Should Squash Coaches Say “Fcuk” to Their Athletes?

fcukOk – a couple of things.

First, obviously we do not  mean Fcuk, but the F-Word – or F**K as it is often referred to.

Second, watch this video of U.S. coaching icon Bobby Knight (currently a revered ESPN commentator) coaching up his men’s basketball team at half-time:

The showing of this video is how I introduced the topic of coaching to the 20 students of my ESS110: Introduction to Coaching course at Smith College.  One of the main purposes of my course is to get students to learn how to critically reflect on their sport experiences – which may lead them to pursue coaching either full or part-time. 

I showed the Bobby Knight video and asked my students the question:  What do you think of Bobby’s coaching intervention.  You would think that a group of females at America’s #1 Women’s College would express 100% displeasure with his coaching style – but read their comments here.  You can see that while many disapprove, others condone the “tactical” use of swearing – mostly to manipulate arousal or activation.

After getting the students to express their “off the top of their head” opinion, I introduce the idea of the importance of developing a coaching philosophy and having a “Coaching Code of Conduct” in order to help guide them through the various ethical situations they will encounter in their coaching.

In fact, I point out that their coaching philosophy will impact almost every dimension of their coaching including technique:  “Shall I change my athlete’s technique on Wednesday knowing their performance will drop (loss of automaticity) in Saturday’s match” – “or shall I not make the correction (hindering their future improvement)?”

I helped organize, present and moderate the WSF Coaching Conference at the 1998 Jr. Men’s World’s in Princeton (along with Bob Callahan & Gail Ramsay), and one of our coaching workshops was “Between Game Coaching”.  We had the four coaches of the Individual Championship Semi-Finalists present what they said to their athletes between games (we gave the participant-coaches a chance to watch the video and then only 90 seconds to come up with their coaching advice).  During the wrap-up one of the four coaches talked about how he spat a mouthful of water into his athlete’s face in order to wake him up and get his game back on track – acceptable or not?

Should a squash coach swear at or in the presence of their athletes?  Not according to the Tottenham Hotspurs  Ladies Footbal Club (see #12) – what does your Code of Ethics or Conduct say about the issue?

We will let Billy have the last word in his own defence: 

Application for Squash Coaches:

  1. Adopt or develop a Coaching Code of Conduct to help guide your actions in ethical situations.
  2. Set aside some time to critically reflect on your coaching behaviors.
  3. The most famous coaches are not always the best role models (although swearing is not necessarily bad🙂

One Response to Should Squash Coaches Say “Fcuk” to Their Athletes?

  1. William Davis says:

    Ok Ok…

    Ggoli denton ronag

    Now that’s G.


    The pullups aren’t for the back or biceps. They’re actually to produce great loads for the muscles of the forearm.

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