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How Bully Coaching Affects Athletes

How Bully Coaching Affects Athletes

Below is a quote from one of our athletes who is a 16 year-old high school quarterback who loved football and had the potential to start as a freshman — until the coach destroyed his mental game… “Going into high school I was a standout athlete with high confidence but after my freshman year I started to lose interest. It just wasn’t fun anymore. I hated practice because I was always worrying about messing up and being embarrassed by the coach. In games I worried about what he would do or say if I made a mistake so I became less aggressive. When I thought I did something right he thought it was wrong, and when I tried to work hard and gain his approval it was never good enough. It got to the point where I was making up excuses to get out of practice, and I even hoped I would be benched so I didn’t have to worry anymore. I knew the coach was tough, and I have no problems doing extra work or having someone push me to do better. But when he gets in my face, calls me out, embarrasses me in front of the team, and has a problem with me every day it makes me question why I still play. I use to play to learn, compete, be with friends, and have fun. Now I can’t wait for the season to be over, and practice is always the worst part of my day. I don’t tell anyone how it affects my motivation and confidence because it’s football, and everyone complains about the coach. You just have to quit or accept it.” Youth coaches are critical to kids’ sport experiences. They can influence whether young athletes enjoy sports and want to continue playing. Some coaches can get kids excited about sports, while other coaches may discourage kids or take the fun out of the game. A good coach can keep kids’ interest in sports alive. Bullied kids think there is something the matter with them. This deflates them and creates a lack of comfort and security in sports. It is possible young athletes are afraid to talk about being bullied by coaches. Often, young athletes’ first reaction to being treated this way is shame. They feel as if they somehow caused the coach to treat them badly. Bullying can hurt an athlete’s confidence–in and out of sports. When athletes are being bullied, and singled out by coaches they begin to have doubts about their ability to perform which cause them to question their role in sports. Athletes who are bullied experience difficulty focusing on what they should focus on. Like this young athlete, they sometimes obsess on the bully. The kids are also afraid. They think, “Should I shoot the ball? Should I pass the ball? Should I get rid of the ball fast?” for example. They focus on the wrong things during sports because they are preoccupied with gaining approval from the coach. Often they are afraid of how the coach will react if they make the wrong decision. Fear doesn’t enhance an athlete’s sports experience. And it’s not good motivators–although some coaches try to rely on it. Fear is a mental game killer. To really benefit from and enjoy sports, young athletes need to feel confident and safe. That’s where you, as sports parents come in. You, as parents and coaches, can do a lot to help kids who are bullied by their coaches. Please visit our Discussion Forum and Message Board  to share your story and comments and for more opinions from our experts on how to deal with bully coaches in sports. You can calls contact us to learn more about our Sports Parenting Programs. Our Bully Programs for parents will teach you  how to identify the characteristics of a bully coach, and how to stand up to coaches who put your athlete’s confidence, focus, self-esteem, motivation, and enjoyment of sports at risk. Please share your comments, questions, and opinions in our discussion forum/message board. We added this component to Sport Psychology Today to allow parents, athletes, coaches, students, and professionals the opportunity to submit any questions, topics, and advice publicly. You can visit the Discussion Forum through the “Discussion” tab on the Homepage menu. Once you click “Discussion” you can register for FREE and log-in and share your thoughts and questions with unlimited access. You can also click the highlighted text below.


  1. There are bully solutions to sports trash talk and bullying and coaches can help in a big way. Coaches who rule by negative motivation do a lot to reduce the self esteem and motivation of their young athletes. Coaches who take a positive approach and draw lines against bullying, negative behavior and trash talk role model the types of behaviors that make athletes thrive and become powerful and positive coaches themselves. Athletes need confidence, resilience and self esteem which can come with coaches who support athletes towards sportsmanship, positive role-modeling behavior towards teammates. Check out the Sports section of my website above to read more about Youth Sports and to build confidence and resilience check out http://www.toolkitsforkids.com

    • I don’t think my story is considered bullying, but my coach has really been pissing me off lately. I’m 13 year old baseball player. My coach is all about the negative things. Whenever I’m at bat i like to take a lot of pitches. I usually end up on base with a walk and he still chews me out for not being aggressive at the plate! He does this to everyone, but the worst is his son, the catcher. I will be pitching and he signals change up and i throw one and coach says thats a terrible pitch 27 (me) 4 (son) what did you call? He responds, I called what he threw coach. They just keep yelling back and forth. After the inning he chews on me for being down on myself I’m not trying at all, I’m doing terrible. I just said back with a smile, I try as hard as I can and thats all that matters coach. He responds, no it’s about winning. I FLIPPED IN MY HEAD. I was about to seriously punch him in the face. After the game in the huddle all he talks about is the negatives. That’s all he talks about NEGATIVE NEGATIVE NEGATIVE. I don’t think he realizes that the negativity of him makes us even more down on ourselves. I told my dad about it and hes the assistant coach all he said was forget about it. I can’t, I’ll get a hard groundball and I’ll knock it down with just my barehand. Because it bounced up and he just is like TERRIBLE TECHNIQUE. I just look at him smile and say, thanks coach always wanted that negative attitude from you. He makes me scared to mess up. He even made me think about quitting the sport i love. MY LIFE. I JUST WANTED TO SAY THANKS COACH!

      • Sometimes many times in life adults are a great example of what not to do and what not to say and what not to be like. Sorry to hear such negativity and just poor comunication skills that your coach has. Just because he has a title doesn’t make a thing he says worth investing in. I feel really sorry for young people to be raised by such toxic people especially.
        Your suppose to have fun out there and he should be and supporting players not telling them what they are not! Ride it out and I hope you write a letter to the league aginst him. If enough people do they will not let him take a team again.

      • I have the same problem with the new basketball coach…mostly negative. Sorry to hear that someone has the same problem as me. Stand up to him, make him notice what he’s doing!

    • I don’t think my story is considered bullying, but my coach has really been pissing me off lately. I’m 13 year old baseball player. My coach is all about the negative things. Whenever I’m at bat i like to take a lot of pitches. I usually end up on base with a walk and he still chews me out for not being aggressive at the plate! He does this to everyone, but the worst is his son, the catcher. I will be pitching and he signals change up and i throw one and coach says thats a terrible pitch 27 (me) 4 (son) what did you call? He responds, I called what he threw coach. They just keep yelling back and forth. After the inning he chews on me for being down on myself I’m not trying at all, I’m doing terrible. I just said back with a smile, I try as hard as I can and thats all that matters coach. He responds, no it’s about winning. I FLIPPED IN MY HEAD. I was about to seriously punch him in the face. After the game in the huddle all he talks about is the negatives. That’s all he talks about NEGATIVE NEGATIVE NEGATIVE. I don’t think he realizes that the negativity of him makes us even more down on ourselves. I told my dad about it and hes the assistant coach all he said was forget about it. I can’t, I’ll get a hard groundball and I’ll knock it down with just my barehand. Because it bounced up and he just is like TERRIBLE TECHNIQUE. I just look at him smile and say, thanks coach always wanted that negative attitude from you. He makes me scared to mess up. He even made me think about quitting the sport i love. MY LIFE. I JUST WANTED TO SAY THANKS COACH!

      • Tyler,

        I went to email you and saw that you didn’t leave an email or and contact information. I’d like to offer you some help/coaching free of charge. I work with many pitchers your age and at the professional level as baseball is my passion and speciality. Feel free to email me at mike@mentaledgeathletics.com or give me a call/text 407.385.9798 If I do not hear from you I hope it all works out. Some articles you may want to check involve fear of failure and process goals. Best of luck!

