Crossing the Line !

On the TUNNEYSIDE of SPORTS April 15, 2013 #432            Up next…Crossing the Line!

After further review…When does a coach’s behavior cross the line? Or the behavior of anyone in a position of leadership: parent, teacher, counselor? How does one learn “boundaries”? Images of head coach Mike Rice conducting basketball practice at Rutgers University left no doubt his behavior was detestable.

 That practice session took place several months ago and was the cause of closed-door discussions and mild discipline by the university. But recently the video was released and went viral on the internet; if you’re a sports fan you’ve probably seen it. It features Rice violently cursing at his players, throwing basketballs at their heads and feet and being viciously demeaning. All in the name of—get this– “motivating” them to do better. Be aware that in today’s world everything can go viral!

Rice has since been fired by Rutgers University and the athletic director, who had suspended and fined Rice when the behavior was first discovered, has now resigned. Others are calling for the university president to step down. Do such firings help change behavior? Granted, there is no excuse for this type of behavior in coaching, teaching, or parenting. But if you think physical abuse of others is a new motivational tool, you got another think coming. Coaches have for years used physical means to motivate their players, though perhaps not to the extent Rice did. Was it the right thing to do? Only if you believe humiliation should be used as a measurement of success.

Motivation comes from within. Worthy coaches, teachers, or parents inspire others through their words and actions. Walk your talk! As we wrote in “It’s the Will, Not the Skill”: “Excellence is good, exemplary is better”! If your goal is to teach for better performance, then we believe coaching from the “inside-out” is the way to do it. It’s one thing to avoid abhorrent examples such as Rice’s; but better to observe positive models and say “that’s the way I want to do it”.

BTW, to get a running start at this, come and see Joe Ehrmann, author of “InSideOut Coaching” who will be speaking on April 20, 2013 at the Salinas Boys and Girls Club from 8 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. For further information, call Buck Roggeman at 831-402-7288.

Will you follow those who can help you create a positive environment for your teaching?

To contact Jim go to or email him at


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