FanPost

Todd Haley and sport psychology


I really loved Paddy's "Damn Todd Haley" post (especially the ending:  "kiss my ass").  But in the comments there was that usual complaining about how Haley is a mean man and yells too much.  This was way too long to post there, so here it is.

I used to coach sports and I used to teach a class on sport psychology, so allow me to defend Haley's intensity with a little bit of information about arousal.  First of all I am not talking about sexual arousal, thought that would be fun to talk about.  In sport psych, "arousal" refers to a person's readiness to perform physically in competition.  Sorry to disappoint.

According to arousal theory, increased levels of arousal lead to greater performance in competition and there is an optimal level or arousal that equates optimal performance*.  The level of arousal needed to compete at the highest level depends on the intensity level of the sport.  Football is a very physically intense game so it requires a very high level of physical arousal to achieve optimal performance.  Conversely, playing a game of golf does not require the same level of arousal to achieve ultimate performance.  

This is why in warm-ups you will see football players butt heads or slap each other around -- they get to the place they need to be in order to perform at the highest level.  And, yes, this is why coaches will yell at players.  You know what happens when you get yelled at?  It affects the body, it causes your body to release adrenalin which leads to a higher level of arousal which leads to greater performance.  It induces fight or flight syndrome.  

Coaches yell.  They have for centuries and it turns out there is a scientifically provable positive on-field result from it.

Do people not watch other sports?  Or other football coaches?  I am not sure how people how arrive at  this place of delusion where they think Todd Haley is the only coach (or supervisor, for that matter) who yells.  

I went to Chiefs training camp in River Falls back in the early 90s and heard Al Saunders call a player a "son of a fuck" loud enough everybody in the stand could hear it.  First of all, I'm not sure I know what a son of a fuck even is.  Second, he yelled.  He swore.  In public.  Loud enough spectators could hear it.  Third, does anybody really want to debate Al Saunders' value as a football coach?

When Marty coached the Redskins for a season, the players bitched that he was way too intense with them.  Anybody want to argue Marty's value as a football coach?  Also, Dan Snyder fired Marty so he could hire Steve Spurrier.  Dan Snyder is the stupidest man in the NFL.

Anybody remember Hal MacRae's locker room tirade?  If I remember correctly he invented swear words and threw a telephone.  Anybody remember that right after that incident the Royals went on the longest winning streak in franchise history?  And of course the Royals did one of the long line of recent stupid decisions by firing MacRae because he wasn't liked by the fans.  

One of the coaches I used to work with would tell players to worry if he stopped yelling at them.  He said if he stopped yelling it meant he had given up on them and wasn't going to waste the energy on them.  By yelling he was showing that he cared about them being the best they could be.

Coaches yell.  Get used to it, folks.  

*There is also a drop off.  If an athlete is overly aroused, performance decreases.  Coaches and players must be wary of this.  And I think Haley has shown he will turn the dial down when he needs to and take the team bowling.

This is a FanPost and does not necessarily reflect the views of Arrowhead Pride's writers or editors. It does reflect the views of this particular fan though, which is as important as the views of Arrowhead Pride writers or editors.

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