      • My ten year old son plays travel baseball. He has been on the team for 3 years now with the same coach. The first two years he loved it. Played extremely well. Always started and hit well. This year he struggled at bat( looking at strikes) and the caoch was all over him. At one practice the coach made him sit and write 50 times ” I will swing my bat” while the team stood around him and cheered him on. My son came home in tears. He was humiliated and now hates his coach and doesn”t enjoy the games and practice. The coach and I had words over this and i wanted to pull him from the team but i know how much he loves some of the kids on his team. He feels that there is alot of favortism on the team and his performance has dropped. I know that he loves the game but i am beside myself on how to help him.

    • I wish I could say that administrators believe students but the tendency is to believe it is their communication difficulties when in fact they are blind to these bullies. Our experience is a daughter who is a state medalist giving up her sport due to a wicked coach (and other athletes and assistants have also left). Coach failed to attend the district championships. Then imagine at a state championship that your coach mixed up the 2 chips and your run was credited to another runner. Coach not available all day to discuss if issue was corrected. On the medal stand the coach placed the medal on this athlete on live tv under another athlete’s name and walked away with no intent to correct this. Parents had to notify the local newspapers of the error in the web listings. Many of the athletes demanded a meeting with the AD and other school officials yet the coach has returned for another season. Parents have also met with no resolution. My runner is in an important scholarship year and is now quitting the sport she loves because any interaction with this coach makes her ill. She is a distance runner and the coach will only allow her to run sprint events in track season so she has decided to remove herself from the team.

    • My coach. I’m afraid of him. Each day at practice he terriroses me and singles me out for each of my mistakes. Countless times he has called me dumb and stupid, and he meant it.

    • “when he gets in my face, calls me out, embarrasses me in front of the team”. My son’s club soccer coach did that to him every game. He distracted the players by screaming and yelling which did not help them winning at all. They lost most of the game and yet, he is trying to find someone to blame. He had been reducing my son’s game time and had him sit out the whole game. His strategy is working since couple kids left the team after paying the hefty club fee,my son was defeated by his game plan.
      My son lost his confidence and self-esteem. He started to wonder why
      his coach is so ruthless.

  2. Our two daughters were bullied by their High School Dance Team coach. The worst of the bullying occurred after the Principal forwarded our emails of concern onto the coach. The coach retaliated against us by bullying our daughters. Our oldest daughter was a Special Needs student and was bullied the worst.

    We took our concerns to the Superintendent and even the Town Board of Education, but we were not taken seriously. Our complaints and concerns went unanswered as we were told the matter was a “personnel” matter and therefore could not be discussed. The bullying got worse when we hired an attorney. Having legal representation only made the school become more agitated and annoyed with us.

    Only through Freedom of Information Act requests and obtaining correspondences, including emails, of all school personnel involved did we discover the conspiracy and willful effort to deny our claims. A quote from one email written by the Superintendent to the Principal states, “If we continue to refute all allegations then we will shatter the accusations that come in from those parties who are trying to make things such a big deal. Hang in there…” We attempted to speak before the Town Board of Education and were denied to speak freely. A letter written to us by the Superintendent states, “If in the future if you plan to speak at another board meeting during public participation, please refrain from any accusations or allegations against personnel. It is against the board’s policy.” The efforts by the Town, the School and its employees involved to dismiss our claims were very strong, at times we felt powerless but it only made us stronger in other ways. Our attorney was most surprised by the schools lack of concern and unwillingness to resolve the situation.

    We have presented our case to the State Board Of Education Special Education Division over nine day’s of Hearings. The facts determined by the Hearing Officer was that there were “outrageous acts of bullying” by the coach and that the Board “failed to appropriately reprimand” the coach, “and in fact, the Board acquiesced in the bullying by demoting the Student and supporting the advisor’s outrageous behavior”.

    The Hearing Officer found that my oldest daughters Civil Rights were violated under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act. The school has sought to appeal this decision and we are currently awaiting trial in Federal Court. The local News channel recently covered the story and can be seen on youtube.com at, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FWvEWzzBETU

    For all those parents that find it too difficult to fight city hall, don’t give up for what you believe in. In the end, justice will prevail and the findings will benefit all of us by forcing schools to be responsible and accountable for their actions, or in our situation, their lack of action.

    • I was wondering how the girls were bullied? Simply telling someone she is not in charge or putting her in the back row is not really bullying. It is hurtful. I would probably feel bad if my child was given a special part and had it taken away. But life is unfair and if we constantly run to the aide of our children when they are treated unfairly they will not know how to deal with disappointment. I think the parents do feel that their daughter was sorely mistreated. It doesn’t seem like such a big deal. If it is a big deal to the girl then she might need counselling but not because of this circumstance. She probably has sensitivity issues which can make her read into everything that happens to her. I know because I have the same problem and I tend to blow things out of proportion. In any case I feel bad for both the girl and her coach. From my own experiences I think they should have talked out any hurt feelings before things escaladed.

      • In response to Alicia’s comment about Richard Stone’s story- I have to say Alicia that I found your reply to be very inconsiderate. Yes we do need to teach our children how to cope with bullying and intimidation but this is a process that occurs over time as they mature and develop the skills needed to do so. We dont just pop out of the womb knowing how to deal with everything life throws at us. I would think the first lesson you need to teach a young child is that they do not have to tolerate abuse from anyone. Of course how you then go about dealing with it becomes the real challenge.

        • Thank you for your comment and opinion. I am encouraging all athletes and sports parents to use the new Discussion Forum for all comments, questions, and posts. This is a better way of facilitating discussion and responses from our team, sport psychologist, parents, and experts who specialize in this specific area. The is currently a forum open on bullying in sports and bully coaches.


          • Mike, the site that you indicated is not opening. I have information to share.

          • Jimmy,

            Sorry for the late response and inconvenience. What site are your referring to? The discussion board?

        • Really appreciate your reply to Alicia.
          My daughter and several other players and parents are dealing with a volleyball coach who is bullying our children. They are larger girls, very athletic and some are the better players on their teams. She is as mean as I have ever seen. Picking on the girls for their shape, genetics and build. She is doing it in private so the girls don’t have witnesses and then when confronted about what she is saying to our kids she says they are lying. If people knew these particular players, they would know that they are not liars.

      • I am encourage all readers, athletes, and sports parents to use the new Discussion Forum for all comments, questions, and posts. This is a better way of facilitating discussions and advice from our team, sport psychologist, parents, and experts specializing in specific areas of sport psychology. The is currently a forum open on bullying in sports and bully coaches. Here is the link:




        • MIke i have alot of concerns about bullying coaches but this site your offering isnt working

      • In response to Alicia’s comment, while there were many instances of bullying, one instance stands out and each time I’m reminded of it, it makes me feel sad. During senior night when the coach gave all the senior members on the dance team a bouquet of flowers along with a card stating her congratulations and well wishes, our senior daughter was treated differently. Each of the bouquet of flowers consisted of roses, carnations, greenery and babies’ breath. The coach gave our daughter a bouquet of carnations only. No roses, no greenery and no babies’ breath. When our daughter arrived home she unwrapped her bouquet, all but two of the carnations were broken. There was no card, our daughter received no congratulations and no well wishes from the coach. In the beginning, our daughter did attempt to speak with the coach and on more then one occasion. It only escalated matters and got even worse when as parents we attempted to talk with the coach. We followed school policy when channeling our complaints, first to the coach, when that failed we went to the principal. It was at this point after we went to the principal that our daughter was removed as head captain. We then went to the Superintendent, and finally when that failed we went to the BoE. The state found that the Board actually “acquiesced” in the bullying. So many adults, some very highly educated, all of whom failed to take action and allowed the bullying, harassment and intimidation to continue and without reprimand. The State Board of Education Final Decision and Order can be read in its entirety at the state website located at: http://www.sde.ct.gov/sde/lib/sde/PDF/DEPS/Special/Hearing_Decisions/2010/10_0490.pdf
        The school board has appealed the State Board of Ed decision and we continue to wait as the case now resides in Federal District court. Last year we were successful filing a Request to Revoke Certification with the State Board of Education. The state revoked the coach’s certificate and she was forced to be fired from her position as dance team coach. This individual remains unable to coach in either a private or public school setting within the state.

