Spike TV’s new reality show Coaching Bad takes us behind the scenes into the gritty underbelly of children’s athletics to counsel angry coaches. Think of it as the Dance Moms of kid sports. Ray Lewis, former Ravens linebacker, plays host alongside anger management specialist Dr. Christian Conte as they aim to rehabilitate bad coaches that fly off of the handle and treat their players (and even parents) badly.
If you’ve had a child involved in competitive athletics, you have no doubt seen one of these angry coaches. Most of them get into coaching to promote their own children and can be ruthless in how they push the players, parents, opposing coaches, and umpires. On the first episode, Coaching Bad brings together eight youth coaches that are aggressive on and off the playing field.
While the smothering mothers on Dance Moms generally stick to verbally assaulting the dance instructors and other moms, these angry coaches lash out at everyone. They scream and drop f-bombs at even the youngest of kids and have anger issues so intense some have been fired, most have been sanctioned, and one faced an arrest for his on-field antics.
Producers chose a mix of male and female coaches that instruct youth Pop Warner football, volleyball, speed, track and field, weight lifting, baseball and hockey; and while we’ve all seen professional coaches rage on the sidelines of NFL, NBA and MLB games, that’s usually at a distance. It’s quite another thing to see your child’s coach up close and personal ranting and raving over something as silly as recent bat rule changes or new contact limitations on little league football teams.
Some may say coach aggression is the name of the sports game, but there’s an anger epidemic at youth sporting events that is not benefitting for anyone. What’s worse is that aggressive coaches seem to attract similarly aggressive parents to create a perfect storm of bad behavior, which teaches youth players to either hate sports, fear adults or to act out inappropriately themselves.
What makes Coaching Bad so compelling to watch is that, unlike the Real Housewives or The Bachelor reality shows, an aggressive coach is something most of us have experienced first-hand. The show puts the angry men and women in a house together to undergo anger management therapy while facing challenges designed to bring out their worst and teach them to play nicer with others.
The first challenge had the coaches play a softball game where umpires made intentional bad calls and hecklers antagonized them. Ray Lewis and Dr. Conte watched their antics to assess the trigger points that drove each participant to lash out. The goal of the show is to rehab these coaches, several of which are on the verge of losing their families because of their over-the-top behavior.
Lewis and Dr. Conte peel back the layers to try and help these men and women figure out what’s driving their outrage and how to change from the core out. It will be interesting to see if the coaches are coachable themselves and will do the work to be better. If you’ve got an angry coach in your life, I highly recommend you put this show on their DVR. Check out Coaching Bad on Spike TV, Sunday nights at 10 pm, 9 pm Central.
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