling does not improve the performance of girls. Yelling at girls does less to motivate and more to instill fear, discouragement, resentment, poor self-image, and lack of confidence in girls.
When coaches yell at girls, they inadvertently teach girls to be fearful of failure. Girls will be the best version of themselves if they are motivated by success, not when they fear of failure. Growth is never comfortable and it requires the athlete to step outside her comfort zone where there is a heightened risk of failure. To fear failure is to stunt growth.
Yelling can also hurt the credibility of coaches with girls. The coach can be perceived as lacking emotional maturity, lacking knowledge, and lacking self-control. Eventually, girls will tune out the yelling and the coach can lose effectiveness.
Yelling at girls, when done by either male or female coaches, but most especially by male coaches, teaches girls that such behavior is acceptable from important people in their lives and in the worst case scenario can lead girls to accept such behavior from their significant other, which can have dangerous ramifications.
To bring out the best in girls, it is important to create a safe environment for girls to flourish. Girls need to know that their coaches have their backs win, lose, or draw. If they know they will be loved and appreciated by their coaches regardless of what happens on the field, they will be free to push themselves to be their very best.
For the Christian coaches out there, like me, this is absolutely just like the eternal victory we won with our belief in Jesus Christ. When you know that your worth is inherent, that your worth is not dictated by any earthly performance, and that God remains loyal to you because you are wonderfully made in His image, you are free to do great things.
Do not yell at girls. That is my first rule to coaching girls.