    • I went through this with my oldest daughter’s Swim Coach ( a bully with three dui’s under her belt) was given the complaint and she sued me for libel,..the cover up and retaliation so intense I had to withdraw my younger daughter from the school for her own protection. When defending myself in court the Judge read the newspaper and allowed the Attorney for the other side to basically run the show. The Attorney for the Swim Coach/Teacher was our Town’s Legislator…it begs to ask the question “is everything political”

      Yes everything is political.

      Good Luck with your girls I hope you can keep them safe!

    • I don’t think I would have included the link you shared. After watching that, I have a hard time finding any sympathy for your daughter and instead feel sorry for the coach. I realize how media skewes things, but from that reporting, it does make it appear that your family is indeed stalking this coach and attempting to ruin her life because your daughter wasn’t given her way. Is it true that you told the coach that your daughter was in charge? Also, a bit of an explanation as to how your daughter qualifies as special needs would be interesting to the public. I don’t consider shyness (and really, how shy can she be that she is able to get up and dance in front of the entire school on a regular basis?) to be a disability that requires special education. I am just not seeing that this qualifies as such a high level of abuse that this amount of action was necessary.

      I have heard stories of dance coaches telling their girls to “stop eating” because they are getting too chubby to dance or look good in their clothes. I have heard of coaches telling their players to stop acting like little “gay b**ches” and man up, and many, far worse examples.

      I’m just not seeing from the news coverage you posted that this is a clear case of bullying by a coach. It really does appear that you are on a witch hunt because someone dared to not give your daughter, or you, your way. The examples you gave of bullying really don’t come close to what most consider a clear case of bullying… especially worthy of all of all of this hoopla.

      • I encourage all parents, athletes, coaches and readers in general to post any comments on Bullying and their experience in the Discussion forum. If I could I would love to respond and provide guidance to each email and comment on this topic, however bullying in sports and bully coaching is such a popular and unique topic that I do not have the time to adequately address each inquiry. By posting in the discussion forum it allows other sport psychology experts, parents and coaches to provide insight. Thank you all for sharing your experiences. Bullying in sports especially by coaches is an issue that needs to be addressed. Please refer to the Discussion Forum for further guidance. Respectfully, Mike Edger


      • In response to Broccoli – You are correct in that the media can skew things, but in our situation the story was presented with little to no bias thereby affording you to arrive at your opinion. The case was heard by the State Department of Education through nine-days of hearings and the findings were ruled that not only did the coach bully, but the school administration acquiesced in the bullying. Next, whether my daughter qualified as special needs or not is not up to just anyone to determine. As parents we don’t have a choice of whether our children qualify, or don’t qualify as special needs. Nor are we responsible for how special needs is defined. This is done by pediatricians, psychologists and educators. Lastly, there are two sides to every story. My intent to posting our story wasn’t to justify mine or my family’s cause. Instead, it was to provide to readers and those who viewed the news story how parents of a child who was continually harassed, intimated and bullied by her coach was able to fight back. Additionally, our efforts to having this coaches coaching certificated revoked by the State Department of Education as a result of our case was successful. This coach has been prevented from coaching children in a public or private school funded with tax revenue and administered by a government or governmental agency. In ending, you may perceive our efforts and persistence as stalking; I consider it to be retributive justice.

        • I agree 100% with this. Anyone who does not see what happen to this girl as bullying well you have never experienced bullying. When you child has to deal with an adult that you have entrusted them too such as a coach and all they do is single your child out and bench them it is so frustrating. I had my son bullied by his coach as well. I have gone to the school and the superintendent. They support the coach why because it is an employee, a coach, an adult. Nevermind, that several kids on the team came forward and two parents to say that the coach was bullying my child! Anyone that replied to this thread and said they do not see bullying SHAME ON YOU! This parent had a clear case of his child being bullied and probably would never have seen retribution if the child did not have an IEP that is right I said it the fact that she was special ed helped. Children that do not have disabilities have bullying happen and no recourse. Schools administrators school boards and even superientendents hide and bury stuff under the rug and get away with it about 90% of the time. I would like to say that any parent reading this that thinks it is not a big deal I wish it could happen to your child to understand but I am not that cruel.

    • I read your posting and I am so impressed with your willingness to keep going despite so many forces against you.

      • In response to Anonymous. Thank you. While it has been difficult, I find the strength to keep pressing forward through the eyes of my daughter and others like her. My daughter was once popular among her high school peers. She participated on the high school sponsored dance team throughout her four years of high school, but by the end of the six-month dance team season of her senior year, this newly hired bully coach and aided through the actions of the principal, the superintendent and the Board of Education, portrait my daughter as a problematic child and a selfish athlete. None of which could be proven during nine days of State Department Board of Education Special Education hearings. The Hearing Officer’s Final Decision and Order can be read at http://www.sde.ct.gov/sde/lib/sde/PDF/DEPS/Special/Hearing_Decisions/2010/10_0490.pdf
        By the end of her senior year, my daughter had been ostracized by her peers and by her fellow dance team members and forced to quit the dance team two-weeks before the season was to end, all as a result of the coach’s and the school administration’s malevolent actions towards her. My daughter simply could no longer endure the bullying, harassment and intimidation of the coach. As a parent, it was awful to experience. In the beginning my daughter had strength, not willing to quit and strong to withstand the bullying and harassment. By the time the dance team season had ended however, she was tired and weaken by the psychological torture. It was as if the life had been sucked out of her. In the many months that followed she showed symptoms of Posttraumatic Stress Syndrome. It has since been three years and our case still resides in Federal Court and still awaits trial. To this day, my family and I still live in town and still have friends who support us while at the same time many more have ostracized us. I still attend the district’s Board of Education’s meetings and on occasion I continue to speak out when the opportunity arises. To date the Board of Education has paid out in excess of $120,000 in tax payer’s money appealing the Hearing Officer’s final decision and attempting to have the case thrown out of court. So yes to your point, the forces are many, but my willingness to keep going is driven by my belief in what is just. The culture of impunity that exists in our public schools and local government must change. I feel this in my heart and in my soul and in the end, it is my hope that the results of my efforts will help prevent other children from being bullied by an adult overseer.

    • Wow! Good for you for being such a strong advocate for your daughter and for not giving up! I hope justice does, indeed, prevail in Federal court.

    • Richard stone….going through something similar. May I have your email?

    • Richard, I have been following your case, because we are going through something almost identical. Is there a way you can email me so I can get some advice. Thank you!

    • How did you get the documents under the freedom of information act ? our superintendent who has been friends with the coach for 40 years said the coach will never be fired and all interactions with employees are confidential so we are not allowed to know what is said to the coach.

