Yelling and Sensibilities

Practise at America del Sud (thanks Ole for the pic)

On Monday’s practise, I kept asking myself a couple questions: Why do coaches yell? Is there some sort of scientific proof that communicating to players in an elevated tone increases the level of effectiveness? Or have they just trained themselves to yell?

My new coach did a lot of yelling which, for some reason, seemed to always be directed toward me.

“Cinthia! You have a bad habit of catching the ball with one hand. From now on, I want you to use TWO hands, you hear me?!”

“What are you doing standing in the middle of a drill? Stop fooling around and get out of the way!”

And during a 4-on-4 full court game:

“Are you going to shoot EVERY ball you receive? And the rest of you: are you always going to pass HER the ball, just because she rushes to the other end of the court alone?!!”

The funny thing is every single bellowed word that came from his mouth was true and, in the moment, I would nod or even smile. But after practise was over, I felt down; all I could remember were all the mistakes I had made, alongside his resounding voice in my head.

Later that night, I lay face upward in bed, droplets slowly running down my cheeks, getting absorbed when they reached the pillow. I was trying to understand where things had gone wrong.

I felt a familiar haunting feeling about choosing to be on a ‘serious’ team and doubt filled my mind. Would I be able to handle all this yelling three to four times days a week?

I decided to cut off any thought processes or theories used to create reason. Instead, I let that feeling of anguish take over. I let myself really feel everything, even though it was painful and depressing. And then, for a moment, something shifted. It dawned on me: who was I not be yelled at? All that had been pointed out had been the truth. Maybe exactly what I needed was a bit of shaking up. I’d been so focused on this need to impress everyone that I’d forgot to play basketball…in a team! It wasn’t just about me now, and I realized that I’d forgotten my deeper intention about joining a higher club: to learn. In order to learn, I had to open my mind, not close it.

In the morning, I was still feeling a little bit hurt, but I realized that if I wanted to be on a team, I’d have to get used to some big changes, especially with me. They might be painful but in the end, it might be exactly what I need.

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