After reading 8 Signs You’re a Control Freak, I got the impression that the author wanted me to feel badly about my controlling tendencies. But most coaches know that “control freak” is a synonym for coach. In our lives, being a control freak is a good thing!
8 reasons I’m a control freak*
*The italicized sentences are from the article, what follows are my responses.
- You believe that if someone would change one or two things about themselves, you’d be happier. So you try to “help them” change this behavior by pointing it out, usually over and over. And over and over! My philosophy is: if they’re sick of hearing it, they should change it. Clearly, I’m talking about skills and not personal qualities in a player.
- You micromanage others to make them fit your (often unrealistic) expectations. You don’t believe in imperfection and you don’t think anyone else should either. Doesn’t every coach have unrealistic expectations? We expect our teams to only think about our sport when they’re the gym. We expect our players to do things the right way all the time. We may not expect perfection, but we expect our teams to be as close to it as possible.
- You judge others’ behavior as right or wrong and passive-aggressively withhold attention until they fall in line with your expectations. Sitting in silent judgment is a master form of control. This is a major compound sentence! Coaches certainly judge behavior involving the team as right or wrong, it’s our job. I think we’d all agree the “silent treatment” isn’t a great coaching strategy, but this bullet point seems in contrast to the first.
- You offer “constructive criticism” as a veiled attempt to advance your own agenda. As long as by my own agenda, the writer means the best interests of the team, then yep…and it’s not even veiled.
- You change who you are or what you believe so that someone will accept you. Instead of just being yourself, you attempt to incept others by managing their impression of you. Of course we should never misrepresent ourselves or our program to recruits or our current players, that goes without saying. I’ve coached teams who are self-motivated and don’t need me to come down on them, while others need the proverbial kick in the pants. We can’t be the same coach for every team, because every team is different.
- You present worst-case scenarios in an attempt to influence someone away from certain behaviors and toward others. This is also called fear mongering. The last time we won our conference, I pulled the team aside and told them that if we lost one more conference game, we wouldn’t make the tournament, let alone win it. I wanted to scare the pants off of them and I think I did!
- You have a hard time with ambiguity and being OK with not knowing something. The only thing I’m comfortable not knowing about my team is what they do on the weekends when I’m not around. Even then, I’ve made it clear that I need to know when things go sideways so that I can help…or at least be prepared for the fallout.
- You intervene on behalf of people by trying to explain or dismiss their behaviors to others. The way the author wrote that is so negative. Let’s say you’ve got a senior who sets a meeting with you to complain about the freshman…they’re not working hard enough. The next day, one of your freshmen schedules a meeting with you to say that the seniors are being too tough on the team and no one is having fun. Isn’t it our job to manage that situation? Why yes. Yes, it is.
After reading that article, I felt confirmation that what we do is a bit different. I’m a control freak and unashamed!