  3. I am so upset that the coach of my daughter, second one, to go through a very extended tenue of a seasoned coach continues to treat players with a lack of respect and undermining ridicule. Being a graduate and ex-player under this same coach I am deeply upset and mortified that her biased behavior and demenior continues today. Her bullying tactics along with input from her inexperienced husband who sits along side of her during the games mortifies me and makes my stomach turn with each game. She continues to belittle the players. No one acknowledges the alligations or takes them to heart because this coach, not only coaches 2 major sports but is also athletic director. She is looked upon by all that see her as a advisary to sports , but in reality she is the biggest bully on the planet. She can not stand or relish the thought that younger players coming up know more or have experienced more than she has ever had the privlige of experienceing in her little small town where she grew up. The world is changing , yet she is a dinosaur and refuses to become extinct or even acknowledge the change.Not only does she try to belittle and humiliate the star and experienced players that are blessed in front of her , but she and her husband go so far as destroying these athletes belief in themselves so they are never able to achieve their God given potiential to suceed not only as great athletes ,but as productive citizens in their community. Who puts glory in themselves by making others doubt themselves? How low can you be as a so called educator and role modle can you be?
    Our children are our lifeline to exsistance and people like this coach not only put these young adolesents in jeapordy , but our own community and social citizenship is destined for failure.

    How can we expect young children to stand up for themselves if we as adults are afraid of the same bullies that tormanted us when we were our children’s age? Who are we to tell our children to stand up for what is right? When will we stand up? Society allows people like this same coach who has been in this same school for over 40 years doing the imtemidation and constant badgering amongst players over and over until they quit or just give up and take it……When is enough ,enough?

  4. After reading this short article and exerpt it really resonated with me. I remember back when I played sports being constantly badgered, demeaned, and quite frankly verbally abused in every form since I was probably 10 or so years old in every sport I played (with the exeption of my soccer team). It got even worse when I started playing football for my school in 7th grade. I remember having one coach in particular that berated me daily and constantly attacked my manhood, toughness, abilities, or anything else he could find to call me out in front of the team. He did this to many of his players,which would probably explain why the 30 or so players we started with in 7th grade had dwindled to only 12 freshman year and the team had to be disbanded and absorbed into the high school team. He only ever really praised 2-3 players who he considered were particularly gifted. I was lucky enough to be on the teams as he got promoted yearly because of openings in the staff and he was even part of the varsity staff and this be=havior continued. It didn’t help that many of the other coaches on the staff took a very similar approach as him. I endured this for many years until I finally got fed up and decided to try to play soccer the summer before my senior season. Even though he constantly attacked me for my toughness and stuff later I found out a bunch of the coaches often made statements that I was one of the toughest players they had ever had. That would’ve been nice to hear that every now and then or any praise for that matter.

    The main reason I bring this story to you today is that I notice I still experience the effects of the years of abuse from coaches. I have completed a college degree and now a year away from completing medical school and despite all I have learned about psychology and through my rotations in psychiatry I am still unable to shake the thoughts and feelings I have about myself as a result of those formative years. Throughout that time that negative perception of myself became so ingrained in me that today it still rears its ugly head on many occasions even though I know there is no truth to any of it. Today, I am very mentally tough and I have fought through adversity to get to where I am, but despite all I have to be proud of I still find myself with this glaring sense insecurity and self-doubt deep inside that was planted there and ingrained in me by my coaches. It is easy to just say to ignore it and may be difficult to understand at times, but something about it makes it impossible to shake. To anyone reading this, do not let the same happen to you or your children because even though its easy to just write off as part of the game, it can also become a much longer lasting stain on the mind.

    • Your comments really resonate with me bcuz I had a similar athtletic experience with a hs basketball coach. Nevermind anything I did correctly; he saw to it that he would make my day go south everyday. sometimes it was his words, sometimes it was the look. I think I was so vulnerable for a number of reasons: my father died when I was 5, late bloomer in the game of basketball and new school enviroment all contributed to my lack of confidence. Thank you for articulating this for me. Today, I am a youth basketball coach and my son plays on the team. He and his 6th grade team will be “ready” for coachign bully’s by being well prepared athletes and ready to face the criticism. A great collegiate basketball player once told me that if you make a mistake or a turnover, simply “Forget about it and move onto the next play. Short term memory is the key.”

    • Thank you for verifying that is exactly what Coach’s (anyone) who bullies leave us with…a stain on the mind. I am sorry to say that it happens more often than not, bullying in sports is an epidemic that is largely ignored.

    • My 17 year old son plays hockey and has been called a f’in gutless p—y with no heart three times this season. He was at a point where he was not loving the game anymore and wanted to quit. My husband and I made an appt. with the coach and AD. They listened but tried to turn it around to my son and being sensitive. I asked for a public apology in front of the team and they said no. I just don’t understand how a coach can get away with this.

    • How do schools let coaches get away with this?
      My daughters athelic director told her to quit the team
      when she went to him for adivce about bad coaching.
      She was crushed. Adults are suppose to be there to support
      our kids not teach them to be quitters!!

  5. I was bullied by my coach in HS. To this day, I can’t shake the anxiety I feel when I recall the terrible season called my senior year. The confidence he took away transferred into other areas, too. which is why coach bullys are so terrible.

    • My daughter has been bullied by her hs softball coach. It is a shame since she is a motivated young athlete. As the article states, one mistake and that is it. She has leared to move past her mistake and has worked hard toward her goals. Unfortunately, this coach has made it difficult for my child and took the love of the game right out of her. She is almost done with her season and is now sitting bench from being a starter. She now is telling me she does not feel well prior to going to practice or goes to the school nurse. Similar circumstances in the article. The softball coach is friends with the AD. Too bad. Next year she is not playing the sport that she loves so much. He has just totally destroyed her love for the game> she feels anxiety. Too bad.This coach just took over the team as a quick fix and now has been there for two seasons. Last year was bad this year is worse. Not only has he destroyed an entire softball legacy but also my child. Many parents talk and complain but since he is friends with the AD we feel like there is nothing we can do.

      • My daughter feels for your daughter. Our atheletic
        director told her she should quit softball and choose
        another sport when she turned to him for advice with
        a problem with the coach.
        Many parents have complained at our
        school about it but don’t figure anything will be done.

  6. My 9th grade daughter played first time basketball on the team. She is FIVE ELEVEN and plays volleyball her third year. Her basketball coach and teammates treated her as bad as bad can be, they would not play her but 5 minutes or none the whole season. Basketball- she can shoot well because of private coaching prior to desiding that she was as good as the girls playing. The coaches moved all the 9th grade girls up on the team except two and they sat the bench. The reason for that was to develope the younger girls and weed out the older girls and bench them so they would quit. The coach played favorites to the famous 5 by partying, dinners, letting them come down to his class room for study hall he even let them run the show to keep their parents off his back. The coach hurt these two girls confidence and being singled out was a blessing to me because I dont want my child to have a creepy relationship with a coach. Its hard to tell your child its not them and it gives coaches a bad name. HER CONFIDENCE HAS GONE BAD EVER SINCE THIS AND SHE HAS LET HER SELF GET WORSE. If the volleyball season is a issue I will pull her out and move on to gigger and better things.

  7. My daughter, a 4 year letterwinner and 2 year captain was bullied by her Varsity Basketball Coach for 3 years. It included verbal humiliation, manipulation of her and her teammates, and constant negative feedback. The school administration looked the other way, did not investigate the situation or even speak to the team members about the issue. It is disgusting. Bullying is in the news everywhere–but it is ignored when it is a Teacher/Coach who parents are supposed to trust their children with? It sickens me. My daughter will be graduating and doesn’t have to endure this anymore but the damage is done and she has to deal with this for the rest of her life.

    • I TOTALLY agree with your suggestion that bullying by authority figures is totally ignored. Yet this is the WORST (by far) form of bullying that stays with these kids forever!

