Player Praise and Discipline:
One way to improve motivation and attitude of players is to recognize their positive contributions and their good play. I learned a long time ago that it works much better to give praise in front of the team or in front of another player. Calling a player into your office or seeing her in the hall and having a brief word with her doesn’t have the same impact on her as praising her in front of her peers.
Being very vocal and generous with positive feedback can lift spirits and make someone’s day.
Really, this principle will also apply to other people that you deal with, such as assistant coaches, AD’s, vendors, service providers etc, etc.
On the other hand we have all had to be the coach and straighten things out. If I was dealing with a playing problem I always liked to be in close proximity of the person that I am talking to and have my back to the rest of the team and explain what she did wrong and what my expectations of her are. It is a proven fact that all people move in the direction of their expectations or in the direction of the expectations of the person that they are attempting to please or perform for. I never had a player that made a playing mistake intentionally, I always had to remember that.
I was never a yeller or a screamer, no one likes it and it gives me a headache. But if I ever did raise my voice the team knew that something was way wrong and it was going to be dealt with. In an article about a Soccer coach from Eugene, OR I picked up something I really liked. He said that he never yells at his girls when they come off the field, because by the time they got to him on the sideline they had already yelled at themselves enough, and now it was time to fix the problem not re-live it.
Now if the problem was a team rule, the issue was dealt with according to the predetermined team rules and sanctions. When handing out the sanction I liked to do it in my office with an assistant present. There will almost always be backlash from a parent and you need to have someone that was a witness to your disciplinary meeting.
If the sanction was that the player had to leave the team I always felt that it was them deciding to quit the team as opposed to me kicking them off. My explanation was that they knew the rule and they made a choice not to follow the team rule.
Players that are rule breakers have a way to divide the team (usually their friends are ok with what they did). I have always felt that it is hard enough to coach one team and dividing them into two groups makes it nearly impossible to be successful and sustain that success. So I have no problems parting ways with chronic rule breakers.