Friday, October 2, 2009

Who is preferred?

In today's society, sports are large part of our lives and what we hear about, watch, participate in, and consume everyday. Sports are considered by many to be the leading most influential aspect of life today. Everywhere we look there are images of athletes, coaches, brands, apparel, and other items on the market that we identify with. There is one aspect of sports that can be said from the professional ranks all the way down to athletes just starting out in their respected sport. This aspect is whether or not athletes prefer to have a male coach or a female coach.
In class we mentioned what type of coach that an athlete would prefer. Male coaches are known to be more harsh and less of a friend and are more vocal; whereas female coaches are known to be more friendly, talkative, less harsh in punishments, and can be considered more of a "friend" figure. I took it upon myself to ask around the campus and find several athletes both varsity, club, and people who played sports in high school, but currently aren't involved with any type of sport. I asked them whether they preferred to have male coach or female coach and what was their rationale for their decision? Surprisingly across the board, every level of athlete that was asked preferred to have a male figure as a coach because of the way people react to a more dominant figure in charge. They mentioned that a male figure is more harsh in their punishment and will make sure that the player won't make that mistake again. With that, they also said women coaches are more open to letting mistakes happen and when they go to correct the mistake they are more positive about it and less harsh with the punishment. This idea of being more of a harsh coach is thought to fallow for more success in the long-run. The idea of competition among the team and threatening playing time will force the athlete to work harder.
I find it interesting that even the female athletes that were asked preferred to have a male coach over a female because some women do not like the idea of having a male figure in their face yelling at them. I figured that women would want a less forceful coach and less demanding, but to my surprise women preferred to have a male coach. In my opinion, not all women coaches are like the typical "friend" type as a coach. For example, Pat Summitt, the all time win's leader in women's college basketball, is known for her harshness and over the top coaching styles. The reason Tennessee basketball has been so successful is because the player's respect her because of her attitude and style of coaching. The same goes for UCONN women's basketball and Indiana basketball back when Bob Knight coached. All three schools had coaches that were very harsh and let you know when you did something wrong. This style of coaching forces players to respect the coach and work hard to make sure things are done correctly. I feel that for the most part, male coaches are preferred over female coaches.