  8. So we all know thisis going on but as a parent we are powerless to do anything about it. It would be nice to hear from someone in school admin who could tell usnhownto stop it short of legal action

  9. Hmm. The experience of this kid in this article is EXACTLY how my daughter felt under her college (D1)lacrosse coach last fall. Never ONCE did he pull her aside and acknowledge that he was being “tough” on her for good reason. Worse, 5 minutes late to practice turned into humiliating belly crawl across football field, walking on hands on a treadmill, and hiding her sacred rulebook on her to watch her panic. How is this ANY different from hazing…only much worse, as it is done by the very person these kids are supposed to look up to. She transferred and is very happy, but I am still so conflicted about what to do to address this coach. The university stonewalled me. I feel like cracking it wide open because this is nothing short of the worst form of hazing. Any suggestions?

  10. My last posting didn’t show up…My daughter was recruited to play D1 lacrosse. The coach treated her, and she felt…exactly the same as the boy in the article above. Further, she was made to do humiliating belly crawls across the football field and walk on her hands on a treadmillas punishment for being 5 minutes late to practice. He played mental games with her by hiding her sacred handbook that was supposed to be with them at all times, etc. The University officials all the way up to the President have stonewalled me completely. she transferred and is the shining star on her new team, but I’m thinking of “going public” with this situation. Not for lack of trying to get commitment out of the university that his dangerous behavior would be addressed. Per Sam Smith’s “powerless” comment above…only powerless if we choose to be. This is nothing more than adult bullying…against our kids…and has to be stopped!

    • Lax Dad, totally agree…my daughter went through the same kind of bulling. The coach mocked a girl who was on medication for depression he called her out on it in front of the whole team.The poor girl ran to the locker room balling her eyes out. The coach is under investigation right now! I just hope they do the right thing and let this bully GO!!

      • What an ass as a nurse that is in total violation of Hipparchus and privacy laws and absolutely disgusting, this guy and the school are begging for a lawsuit. If they protect this idiot they deserve one, especially since if the child got so depressed and committed suicide, in my nursing opinion he is direct accessory to causing a self homicide and in liable for his total lack of judgement, breaking Hippa and privacy laws, and in addition totally unprofessional as an educator, Shame on him!

  11. The clip below was captured at a high school. This student received upon handed unprovoked smacks from this coach in many games and practices, along with verbal and mental abuse.

    When the coach goes to hitting and slapping and throwing objects it becomes assault.
    Same student had a basketball sailed into his head and a bloody nose given by coach during practice.

    Bully’s need to be reported to the school district, if the school district does not correct, it should be taken further.

    • Fed-up,

      Thank you for sharing your comment and video. Although, this response comes well overdue, your comment and video have been extremely valuable in facilitating our movement to end bully coaching and ultimately bullying in sports. Our team has decided to dedicate the majority of our funds and time towards this cause in response to each email, phone call, and comment on this page. We are fed-up as well my friend. We will be launching an affiliate website @sportsbullying.com in 2015. Any resources, information, or service that you or any other viewer of this response feel would help parents respond to and put an end to bully coaching please email us through the contact page to share.

      Thank you again for sharing your comment.

      Michael J Edger III,
      President of Sport Psychology Today

      Please excuse any spelling or grammar mistake as this message was compose on my iPhone.

      • My daughter is a freshman in highschool.in middle school she got Best Defensive Player plus I have her too train with a baskeball trainer.This High school act like she was so supportive and caring. My daughter was conditioning with the highschool team while she was still attending middle school. Now that shes there and the basketball season has starts. This Coach keeps her on the Bench the whole time!! I ask the coach privately whats the problem my child not getting any playtime at All?? That Coach told me that My Child Might Not Ever get No Play Time the Whole Year!! I was Confuse.The Coach also told me after I had already paid my 400 dollar basketball fees, I cpould get my money back if I want it!!..I didn’t want too be that parent too pull my child Off the Team! Keep in mind My Child has Been an Honor Roll student All her Life and her Teachers Loves Her!!!..Yesterday one of the girls parents on the basketball team call me Crying and said that her said came too her crying Upset because 4 of the Teammates are Bulling my child???…And her child feels bad for my child. That coach made it clear if its a problem…The children needs too come too her…Not the Parents. What gotten me more concern out of Everything…one of the games they had this week…The Score was 61 to 23…We Was Winning in Over 40 points in the 4th Quarter…Why Everybody Got too Play…In the 4th Quarter, You Played my daughter 3 minutes before the Game is Over???Something is not right with that Picture. My chikd scare too go to the coach about the bulling because she don’t want too look like no snitch.And the coach already let me know she can care less if Destiny is on the Team or Not.This is an upsetting situration and I need some positive feedback.

  12. I had searched for any information that I could get my hands on in regards to coach bullying. First I must say this breaks my heart. S.R. I really appreciated your story and others. My son is a eighth grader and for the first time I experienced coach bullying. I am a leader type person and after weeks of watching Coach Steve Craig, of Franklinville, N.J. I endored watching pure abuse from, belittling, name calling, attacking manhood, destroying kids self esteem, and favoritism. I watched him badger the boys in front of one another at one occassion, making a 14 year old boy cry in front of his teammates. It took everything in me to walk away, I wanted to jump on his back and take him down, I never had anyone make me feel that mad. After talking to other parents I learned that this abuse has been going on with them and the kids for years. I am blown away. Currently I am having trouble graspping how alot of these parents want to turn their back. I took my final blow from this Coach this past weekend which resulted in him making up lies, and calling me and my former husband foul words, alot thru text messaging. I am determined to make a stand against him and stop this abuse, I already see the damage he has done to alot of the young boys on my sons team. What he did to my son, former husband and myself this past weekend is awful. I am ready to do whatever it takes to shed light on this situation. Thank you all for also standing up, you’ve given me alot of insight by sharing your stories.

    • Don’t give up! The lies will escalate and could be far reaching. The coach will most likely befriend other team players while he attempts to portrait that it is you and your son that are the trouble makers. Document, document and document each and every thing you do and everything that is said. Use email and/or letters. Any verbal discussions should be followed up with an email and/or letter, cc the principal and include others if necessary, the Superintendent even the BoE. Speak before the BoE if necessary if public comments are allowed during their regular meetings. When all else fails, seek legal advice. In the process, your son will realize that the problem is not him but that of a troubled, and quite possibly, sick individual. It might not be easy, but what’s important is that you will give your child the confidence to know that it was not his fault, and that you believed in him.

  13. Omg sounds like my position couch I get called out almost every practice making me look like a bitch in front of all my peers it really is terrible it’s my sinior year and I probably will end up quiting I can’t take it much longer

  14. Don’t quit. That would make you the loser, not your coach. I would stay on the team. Don’t let someone else spoil senior year for you. Your coach is NOT worth it.

    • It is great to see people standing up to idiot coaches who should not be coaching young men and women. I have heard of a few other problems over the years where 1 coached comits adultery with fellow teacher in school district and the coach already an idiot took it out on his players which all his better players quit playing the game they loved because of the coach. Which is ashame to see those players getting cheated out of their high school years because of a coach. Also the school board and AD and Principal of the school should step up and do their jobs or dont vote those people back in at all
      . 1 school has their better players playing in a church league because the school board even aware of all this voted the coach back in to coach, what are they thinking?

  15. I have a question. Can a football coach deny an athlete who has been a varsity starter varsity playing time or cut him from the team because he wrestled? The boy was cut because he chose to play another sport in the off season and not participate in camps or workouts for football during that time. The treat was made prior to the boy going out for wrestling and again during the start of wrestling season.
    My common sense says it’s wrong and prevents the student athlete from experiencing or gettnig the same quality education as other students.
    Is there anything legal that would back this kid up or anything that can be done to hold the coach accountable so it doesn’t happen again?
    A kid should not be punished for being involved in more than one sport.

