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A Campaign Against Bully Coaching

A Campaign Against Bully Coaching

campaign-against-bully-coachesIn response to the comments and concerns shared by our readers we are launching a campaign against bully coaching and bullying in sports. To the overwhelming number of athletes and parents in dire need of assistance, you are not alone.

As professionals and members of the sports community it is our responsibility to protect the youth sports experience and the universal privileges of participating in youth sports. This movement is long overdue.

When the system fails our youth due to bush league politics everyone loses. Members of the youth sports community and education system who jeopardize the well-being of our youth need to be held accountable.

I deeply apologize for the delayed in this response. Over the past year our team has been working towards an effective and permanent solution. As a result we are dedicating 100% of our resources towards the  launch of  sportsbullying.com no later them March 2015 to provided awareness, education and direct support.

We are currently seeking partners to join us in this endeavor and we rely heavily on the feedback of our readers to assure your needs are met.

How Bully Coaches Affect A Young Athletes Mental Game


  1. I am not sure what we can do about coaches who ruin a young athlete’s self esteem but SOMETHING has to be done and these coaches need to be stopped. They can make or break an athlete. The letter above from the 16 year old QB could have been written by my son. I am not sure if leaving a reply will do anything but I want to do whatever it takes to help my son and other athletes like him. It is not a case where the athletes need to become “mentally tough” and I am tired of hearing about that. I am a coach myself and a teacher and I could even IMAGINE saying things to my players that my son’s coach has said to my son and other players on the team both on the field and in school. It is about the coaches learning how to coach young male and female athletes and how to get the most from each and every one of their players in a positive way. My son has been put through hell for 2 years and we are just now getting all of the details and dealing with it with him. Coaches set the tone on the team. The sad thing is the teammates of the bullied players are also “taught” by the coaches how to mistreat their teammates as well. I wish the coaches could feel the way my son has felt for the past 2 years, but then again, it probably would not make a difference.

  2. Thank goodness you are dedicating time to this subject.

  3. I have a son who has dedicated most of his childhood to the sport of baseball. We noticed at age 9 that he was having problems with confidence with batting. His coach let him know that he was wrong with almost every swing at the ball he was doing it wrong. Me and my wife decided to pay for a trainer to boost his confidence. Things got mech better for a whike and his confidence improved. He decided to dedicate more time toward baseball and pitching. He was considered one of the top pitchers for little league in our town. He played travel ball at age 14 and he helped his team win their region of the state. As a freshman he won the schools CY Youmg award. He continued to hone his skills be playimg fall baseball for 5 years since eigth grade. In 2014 we got new high school coaches and that year most everythimg he did was wrong. His Junior year he was only allowed to pitch in 1 JV game which the team won and 2 seperate innings of high school.This year he is a Senior sitting on the bench while lower classmen with less skill are allowed to play. His skill is still there but his confidence and love for the game is almost gone. I relaay do not know what to do to help him.Any suggestions?

  4. Please give me examples in athletics where an athlete is not bullied by yelling etc, but bullied mentally. The ignoring, leaving you out of workouts etc that will force you to hate the game you love. So much, it seems the coach is trying to get you to quit to open up a scholarship. Thanks

  5. My son has experience billing over 3 seasons now by the same hockey coach. He plays every other year for this team, due to the fact that he falls apart when he is on this team and then gets cut and dominates the league below. I use to think it was just my son not having the skills to play at that skill level, but having played spring league with other coaches I now know this isn’t the case. He is told not to do too much on the ice, then he isn’t doing enough. He is put on lines with kids that never pass to him for whole games at a time. He is told not to carry the puck and to pass it. Then I hear him talking to other parents that my son doesn’t have the skills to carry the puck. During spring hockey people came up to us and commented on how skilled our son was. He is starting to loose interested in the sport now. Very frustrated!!!!

    • How old is your son? It is time to drop the bully team for another league in the area or transfer to another team in the same league. Please be cautioned that your frustration and how you handle and discuss this topic will have a greater impact on his game then any other the above. Let him know that when you have haters then you are doing something right. Do not get caught up in the nonsense of it all and most importantly safeguard your son from it.

