Is being a "tough" or a "soft" coach a good or a bad thing?

Whether you yourself are a coach, or you’re looking for a coach that’s the right fit for you, eventually you’ll come across the question — is a tough or a soft coach better?

Tough coaches are principle driven. They have their values and they stick to them, regardless of whether an athlete is happy or struggling. The game, the victory, matters — not the player.

Soft coaches are more people oriented. They’re flexible on their values, because they want what’s best for their players, even if that means losing a game or match, or making a little less money. 

Now, don’t make the mistake of thinking that playing for a tough coach won’t be enjoyable. Many athletes love that tough coaches will help them get to success, they always know what to expect from a tough coach and they can grow and increase under their guidance. Tough coaches are difficult to play for, but everyone knows that the tough coach will get them to the victory, and so they’re worth following for that reason.

But, if your end goal is to just have a great time while playing on an intramural team, and you don’t necessarily care about making it to the regional finals, then perhaps a tough coach isn’t for you. A soft coach is happy as long as everyone tried their best. For a tough coach, sometimes (maybe even oftentimes), your best won’t be good enough.

Of course, everyone has their own opinion on which type of coaching is best.

Tough coaches are known for creating players that can deal with struggles and honest criticism and adjust their game accordingly. Some feel that this type of coaching is best, because the tough coach results in a mentally tough individual, both on and off the field.

Others take the stance that soft coaching results in more dedicated athletes, because those athletes are not only dedicated to their sport and winning, they’re also dedicated to the coach themselves. When the coach makes it clear that they care for the individual athlete personally, then the individual athletes care personally for the coach. But, the naysayers feel that soft coaches don’t command enough respect.

Not everyone will probably ever agree on which style of coaching is better, but if the athlete responds well to the coach, then you have a recipe for success — regardless of how soft or hard the leadership actually is. 

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