    • I am not sure about the legality of it but, I agree with you view of the issue. What level of competition it this? A coach should not be able to make this decision. I suggest you contact the athletic director. Still, playing for a coach who makes such threats raises some red flags. If there are no season conflicts most coaches would encourage athletes to participate in other sports to maintain a competitive edge. I was a three sport athlete and thrived on the different arenas of competition. Coaches who make threats such as this aren’t good coaches. This only hurts the team. I do not see how any good can come from cutting a varsity starter for playing another sport. Like you stated it is common sense. Please keep me posted on this! I encourage other readers who have experienced similar dilemmas to share their insight. Thanks!

      – Respectfully

  16. Can a public high school coach threaten to bench a player because of thier opinion of the parent ?

    • If the parent did not physically threaten or use profanity towards the coach I would think it is a boggess claim, the coach might have an agenda. Seek legal counsel.

      • Can a high school coach make a statement to a kid that if thier parent goes to the game, they will be benched? Side note parent did nothing illeagal towards the coach.

        • My experience is they will bench a kid weather they can or can’t. Coaches rule, seems everyone bows down to the bullies! My son attends one of the top Prep schools in the country and has been bullied by his coach for years, mainly because I asked the coach a question he didnt like and caught him in a lie. He proceeded to take it out on my son. Head games and talking about him to other players. My son was also physically thrown onto the field by his coach and treated so poorly other players and parents went to the AD with concerns. My son is an athelte and would never complained he sees it as part of the game. ITS NOT
          We have taken him out of the school and are just now ready to take a stand since they can’t mess with him anymore.

      • Lawyers bring bills and new problems and it is great to go after these coaches but not through lawyers unless libel or slander exist. Psychological abuse doesn’t seem to be sustainable to get a conciction

  17. My son just started his first year of college and plays soccer for his school. What started out as a fine experience and season has now turned into what I consider a bullying situation. To be singled out amongst the team, yelled at in his face, called names (too vulger to repeat) I find unneccessary and down right wrong. Coaches who use this sort of motivation tactic need to be let go! Not all players respond to humiliation and embarrassment. Get to know your players!

    • Hey Kelly,

      You would think, or hope that a coach at this level of competition would realized that not only does this decrease motivation by ruining the athlete’s experience, but its is also instilling a fear of failure amongst his players. This will cause them to play tentatively to avoid making mistakes, rather then trust their ability, talent and experience during competition. I completely agree with your statement “Coaches who use this sort of motivation tactic need to be let go!” All coaches at this level should have some sport psychology training. Unfortunate they do not. The mental effects of one’s coaching approach can make or break a player. I had a coach like this during high school football. I was very talented and had a bright future in the sport. However, to avoid criticism and being ridiculed I would miss practice, and just stopped caring. When is was time to step up and perform I was thinking about what not to do rather then trusting my ability. This ruined the sport for myself and many other players. Rather then put the best talent on the field this coach had to settle for those athletes who responded to this type of motivational tactics, and it showed through our teams results. Thanks you for sharing. Have your son contact me anytime after 8:00 p.m or over the weekend. I would like to talk to him about how to overcome this barrier to his performance if he would like. Also to all the other parents and players who have responded to this article I would like to make the same offer. It has been a very hectic year for me personally and professionals so I haven’t been as involved with the website and my readers as I would have liked to. For that I apologize, and I want to thank you all for your comments and feedback.


      Mike Edger, MS MGCP

      • Mike, I just found your website and I would like to have my son speak with you. He just texted me from basketball practice today to say he is quitting the game he loves. A little background… My son played freshman basketball, was the captain of his team and a very good athlete. At the end of his freshman year he was moved up to Varsity to play in the post-season tournament. During the summer between his freshman year and his sophomore year, at the age of 14, he lost his dad. He and his dad were very close and often played basketball together and his dad was working closely with him on his game. My son was on the Varsity team at age 15 as a sophomore, however his coach was aware of the Senior teammates bullying and ridiculing him and he did nothing. My son is quiet and sensitive and wouldn’t fight back or speak up for himself. He had just lost his father unexpectly, was taking Pre-AP and AP classes, was being bullied and was sitting the bench when he was better than all of the guys (except one) who were playing. One game the starters scored 5 points in the first half (yes HALF) my son came in with a few seconds left in the half and hit a 3-pointer. Do you know what the coach did? The only person he chewed out at half-time was my son, for some stupid in-bounds play that didn’t effect the game in any way. I spoke to the coach because my son was seeing a therapist due to all the things he was dealing with and was on depression medication. I tried to get him to understand that this was about more than basketball and he should not allow his players to bully their teammates. It did nothing but perhaps make the situation worse. Well, it is now my son’s Junior year, he’s 16 and again he is on the Varsity team. Things started out great, my son was starting, was the leading scorer and was leading in assists thru the first 8 games. The team won their first 1st place tournament trophy EVER. My son received an all-tournament trophy. That’s when it started. I now know why the players were allowed to bully my son. They got it from the coach. The team was so excited and enthusiastic about playing as a team and winning. Well the coach quickly put a stop to that. He benched my son. The team went from scoring 70-80 points a game and winning to barely scoring 40 and losing. He told my son he wasn’t playing defense. Okay, he improved his defense. He still only played him limited minutes. The coach is VERY negative. Never a positive word out of his mouth. He belittles my son and now has him doubting himself and wanting to give up. Nothing my son does is ever good enough. Now when he does play he’s not playing very well. But the coach is happy. He has his excuse not to play him. The team is at odds. Today a new guy was added to the team and he plays my son’s position. I’m at a lost as to what to do. Some parents are starting to grumble, but then some are just happy their kid is playing. They don’t care if the team wins or not. My son is a competitor. He wants to play and he wants to win. The bad part about it is his he hasn’t done anything wrong, but he’s being made to feel like he has. Everybody else can make mistakes and stay in the game. As soon as my son misses a shot, the coach shakes his head and takes him out of the game. Even Michael Jordan didn’t make every shot. When he talked to the coach, the coach said my son was just being selfish. Any advice?

        • Sorry for the delayed reply I have been traveling since the new year. Please email me at mike@mentaledgeathletics.com to set up a good time to discuss this farther. In the event that this situation has been appropriately address since your post, I wish you and your son the best! Feel free to contact me directly in the future email or phone and I will get back to you within 24hrs. Thank you for sharing!

        • Wow, with what you described concerning the basketball coach and your son I felt like you were talking about my son and his coach. My son just told me tonight that he’s having thoughts that he is wasting his time. He is good enough to get to college with his basketball game. However he has been taking out of the starting line-up because the coach says he is selfish and doesn’t play good defense. None of which is supported when you watch the game film. He is the leading scoring and is leading in assists and has a minimum of 3 steals a game. His player also does not score on him. Yet he does nothing right as far as the coach is concerned. It breaks my heart to hear him say he feels like he is wasting his time about this game that he once loved so much! He absolutely doesn’t want me to address this with his coach and he says it would just be a waste of time for him to ask what he did to be treated this way in the first place. He really has no idea why his coach hates him so much and it is affecting him mentally!

          • It was breaking my heart to see my son go through this too. He came to me so frustrated and hopeless, saying “Mom there’s nothing I can do. Coach has all the power!” I don’t know if you believe or not, but at that moment I turned the situation over to God. I told my son that he was wrong, the coach did not have all the power. God does. I told my son to pray and let God handle it (basically because I just didn’t know what else to do) but also because I believed. My son was going through this for a reason. Now the coach had no real reason for treating my son this way, so what was God trying to teach my son? To depend on Him. To have a relationship with Him. My son prayed. He is now back in the starting line-up. Last week he scored 20 points and the coach who refused to select him as ‘player of the game’ in any of the previous games he did well in, had to select him because the next highest scorer had 6 points. The team is 5-1 since my son started playing again. There are still some little issues with the coach, but it keeps my son praying. I don’t know if this helps but I just don’t want these kids to feel helpless and hopeless. Please don’t let your son give up on the game he loves. There is something he can do. The coach is not all powerful. God is. Let Him handle it. It was a lesson for me too. I’m not stressing anymore.

