Anger Management in College Basketball
If you thought anger management was just a term in Psychology 101, last week's uproar regarding Mike Rice as the men's basketball coach at Rutgers University (my alma mater) was not a surprise for those that know college basketball. I have heard him referred to as a "loose cannon" but I had no idea until I saw the video evidence for myself. I felt ashamed and hurt for the players, the university, the sport of basketball and for Mike Rice himself.
For individuals that have issues with controlling and managing their anger, life is difficult. They never know when they are going to explode and sometimes they have no idea of what triggers the anger and outbursts. I can't imagine the stress of trying to compete on a national level and being under such close scrutiny. The pressure of trying to recruit, condition and train champions is no mean feat but as a former athlete's wife I know the magic happens in practice not on the playing field; The magic is discipline which happens daily and not from demeaning and abusing your players.
Practice makes perfect and anger has no place in practice; it takes away from the constructive energy that needs to happen during the practice schedule. There is no excuse to demean and degrade student athletes and I wonder if Mike Rice knew he had an anger management problem. If so, how long and what did he do to address this issue? Does his behavior detract from the positive that he has done thus far? I wonder if he could have availed himself of EAP (Employee Assistance Program) counseling for anger management-it's free and confidential. I wonder if the university made counseling mandatory when they found out I wonder.
As a therapist, I believe in the change process and the chance at redemption but I'm unclear if Mike Rice deserves that chance. Aristotle tells us that "we are what we repeatedly do. Excellence then is not an act but a habit." What habits did Mike Rice learn in his playing/ coaching career?
I wonder if any of those student's went home and discussed these events, at what point do you give up your chance for an education because the abuse is too much. I wonder if Rutgers has offered them counseling for trauma? I wonder if other college coaches verbally and physically abuse their players. Next time you are at a game, look at the coaches and their verbal and non-verbal communication with their players and tell me if you think they are abusive?