Was Rutgers' Julie Hermann Intense or Abusive as Coach?


"I was never notified of the reported letter outlining the concerns of some former athletes," she said. "However, I am truly sorry that some were disappointed during my tenure as coach. ... Over the years, I have tried to learn from each mistake, including the lessons I learned as a young coach. I have become a stronger leader, administrator and educator as a result."

Larry Lauer, who works in player development with the United States Tennis Association said that studies show intimidation and abuse are not effective coaching techniques.

"If you are going to demean and emotionally abuse players, then you have stopped teaching and it's not going to work," he said. "You get short-term results, but not in the long term, if you treat players badly and sacrifice your values."

Constructive criticism is far more effective, especially in younger athletes, according to Lauer. "With positive feedback and reinforcement, players are more willing to come back and play."

At the college level, coaches are more than teachers, they represent their institutions.

"Coaches who are asking players to be responsible and do the right thing have a lot of responsibility and power in these college communities," he said. "How we act, really sets the reputation for everything at these universities."

Good coaches can stray from their values, he said, when they are pressured to win. "But you can go about it the right way."

Lauer cites model basketball coaches like Michigan State's Tom Izzo, the late John Wooden of UCLA and even former Tennessee's Pat Summitt, who used a "teaching approach" and still won.

"If you sacrifice your values, it's eventually going to come out on Twitter," he said.

As for Hermann, youth athletics expert Gould said "she's innocent until proven guilty. Sometimes it's a one-off thing and it should be let go. At the same time, you look for patterns occurring.

'I do think a coach can get frustrated and one day he or she may say things. But when they refer to race or sexual orientation or anything like that, it's different," he said. "You can be intense, but there is a stricter set of parameters. You can assume everything will end up on video."

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