Coaching Unit. The college coaching unit also demonstrated anger legitimating norms. Focusing on their dealings with athletes, coaches reported that expressing anger was useful for gaining attention and increasing players’ motivation. Two coaches described the purpose of their anger and how it worked:
“[By expressing anger] I just got their attention better and so usually it contributes to an increased performance…which probably wears off over time, but at the moment it happens I got their undivided attention anyway.” M#2-160
“Practice should be harder than every game. Be a bear for two hours. Just rip her to shreds. Make her do it again and again. Practice is the only place we do that. So you really try to deflate their heads and make ‘em come back and focus on other things.” BA#5-88
Our interviews with coaches generally also did not reveal explicit anger display rules. Rather, display rules were implicit in coaches’ descriptions about how anger could be expressed. For example, when asked about rules on anger expression, one coach described an absence of organizational display rules, but then added his personal views about “civility”:
“I don’t think there is anything spoken. You know there is nothing in writing… [or a] set of rules. I think it’s just civility and you can express anger civilly you know.” M#4
This lack of explicit display rules may stem from the fact that coaches experience a fair degree of autonomy in their work. One coach explained: “I don’t really have anybody looking over my shoulder. I mean I have a boss, but my boss doesn’t really look over my shoulder much.” M#5 As long as coaches are winning their competitions, they may be largely left alone to do their jobs and to utilize more implicit anger norms developed through their personal and occupational experiences in sports.
But coaches also reported efforts to control anger and to chose the appropriate time and place for its expression. For example, some coaches acknowledged differences among their athletes in terms of how they respond to the coach’s anger.
“You know out on the field I think different kids respond to different things, and some kids respond very well to…being a little bit loud or…expressing, hey look you are not getting the job done, come on let’s pick it up. And so there are definitely with those types of kids that I will express it more often than with others. Others I feel don’t respond to it at all.” M#3
Others noted appropriate venues or means for expressing anger toward their student athletes or officials.
“I don't think it's a place for anger, to be honest with you I don't think that there's a place to challenge somebody else on a field. I think that things like that should happen off the field....[E]motions can run pretty high on a field when you're real competitive so I think you have to be