In the movie “Remember the Titans,” there were major racial difficulties between black and white students. This was during a time when the school had just been integrated to allow blacks into the school and the high school football team. These challenges helped the Titans grow as a team and made them more co-operative and successful. The difficulties of a multiracial team were overcome with the assistance of democratic and authoritarian coaching styles, motivational skills, self-fulfilling prophecy, and the perception of the athletes and coaches. Because of these actions, the Titans were able to defeat the challenges they were faced with as a team and come out superior.
The authoritarian coaching style, demonstrated mostly by coach Boon, helped the team become more cohesive and strong. He believed in perfection, pushing his athletes to the limit, and being in control. During practices, if an athlete made a mistake they would have to run laps as a punishment. Sometimes during games, it seemed like all he cared about was winning. On one occasion, coach Yoast decided to show this style of coaching by getting angry at a referee for making unfair calls on their team. Authoritarian coaching styles encourage control but can be very effective when trying to coach a large team or complete tasks.
Another coaching style, which the assistant coach Yoast tended to use, was democratic. He noticed that coach Boon was being extremely rough on the football players and told him that some athletes do not respond well to humiliation and put-downs. This shows that coach Yoast was concerned about the well-being of his athletes, not just their success. On the last game of the season, coach Boon decided to have a more democratic view of coaching. He told the team to “try their best” instead of demanding perfection. This is a friendlier approach but it seems that he has almost given up all hope of winning by saying what he did. Democratic coaching styles made the athletes feel useful and motivated to do their best, but sometimes they can encourage lower levels of aggression when used in the wrong way.
The athletes, coaches and the team itself, helped motivate the Titans for games and practices. Coach Boon used threats and reprimands in an attempt to get the athletes to get along with each other. This did not work effectively since the athletes did not like him very much, so they were not motivated to listen. Threats benefit the athletes when they trust and respect the coach.
The coaches pumped-up the team before the game by prep-talking the athletes with lots of positive comments. The body language and optimism of the coaches motivated the team to try their hardest. The Titans performed a unique entrance and warm-up, in order to intimidate the opposing teams and to motivate them for the game. This also lowered the athletes’ levels of anxiety and helped them get to a good state of arousal. As you can see, all types of motivation are important when a team is trying to overcome a obstacle.
A psychological key in team success or defeat is self-fulfilling prophecy. This occurs when a coach focuses on positive or negative aspects of an athlete and the athlete ends up believing it is the truth. A prime example of this was Petey; he was a learned helplessness athlete who did not respond well to negative remarks about himself. Coach Boon always picked on his weaknesses and put him down for not being perfect. Petey believed everything coach Boon said until coach Yoast took him aside, gave him positive compliments, and told him to play defense for him in a game. Petey ended up improving in his performance and felt better about himself afterwards. This shows that some athletes respond differently to certain actions and it affects the team’s co-cooperativeness.
It is important to have many views on a situation to come up with the best answer. The perception of the athletes and coaches helped in the success and encouragement of the team. At football camp, in order to try to make the team members get along, coach Boon took the team to Gettysburg to teach them about the war between the blacks and whites. Instead of the threats and many long practices, this made the athletes realize that the situation was not worth being angry at each other and they began to work more cohesively as a team. When coach Boon looked at the situation in a different way, he came out with a desired result. Another example was both coaches used each of their views on game plays to come up with the master game plans. By working together and combining both perceptions, the game plans were deeply thought out and worked well. Experimenting with alternative perceptions and helping others look at situations in other ways improved the team’s cohesiveness on and off the field.
In conclusion, many factors work together to assist in overcoming challenges. These difficulties helped the Titans grow as a team and made them more co-operative and successful. In this case, democratic and authoritarian coaching styles, motivational skills, self-fulfilling prophecy, and the perception of the athletes and coaches helped to solve the racial conflicts of a high school football team. Not only did the problem get resolved, but the Titans were victorious in the end.
Courtney from Study Moose
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