      For example, based on your comment I highlighted the things that your son doesn’t need to know below and how these things effect most likely concerns your son then anything these other people have to say. Sit him down and tell him how proud you are of him sports aside and that your will him 100% all the way in whatever decision he makes.

      My son has experience billing over 3 seasons now by the same hockey coach. He plays every other year for this team, due to the fact that he falls apart when he is on this team and then gets cut and dominates the league below. I use to think it was just my son not having the skills to play at that skill level, but having played spring league with other coaches I now know this isn’t the case. He is told not to do too much on the ice, then he isn’t doing enough. He is put on lines with kids that never pass to him for whole games at a time. He is told not to carry the puck and to pass it. Then I hear him talking to other parents that my son doesn’t have the skills to carry the puck. During spring hockey people came up to us and commented on how skilled our son was. He is starting to loose interested in the sport now. Very frustrated!!!!

  6. I need some help on dealing with an issue . Today my 10 year old son had a basketball game . I watched the game which my son sat on the bench for all but last 3 minutes . During the game I could see that my son was not having an enjoyable time . He sat there quietly showing very little emotion .
    After the game was over I was not very happy . My son had missed a fairly important church event to play with his team and for me and my spouse to pay 10$ each to support the time . I was not happy . After the game I asked my son what was wrong . After leaving the area my son proceeded to tell me that he had suggested that the team run a different defense because the team was scoring every time down the floor and they were not achieving any stops . From what my son tells me , the coach started in on him about him having to be up at 3 am and asked my child if he wanted to coach . My child being 10 replied no . Then the coach made the comment that he had been to college and he had been coaching for more than 20 years . He made a comment about a snotty nose 5th grader was trying to tell him what to do. Also he told my son he could sit on the bench or go home .
    Odiously the coach had life events causing him stress . That was my thought but him taking out his problems on my child caused me stress along with my child . I have worked with children and it can be very frustrating at times but speaking to a player because they made a suggestion doesn’t sit well with me .
    From what I understand , the coach that is over the program came into the gym and made the same suggestion as my son , the coach implemented the alternated defense and it began to work . Once the head coach left the gym the coach went back to the defense they had been playing prior to the head coaches recommendation . I didn’t not witness the conversation but saw this transpire from watching the game .
    Now my son fells like the coach is incompetent . My son doesn’t want to play a sport that he loves because he believes his coach doesn’t like him . They lost the game by 20+ points based on the coach refusing to listen , penalizing him for making a suggestion .
    I plan to have a meeting with coach in question , but I feel if this is not resolved I do not want my child to play for an adult that feels like he doesn’t have to use tact with a player . I feel the coach is in charge and he simply could have ignored my child or explained he had other plans . Not pouting about a snotty nose 5th grader thinking they know more and him .
    I am simply seeking help before things get farther out of control or am I as a parent over reacting . I would think that a coach would encourage his players to adapt and implement rather than sit quietly and watch insanity .

    • Concerned parent I wrote you a detailed response but for some reason it decided to disappear, which is my mistake for not being more cautious. Writing another response 2 weeks later would cause me the same frustration you were experiencing that other day. That said, did you have your meeting with the coach and have there been any further movements with this situation? If yes, how did it go? If no where do we stand now?

      Stepping back, there were several topics I thought would help you and son and especially help you and your little man. If there is a night this week after 6:00 when we can get together over the phone rather I think that would be the best approach moving forward. I have a little guy also only he is two.

      When I initially read your response I was reminded of my dad who has been my greatest influence both positive and negative. Your passion and support for your son is an everlasting gift, however you have an opportunity to maximize that gift for your son while limiting the drawbacks that come with it by understanding some key points. I didn’t end up becoming a sports psychologist because I was too short to play haha my sport was baseball but when I was ten I was the tact player who played up like your son and my dad was the frustrated guy sitting in the stands who had no idea that I could feel his every emotion how his body language, facial expressions influenced my focus and performance or how his unchecked comments and postgame questions caused such anxiety and pressure. What he viewed as coaching, support, and commitment I often viewed as anger, disappointment an pressure. That said it was 50/50 because at the same time he was my motivation, confidence, biggest fan. As your son begins to succeed, level of play and competition increases so will your level of support and pride in his talent and with that an equal need/motivation to make you proud. Ill leave it at that for now and again if you want to break down you comment about and discuss the time since just let me know a good time/day after 6, if not then good luck! My email is edger@sportspsychology.com for future reference.

