Doug’s Dugout: Old school vs. new school

January 10, 2019

As time rolls on, change becomes inevitable. Us “old timers” can sit back and watch a team that is supposed to win, watch them underachieve and lose, then share a little snicker while stating, “I know why they didn’t win. No discipline.”

I sometimes have to chuckle when I think of myself being from that “old school” way of life when it comes to teaching, coaching, etc. I know that the approach that I had to work with students all those years centered around discipline - around getting the most out of them that I possibly could.

I was listening to a radio show on ESPN the other day and there was an interview between an NBA analyst and a talk show interviewer.

The talk show host was reminiscing about the good old days when coaches kept their players in line and demanded the best efforts from their players game in and game out. The analyst, speaking quite sternly, stated that coaches can’t do that today because the players flaunt their multi-million-dollar contracts around making way more money each year than the coaches.

I then recently heard a high school coach sternly stating how upset he was with his team because they had played so poorly in a game that they probably should have won. One of the passers-by said, “That might have worked 25 years ago but it will never work today. He has to be nicer to them.”

Some will say, “That coach is preparing his young players for the real world.” But, honestly, what is the real world anymore?

How many people truly expect the very best out of the people around them? The adage of “giving 110%” is long gone.

Now, it turns into a philosophical debate of, “Well, how can they give more than 100%? One hundred percent is the best that you can do.

True. But the idea was that you tried to give above and beyond what you were actually capable of doing. That was how records were broken. That was how upset victories were orchestrated. That was how we sent students out into the world who were ready, willing, and able to be the very best that they could be.

There is no blame to be placed here.

Typically, the older successful coaches still in the business are going to be disciplinarians who will eventually get the very best efforts out of their student-athletes.

But as those coaches retire, there is a trend to hire the youngest coaches possible who are best able to “relate to the athletes.”

There is nothing wrong with the “new school.” There are some young coaches out there who are second to none. They are successful in the competition field and in the classroom.

I applaud and admire the new regime. These are the ones who have still figured out how to motivate their student-athletes to do the very best job that they can possibly do. They still demand perfection.

But they have learned to do it in a more user-friendly way that motivates the students to win out of pride rather than out of fear.

I still firmly believe that discipline is what prepares our youth for life after high school. Whether old school or new school, discipline in life is the key to success.

Doug Phillips is a freelance write for the Schuyler Sun. Reach him via email at SCHsports@lee.net.

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