I recently binge watched Netflix's new docu-series Coach Snoop. My first impressions? Amazing show. Extremely entertaining. Very well executed. I laughed. I cried (a lot). At times I wanted to jump up and chest bump the tv! Coach Snoop is a no holds barred look into youth football from every perspective. From the lovable players to the devoted coaches to parents trying to do their best, everyone gets to tell their side of the story.
Coach Snoop explains that the goal of the Snoop Football League is to keep at-risk kids off of the street and out of gangs. The theory is, if kids are at practice 5 days a week and games on weekends, they're way less likely to get into trouble. And if they're immersed in challenging environment, they'll develop both athletically and mentally. While his objective is totally commendable, the methods are a bit controversial.
Let's get right to it. The main eyebrow raiser as you watch Coach Snoop is how the coaches speak to the players. Simply put, the coaches curse the kids out. It's borderline verbal assault. I admit some of the commentary was hilarious. Like omg..pause...rewind...playback and laugh all over again funny. The F-bomb was dropped more times on one episode of Coach Snoop than an hour of Def Comedy Jam. But apparently, there's a method to the cursing madness. Most of these kids live in the hood. They survive in an environment that's uncensored, violent and raw. In order to effectively get a message across, coaches have to deliver in a way that will penetrate, sink in and resonate. As Snoop puts it, "some of these kids will cuss YOU out." The age old fight fire with fire. And to be completely fair, the profanity isn't just reserved for negative feedback. Nah, they curse 100% of the time, even when giving positive reinforcement. "That was a great motherf*cking pass!" There are many psychological studies that suggest curse words, in the appropriate context, can be beneficial when used for group unity, coherence, and general expressiveness (Jay, 2009b; Jay, 2006; Heins, 2007).
I get it. And personally, I'm not mad at the cursing. Just look at millionaire motivational speaker Tony Robbins, who famously uses curse words in his speeches, and also has a great Netflix documentary. Tony Robbins uses taboo words as a way to break through to the human psyche. Make his message stick. Snoop is doing the same thing, except with kids. I guess that's where it gets sticky. It comes down to the question: Is it cool for coaches to curse at youth athletes? Do you give a coach permission to curse at your child?
Let's keep it 100. In my experience, most coaches curse. Some snap worse than others. And for obvious reason, sports amplify emotion. Competition leads the average human to use a higher frequency of profanity than they use in everyday life. Highway traffic has the same effect, but that's another blog. I'm stating all of this to say, good f*cking luck finding an elite sports coach that doesn't curse at the players.
Here is what I think you should be monitoring... moreso than use of profanity, is the authenticity and consistency of the coaching. It's more important monitor energy behind the words your child's coach delivers. Because you can only shield a child from profanity for a short amount of time. It's literally everywhere. And at some point, you may be doing your child disservice by keeping them "green" and not exposed of this part of the game.
And it must be noted that your kid gets older and advances to highschool, college and professional leagues, (pardon my grammar) the cursing don't stop. Just do some simple lip reading as you watch the next college and pro sports game. But hey, we're here to talk about youth sports, right? The mom perspective. So, buh-leeeeeve me, I feel all of you anti-profanity moms. I really do. In a perfect world, nobody would curse at my f*cking kid.
Coach Snoop is more than a youth football coach. He is a life coach. It's his job to prepare at-risk young men to succeed in a hostile, problem-ridden environment and to emerge from a societal jungle. The use of profanity is basic exposure therapy. In this form of therapy, psychologists create a safe environment in which to “expose” individuals to the things they fear and avoid. The exposure to the feared objects, activities or situations in a safe environment helps reduce fear and decrease avoidance.
So, let's put the profanity stuff to the side for a second. There are so many other topics that Netflix's Coach Snoop addressed that should be applauded. While the cursing piece was the most obvious thing to approach, here's a list of non-sports related topics that were "tackled" on Coach Snoop.
Soo, should you watch Coach Snoop? Oh yeah. It's really, really good.
Should you allow your child to be on a team where a coach uses profanity? I would be a hypocrite if I told you not to. Every coach my child has had in the past 2 years has cursed. My advice is that it's 100% voluntary to play on any team. Never volunteer yourself or your kid to participate anything you don't agree with morally, whether it's profanity or how a team runs practice. You can leave. Just be aware, non-cursing elite coaches are few and far between.
What are your thoughts after watching Coach Snoop? Does your child's coach curse? Leave a comment below and let me know what you think!