  18. Hi Mike, I’ve been reading the posts here and can really relate to a lot of what is being said. My son is a 16 y.o. varsity football player. This is his first year on the varsity team. He played freshman football and was a starter on both sides of the ball. He had a great year as a freshman. He moved up to JV the following year and was a starter on both sides of the ball and was also a captain. He was well liked, worked very hard, and added a lot of value to both the freshman and JV teams. This year is a completely different story.

    When I first met his coach (and PE teacher) during the first back to school night last year, his first words to me were “I know R has told you that I don’t like him, but that is not true.” I was so taken aback that I couldn’t even think of anything to say…well as the year has progressed, it has become quite obvious that he has some sort of problem with my son. He doesn’t play him at all, ever. He ridicules him by telling him he is “immature,” and that if it weren’t for the OL coaches, he would have cut him, and he also told him not to try to be a leader (that it was the “wrong time”) after a very emotional loss a couple of weeks ago when my son was trying to get his teammates to hold their heads up high coming off the field.

    I am not the only parent that has concerns and some parents as well as players have made complaints…seemingly on deaf ears. No one seems to be able to do anything about the bully tactics of this coach (and PE teacher at the high school).
    I think one of the reasons that parents try to keep quiet is because the bully coach holds all the cards, the real fear is that even though they don’t like what is happening, if they say something and the coach finds out, there is a good chance that the bullying will get worse, or that their kid won’t get to play anymore.

    I’m at a loss as to what to do. My boy wants to play college football, he is a good, smart player with the potential to be a great player…but what good college could ever see that if he doesn’t get the opportunity to play and produce a recruiting highlight film?
    As far as the so called “immaturity” well, I will tell you that he was awarded the Hope of America Award, he is a member of the Civil Air Patrol, the Venturing Crew, the National Honor Society, and has the drive and determination to go far. He is the type of kid that every teacher wants in their classroom and makes us proud. I don’t really understand what is wrong with this guy. My son knows the coach doesn’t like him…it is really very sad. Aren’t there psychological tests that we could make coaches take and pass?
    Thanks for listening!

    • Thank you for your comment. I am over booked this week and haven’t had time to fully read you comment and respond. I will get back to you as soon as I can.

    • M,

      Thanks you for your comment. There are currently some tests and assessment schools use when considering an applicant as coach. There are also some certification programs that coaches may be require to take that address the psychological aspects of sports. However, these assessments and programs are in need of improvement. Research professionals in the flied are currently making huge strides in the development of assessment tool. Sport Psychology Today will be making one available in our product section as well as a training course for coaches on the Mental Game of Sports and Coaching.

      We also just opened a discussion forum to provide better insight on this topics from professionals and sports parents. The link is below:


    • My son has similar issues. Hewas a standout defensive lineman in middle school. As a freshman we had to change schools do to a job. At the new school he was a varsity starter and received an invitation group a national football camp. After the one year we moved back to his old school. The defensive coordinator there is constantly telling him he is no good in front of the rest of the team. He has even told hum that we as parents were paying this football camp to send emails to the coach telling him how good our son is. Despite all of this our son is still receiving college visit invitations for a potential scholarship. However the coach and high school principal are now hounding him to give up telling him he is too small. By the way, my son does have a learning disability that he has overcome.

  19. I wondered if you could tell me if I’m being too critical of the coach/athletic director in the following situation:

    My son is a junior and he played spring golf his sophomore year as something to do since he broke his back during football season. He enjoyed golf so much and even works at the golf course in the maintenance area. He spent every day during the summer before and after work practicing. He LOVED to play! We were excited that during Fall golf this year, he would letter!

    Now here begins the story. During one of the golf tournaments (a home tourney) he saw a group in front of them vandalize the t box (placing a huge letter I in the t box- greens). When my son was up next he actually saw it up close and was upset. 1. He was upset at what the kid did as he knew he’d have to probably fix it when he went to work the next day 2. He was upset at the way he was playing. In the heat of the moment, he swung his club in frustration and ended up making a divet in the t-box as well. The next week the coach confronted him and he admitted to doing it. The coach informed him that he’d be off the team, couldn’t compete for conference in order to compete for state and that he’d be fired from the golf course. When my son told me, I questioned why he would do this. He then explained the whole story. Which he’s a black and white kind of kid, no fluff just says it how it is and is honest. I told him that he needed to explain why he did what he did. Not that it made it right that he did do that out of frustration and would still have to pay the consequences but at least they would better understand. He wanted to take care of the situation on his own. He wanted to do this in person, so he went to work and spoke with his immediate supervisor who told him that they knew he wouldn’t intentionally do that and that everything was ok (again, it wasn’t the right thing to do but everything was fine). He had to wait 2 days for the owner of the golf course to come back from vacation to also speak with him man to man. He too understood and all was fine.

    This is where mom comes into play, even though he wanted to handle it himself. I called the coach and explained that I was calling simply to get clarification as to where things stand (is he indefintely off the team for the remainder of his high school career, is he just now ineligible to play for conference, does he still letter…..you know, what are the details)? He said no, no, no, he’s not kicked off the team, he’s just not eligible since he does not have playing rights any longer on the golf course. He can still come to team dinners and can still letter. I questionned why he thought that the player didn’t have rights at the golf course as he had already talked to his supervisor and the owner and all was good. In fact, he would be working out there during the weekend and will be playing after he’s done with work. By this time 2 days had already passed of him missing practice due to what the coach said and therefore disqualified him playing the very next day in conference. I explained to him that the he, as coach, had to say in if he can play at the golf course or lose his job anymore than the golf owner has in him playing on the high school team. He then said, well we can have the owner call the athletic director, myself and the principal and discuss all this about conference. I said you know, what he did was wrong, and he has to pay the consequence and him missing out on conference and state is a pretty big lesson for him to learn. Now, fast forward to last nights award dinner. The JV all got certificates of participation and a photograph of the team. The Varsity players also got a certificate of participation, their letter and the team photograph. My son and another player were excluded. They got 0 recognition. I inquired after the dinner was done to ask, does he at least get a team photo? He said as he’s turning away from me making no eye contact and stuffing his paperwork into his briefcase didn’t he talk to you. I said yes, he said that for some reason he wouldn’t get his letter until spring however, you as a coach should have at least acknowledged him as part of the team! I told him that was unacceptable. He didn’t care. I told him I’d contact the athletic director the next day to inquire. So I don’t know if it was at the direction of the director or the coach himself. What should have been a shining moment in my sons career was tarnished because of poor leadership from the coach. This was his first time of EVER lettering and he worked so hard for this to simply be dismissed during such an event is not very sportsman like. What are the coaches supposed to be teaching these kids. In my eyes, it is a form of being bullied in front of his teammates and adults! I have placed a call to the athletic director to phone me to schedule an appointment to see him as I feel this warrants a personal meeting! Please tell me, am I over re-acting? I think kids are going to make mistakes and will hopefully learn from them but that should never give someone the right to totally dismiss them. My analogy to that is: If your child was naughty and you say now you don’t get to sit in the family photo” . Thanks for reading my concerns. I look forward to any feedback any of you can provide.