  7. I have been anxiously awaiting your website. My 16 year old son has been bullied by his basketball coach since he started high school. He is a good athlete and a good kid. He is mentally tough and a very hard worker. I began to notice changes in his posture and behavior the last two seasons of basketball. Our coach has a reputation for bullying one player on the team every year. Many athletes have quit playing because they don’t want to deal with it. He has been coaching in our school for over 20 years and the whole town knows about it. Our athletic director does too, but it goes on and on. My son is he oldest of my 7 children and I was fearful about suicide last season because he was so down. Unfortunately, I am powerless. If I complain the coach will punish my son more. And my younger children too. Our athletic director won’t stop it.

    My son aspires to play college sports and this constant attack destroys his ego. He was first team all conference last season yet the coach constantly belittles him in front of the team. It has become the team joke. No one has to worry about getting yelled at if my son is there. He was told he is a prima Donna who is no good. Coach told he he played him only because he had to. That if he lived anywhere else he would sit the bench. This is only one day. It is like this every day. I don’t know how much more my son can take. We just started summer basketball league and he is at it again. I can’t bear to see my son hurting. other coaches see his worth. I just don’t know what I can do besides sit and put up with it. Any advice? Do I risk going in and making him angry?

  8. Hi, my son was bullied by HS basketball coach to the point that he quit the team. Is there any assistane you could give to me. I can explain more

    If you would liketo talk, my # is 9738852608

  9. I’m sitting on the fence regarding coach bullying as it pertains to my personal experience this past weekend and appreciate any feedback from experienced athlete parents.
    My 13 y/o son who is a physically capable athlete on a 14U travel baseball team. He generally is a starting player on the travel team and was also a starter on the School freshman team. He was the only 7th grader to make modified team last year and was the only 8th grader to make the freshman team this year.
    During this past weekends Tournament, his team was doing well. They won their first two games resoundingly and were seeded #1 for playoff bracket. My son was not hitting much but holding his own. During their second game which they had been ahead by the score of 5 -0, my son got an infield hit. While on first he was looking at 3rd base coach for signs. Coach made a sign that he did not recognize as a “steal sign”, first pitch is thrown and my son stays. Coach makes another motion that my son did not clearly recognize as a “steal sign”, second pitch is thrown – my son stays put.
    coach is openly and visibly upset and yells out to my son to go sit in the dugout and hollers to ump ” we have a change, #8 is coming in for #10 (my son). My son is embarrassed and devastated in front of all the team and stadium of onlookers. Game ends 1/2 later and my son comes in the car and breaks down crying and a few minutes asking….why, why? His sign wasn’t clear!
    3rd game while team is getting beaten handily and many teammates are making errors my son leads off an inning swinging at first pitch that was somewhat high – coach tells him that pitch was out of the strike zone. Third pitch was probably a little higher than first pitch and my son swings away and misses. Coached yells out to my son – go sit down and puts in another player DURING the at-bat. My son is embarrassed again and his team loses and is out of the tournament.
    What I didn’t mention yet in this post, nor have I mentioned to the coach is that my son has Aspergers, probably mild as he is very high functioning. I have not mentioned this as he is choosing to play on a competitive team and we are supporting him in his success and don’t want the team to have an “IEP” for him. He will succeed on his own merits and is not to be affected by other players/parents/coaches perceptions of this syndrome.

    If I become adversarial with the coach (who could blame me) or lodge a complaint to the organization – my son will likely feel the repercussions as far as playing time and overall treatment. If we leave the team, my son sort of quits and may not play baseball this summer – he’ll also feel that his teammates will ridicule him for quitting. He will be joining many of his teammates this coming school year in High School as he is an incoming Freshman and his teammates will be Sophomores. Saying nothing to the coach (my son’t first choice) will seemingly just allow future similar incidents to occur.

    Tough choice, unfortunately not as tough as what my son has just gone through.

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