We posed that question to Andrea Becker, a professor of sports psychology at Cal State Fullerton who is currently on an extended sabbatical and working as an assistant coach for the UCLA men’s volleyball team and consulting for the USA men’s national team. She had an interesting take. She said there’s an important distinction to be made between “positive” and “praise” and that coaches need to be mindful of that when developing their style. Here’s why:
You’ve surely heard that you’ll be a more effective coach if you maintain a positive demeanor in the gym. But you may have asked yourself this: Isn’t being perpetually positive sending a message that it’s all good all the time when, in fact, it’s not always all good? If your players are screwing up, what’s wrong with barking in their faces and letting them know that they need to kick it up a notch?