This is why I love being able to experience the US way of handling things and the European way of handling things. These are experiences you are only to go through if you have been living in “both worlds”.
A few days a go the assistant coach of a first division team here in Italy came up to me and asked me:” Do you have five minutes I want to ask you a few things about English?”. Of course I help him out – but what he really wanted to know is something I would have never thought of.
We all know that basketball is also being decided in your head. If you don’t have the right mindset you will probably not get the best out of you. So if you are a coach you also have to know how to chose the words when you approach players – off the court at half time or at a time out.
This being said, back to my Italian assistant coach. I asked him what kind of question he had about English. He said that “he wanted to talk to you about the bad words!” with a huge smile on his face. I said to myself – what is going on in this guys’ mind?
To understand what he really wanted to know you have to understand the Italian mentality – even the European mentality. To make it short – I experienced that the more you come to the south of Europe the more emotional everybody gets – not just with sports – in every day life. For example – you won’t hear one “beeeep” on European MTV when people use “bad words” in their songs and you can listen to the funniest press conferences without beeeps on national TV.
As I learned from this assistant coach Italian coaches use words like – OK I won’t say these words – can be used to emphasize something good. So he wanted to know if words like “f.u.*.k.” can be used in a good way also. I know, of course some people use these words in a good way also but I consider these people as not very professional. So my advice was not to use any “bad” words as a coach when you talk to players.
What makes me think that way? Is this just a political correct answer?
I talked to an American professional female player in France and she told me another story about the use of bad words in Europe. When you want to express that your players are playing very weak – some people might use the word “p.u.*.*y”. Her French coach used this word and especially the American players got offended while the coach did not mean to offend anybody by saying this – he just wanted to motivate them. Knowing that the coach always used to deal with male players I kind of understand him.
But there are some exceptions with the use of these words – and if the assistant coach who also reads this blog as far as I know reads this post – Here is what some other coaches in the US use to motivate their players or how they express what they really think:
It also shows what you can say and what is allowed on TV to say.