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Media Primer

Dr. David Hoch, CMAA, CIC

In the local newspaper, a coach was quoted as saying, “We didn’t bring our A game today. It wasn’t a very good effort.” That may be a very honest statement, but it might not be how you want to present yourself to the public.

A coach is responsible for preparing a team to play. This comment, therefore, simply points out that the coach did not do his or her part.

Another common quote from a coach is, “The kids have to learn how to win tough games.” Again, this is the coach’s responsibility--learning to win is part of the equation.

It’s okay to be disappointed after a game. But it’s not okay to say things to the media that put the blame for a loss on the athletes instead of yourself as coach.

The following suggestions should help you to avoid miscues when dealing with the media.

  1. Take five minutes to compose yourself after a game. You may be frustrated and angry, or just exhausted. Be aware that these emotions may exist and resist the impulse to vent to the media. As the spokesperson for not only the team, but also the athletic department and school, you need to measure your post-game comments.
  2. Never degrade or say anything negative about your opponent. Even if your team made mistakes that contributed to the loss, always give credit for the win to the other team. You can be a little more direct and dissect the team’s performance during the next practice session, but not in the media where everyone can see or hear it.
  3. Complaining about or blaming officials is never acceptable. No missed or poor call, even late in a game, ever causes a team to win or lose. Any negative statements concerning the referees will always come across as sour grapes and demonstrate a lack of class.
  4. Think about how your remarks will be viewed. Most individuals react better to positive comments as opposed to criticism. Being critical and throwing your players under the bus is not a good method for motivating your team.
  5. Remember that negative and controversial comments sell. Don’t fall prey to questions from reporters that could inflame an issue or create a problem. You can always refuse comment on any subject.

One last hint is to refrain from referring to your group of athletes as “my” team. A team is a collection of many individuals. Therefore, it should always be “our” team. In education-based athletics, the focus has to be on the growth and development of young people. Therefore, the proper designation of “our” team and serving as a positive spokesperson for the team, department, and school is important.

 

David Hoch retired in 2010 after a 41-year career as a high school athletic director and coach.  In 2009, Dr. Hoch was honored as the Eastern District Athletic Director of the Year by the Nastional Association for Sport and Physical Education.  He was also presented with the National Interscholastic Athletic Administrators Association Distinguished Service Award, and in 2000 he was named the Maryland State Athletic Director Association's Athletic Director of the Year.  Dr. Hoch has authored over 460 professional articles and made more than 70 presentations around the country.

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