All athletes throughout their career have had a coach or two with different communication skills. Some like to yell, some like to curse, and some are just plain quiet. In the end it is the coaches who are able to communicate without words that are the best communicators. According to Vealey, only a small percentage of communication is verbal. The rest of communication comes from facial expressions, body language, and the tone of the coaches voice. It is easy for coaches to get caught up in the heat of the moment and loose their cool. These emotions the coach is portraying to the athletes and the crowd can be detrimental to keeping positive communication.
Depending on what level the coach is at may also determine how well the coach can get their points across. At a youth sport level of coaching, young athletes tend to respect the coach, and rarely see extreme emotions. As the athletes mature and become more independent, athletes migrate towards their own ideas and philosophies. This where coaches can start to loose their cool. Vealey simply say's, "Research has shown that different types of communication from coaches can influence athletes' self-esteem, self-confidence, intrinsic motivation, and performance anxiety". It is up to the coaches to make sure their athletes are feeling comfortable, so they can perform well. It also is important to create an environment that keeps the athletes safe, and build more confidence.
There are many examples of coaches who are or were quite successful at a high level of coaching, but not necessarily the best communicators. The number one individual that I think of is Bobby Night. With all his success and all the yelling, there isn't another coach that could pose fear into the athletes than Mr. Night. The question I ask is, "was his style of communication worth the toxic environment created by this atmosphere?"
This coaching style and his communication skills works far some, but not for most. On a personal note the late "great" Joel Swisher who coached college football at every level
Was more of a passive leader. He didn't need to yell in order for us athletes to get ready at 5 am to hit the weights. Instead he used great body language. There was this certain look on coach Swishers face that he made, and if it didn't change from his face before breakfast, we as a collective would be punished through conditioning in evening at practice. He also had a tone in his voice when he was pleased that sounded almost raspy at times.
Although both coaches are great examples of differences in communication skills in the coaching arena, the coaches I respected the most and listened to the most were the one's with best communication skills....
"Come early, stay late, and work hard in between" Joel Swisher
Vealey, R. (2005). Coaching for the Inner Edge. Morgantown, VW: Fitness Information Technologies.