Yelling at kids playing sports

There was a guy at The Kid’s last track meet. We called him Yellow Screamer Guy, because he was dressed in yellow and walked up and down the length of the straight, yelling at runners.

It didn’t matter where they were on the track. Opposite side? Still yelling.

I made a comment that years of yelling at football on TV had prepared him for this.

But really—where is the line?

Many (most?) kids need prompting to work their hardest. (That is not limited to kids.)

Do they need to work their hardest? After experiencing a season of track, I’d say that if you’re not going to work hard, don’t bother doing it.

(I don’t think that about all things—or even most things—and wrote about that here.)

But at the end of the day, they’re kids.

Also at the end of the day, it’s just a race. (Or a game, when applied to most of the not-racing competitive athletics people do.)

I vacillate between “I know I work better at physical tasks when I have someone pushing me, and that was true of me as a kid, too” and “Sheesh! It’s children running races! Calm down!”

(There’s also the facet of judgement on my part. I don’t know his story or the kids’ stories.)

Most of us need some external motivation or pushing to get us to work at our peak and stay there.

Does the yelling make it high pressure? Or just improve short-term performance? (Or neither? Or both? Or some other things entirely?) And does the content of the yelling matter?

As evidenced by the questions, I don’t have any solid resting place in all this—still just thinking.

Either way, it’s probably a good idea to keep yourself in check enough not to be screaming at children who are out of earshot anyway. (Or not children. The pros can’t hear you, either, nor can anyone on TV.)

And that was my resting place, until I remembered a conversation I had with a friend the other day about cultural differences in conversation style. Is my judgment of Yellow Screamer Guy a black/white issue? Completely could be.

So many facets at play.

What do you think?

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