Angry Coaches And the Players
Who Love Them
To put it charitably, coaches care
so much about their young charges that they are driven to
towel-chewing, bullet-sweating, clipboard-throwing frenzy.
John D. Gartner, a clinical psychologist
and author of "The Hypomanic Edge,"
suggests a biological explanation for such short tempers and
the long-term devotion that follows. People suffering from
a condition called hypomania -- milder than the mania of manic-depression
but several notches above normal enthusiasm -- are energetic,
restless, driven and creative, he says. But they're also easily
irritated and can be impulsive, using poor judgment in the
heat of the moment and regretting their rashness in later,
calmer moments. Mr. Chaney, of Temple, would surely find Mr.
Gartner's book fascinating.
The same hypomania that gives people
energy and a short fuse can motivate others, Mr. Gartner argues.
In short, confidence, energy and aggression are contagious.
"Whether they're leading a religious rally, talking to
a team at halftime or inspiring a small company to beat IBM,"
he explains, "these people are biologically overmotivated."
Their energy actually stimulates "the machinery in our
brain that motivates us -- the hypomanic leader energizes
And sometimes the turbines go into
overdrive, to good effect and bad. As the season winds down
and the NCAA tournament begins, Mr. Bryant, nursing his broken
arm, will have plenty of time to read Mr. Gartner's book.
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