Dr. Christian Conte’s passion is helping others harness their out-of-control passions in a positive manner. The co-host of Spike TV’s Coaching Bad, along with former NFL star Ray Lewis, Conte is a level V Certified Anger Management Specialist whose goal on the show is to teach a group of angry coaches how to manage their anger.
Coaching Bad pits Conte and Lewis with a group of nine coaches from various sports across America whose actions towards their athletes have gotten them in serious trouble. Some have lost their jobs, such as Kash, who was fired from his job as a minor league baseball coach for fighting his own player, or Tyson, who has lost numerous coaching positions including one in the Special Olympics.
The show is about halfway through its first season, and many coaches have improved through Conte’s approach already. However, some are still resistant. Conte, though, isn’t bothered by this at all. As co-founder of a center in South Lake Tahoe, Ca. that rehabilitates offenders of violent crimes, he has seen far worse than a few angry coaches.
“I just finished a six month study with people at the State Correctional Facility in Fayette County, Penn,” says Conte. “So these coaches aren’t as bad. But when you ask anyone to take a look at their lives and the mistakes they’ve made, you are going to be met with resistance.”
Conte did not know Lewis before they began working on the show together, but he says they have become good friends through the common goal of educating people to be better leaders and coaches.
“We are both alpha males and that can sometimes be an issue,” says Conte. “But it’s not a problem with us because our mission is the exact same.”
Conte played baseball at Slippery Rock University in Pennsylvania, but grew up playing a number of different sports. He and Lewis share the experience of dealing with bad coaches throughout their lives. He distinctly remembers a high school football coach grabbing his facemask and yelling “F*** you!” in front of a full stadium during a game.
The reason he felt the show would be a positive thing to do is the ability to teach his anger management methods to a large audience. He feels that coaches are extremely important people in a kid’s life and what they say and do can have a massive imprint on a life forever.
“I wanted to get the reality out about who is coaching our children. In fact, I got a call this morning about a coach who punched a 9th grader in the face during a game.”
Conte and Lewis feel that they are teaching more than just the coaches in the show, “Ray and I both realized that we were working with these coaches directly, but we were also working indirectly with coaches across America.”
One of the big focuses of the show is on the power of language and words. Conte and Lewis speak at length with certain coaches who can’t stop cursing at their athletes. The reason it’s such a focus, Conte says, is that your words have a physiological effect on yourself and those to whom you speak.
“The language we use is powerful. Expletives send more cortisol and adrenaline through your body and give you less of an ability to be in control,” explains Conte. “I’m not saying there is anything inherently wrong with words, it’s what those words do to your physiology that creates issues.”
In reality though, Conte knows this isn’t just a problem with coaches. Anger management, he says, is emotional management and everyone has emotions. He often says there are two people in the world: those with issues and those who are dead.
“My number one message is this: Be mindful that your actions are felt for a lifetime. We are all teaching: parents are teaching, coaches are teaching, everyone is teaching someone” says Conte. “But don’t take that to mean you can’t be passionate. In one episode Ray speaks very passionately with Tyson and people were thinking that was wrong. There’s a difference between speaking passionately and belittling people.”
Coaching Bad airs on Sunday nights on Spike TV at 10 pm Eastern.