    • Sorry for the delay in getting back to you. No I do not think you are over re-acting and in situations like this speaking with the AD would definitely be the next step. I understand why your son was unable to letter due to missing some important tournaments and a portion of the season, but I agree that as a member of the team he should not have been excluded from the team picture. Some coaches like to make examples of kids and unfortunately, your son seems to be a victim of this approach. Was the other player excluded from letting and the photo for disciplinary reasons? I am interested in hearing what the athletic director had to say?

      In the meantime if you are getting nowhere with the coach or the AD your son has a couple of options.

      1. Obtain a waiver from the school to play for another team.
      2. Put the situation behind him and do what it takes to move on. This involves focusing on what he needs to do in the present to achieve his goals for the upcoming season.

      This is only a setback and a lot can be learned when faced with adversity. If he dwells on the situation and let its drag on he may regret it in the future.

      As a high school football athlete I was in a similar situation my junior year. At our banquet as I waited for my name to be called to receive my letter I was passed over although I was an off an on varsity starter. My family was there and a night I waited for all season ended in embarrassment. The coach explained that he simply forgot but for me it was not that simple. This coach was a “bully coach” and because I player three sports in high school he held it against me. I did get my letter the next day but soon after I quit. Although football may not have been my best sport it was definitely my favorite and I regret my decision because what I didn’t realize at that time was that I would never have the opportunity to play again.

      All and all its about the love for the game and having the opportunity to play. Your son has a few seasons a head of him so if he and the coach can come to a resolution and put this situation the past this would be the best outcome. As for you I suggest that you continue to support your son, but understand that to make the best of this situation he needs to get back on the course earn his letter. Do not let the coach control your sons future in the sport. Its not about him or a team photo. Its about your sons love of the game. If playing for this coach is going to continue to effect that then a change needs to be made.

      – Mike MS, MGCP

  20. I am current watching bullying occur on the Holly Springs Football team. One of the coach utilizes his position to create an environement that does not align with the values and expectations outlined in the within Wake County Public School Policies. He consistent berates, tries to humiliate certain players and has thrown a tantrum at one of the meeting by turning items over, tossing chairs during the meeting..and referring to the players as female genitial. Several of the players seem to have lost a great deal of motivation to player at their best because of the constant demeaning behavior, but unfortunately, parents often are willing to stand idle because of a fear that they have regarding the retribution that will be focused on their child if they speak out.

    • If parents elect to stay idle they are just as guilty as the coach by enabling his behavior. With a coach like this they should fear the short and long term effects his behavior may have on their child’s well-being if they do not take action. Someone needs to be the first to stand up and say something which I encourage you to do. Strength is in numbers and from your comment I am sure other parents feel the same way. I suggest going directly to the athletic director or school board. If an employee is not following the values and expectations outlined within an organization then the customers will ask to speak to their managers if they cannot resolve the issue with the employee.

      In a situation like this if the parents are afraid just imagine how their children feel. Coaches are suppose to be leaders, role models and someone who set a good example for their player. Not only can this type of behavior diminish motivation, confidence, self-esteem, but it can also encourage other players to act out in this manner. Is only a matter of time until a select few players begin bullying other players, losing emotional control during games, or throwing tantrums such as arguing with the refs.

      Kids rely on their parents to stand up for them and it is their responsibility!!!

      • My son too, is also going through a similar situation in which the coach has screamed foul language at my son and called my son names in front of the whole football team, actually one instance just happened yesterday and the coach plays the favoritism game. My son has asked me on numerous occasions not to report his coach’s behavior or say something to his coach about the coach’s behavior towards my son because he is afraid of the retaliation from his coach. For instance, that he may never let him play again.
        My son has carried a football around with him since he was approx. 3 yrs old. He loves football, football is his passion. My son is a Quarterback and he can play the game very well. Right now his team (JV) is 8 – 0 on the season. We moved to this area in October 2010 so my son never got the opportunity to play for his new school that year. They then hire a new head coach starting at the beginning of the 2011-2012 year. So my son and the new head coach came in to the school about the same time. They already had two Quarterbacks on Varsity from the previous year and they never tried to look at my son for Varsity QB so my son was starting JV QB during his sophomore year. Last year after football season my son had a disagreement with his ROTC instructor and the coach was informed of the disagreement by the ROTC instructor then coach kicked him off of the football team.
        In the beginning, our new head coach advised all of the parents and the players of his NO TOLERANCE policy. My son was so upset, he thought his life was over and he would never get to play football again. I scheduled a meeting with the coach and my son promised never to do it again. Coach then advised my son that he would have to work very hard if he ever wanted to be allowed to join the team again, then in additional to that he was required to write one letter of apology to the ROTC instructor and one letter of apology to the football team. My son kept with his promise to do everything. We worked through out the summer at the gym to get him ready for football season. Just before spring practice my son wrote the letters of apology and shortly thereafter the coach advised my son that he could start working out with the team again. My son is a junior and should be on the varsity team. This is where everything starts getting bad. At the very beginning of this school year in August when my son received his class schedule for his Junior year he was scheduled to be in the Varsity weight lifting/football class with this varsity coach as his teacher and before the week was up the coach had my son’s schedule changed and moved him to the Junior Varsity weight lifting/football class, with no explanation why, which is taught by the JV Head coach and he moved my son back over to the JV team. My son has decided to stay and play on the JV team(even though he has been ridiculed by varsity players because he was moved to the JV) just so he can get playing time because the coach just will not play him on the varsity team and we just don’t understand why. My son dresses out and practices with both the JV and the Varsity. JV first and then the last hour of practice he has to move over and practice with the varsity. He is the back up QB for varsity. He has never officially been told that he is the back up QB for varsity but he is the only other QB they have. During practice the starting QB can make a mistake on a play and the coach will respond like this, “it’s ok son you will get it next time” but when my son takes the snaps and makes a mistake on a play like that he screams in my sons face about messing up on the play. This type of behavior has happened many, many times. Other times when my son is taking the snaps during practice the coach walks away and doesn’t even watch so he can coach my son and teach my son the ways of the game. Recently the head coach was diagnosed with two forms of cancer (Bone and Kidney) so he has been getting a lot of support from the community, school faculty, students, and their families. He has been having chemo treatments and only shows up for occasional team practices now but he is always there on Friday night for the Varsity game. So he was at football practice yesterday standing on the sidelines of the field just like my son. Somehow during the commotion of the practice my son accidently bumped into the coach and the coach says to my son, “you f—ing idiot, watch where the f— you are going”.
        When my son told me of the accident and what this coach said to him I was livid. Now I have decided to do something but I want to take the right course of action though. Just an FYI, the varsity team is 3 – 6 on this season as of now and last year I believe they only won one game.

  21. I opened a discussion forum to allow this topic to be discussed openly and encouraging sports parents, athletes, and professionals to share their opinions.


  22. I am in the midst of fighting to have a basketball coach removed. My son attends a school in the archdiocese of Chicago. This coach has had a history of being terrible. Last basketball season he left 11 year olds unattended on numerous occasions. One of the times our children were found over a half an hour into their practice by our principle yet our principle did nothing. This coach did not show up for many games and parents had to get out of the stands and coach so the team would not forfeit. Many of the practices he sent a friends high school son. On the few occasions that he has shown up, he was not nice to the children and I am being kind by writing about his attitude so nicely.
    I have been to the principle, the athletic director, the president of the athletic association and I feel like my husband and I our up against the good old boy network. His abuse of these kids was so bad, some of the boys no longer what to play basketball.

    My husband was asked if he was interested in coaching and has offers to step up and take over but this man is part of a cliche and seem to have a lot of clout.

    I just heard that the athletic director, principle, interim pastor and the president of the athletic board had a meeting last week but they will not tell anyone what the outcome was. The president said they would be calling my husband shortly. We have a feeling that they want him to be his assistant coach and “dump” all the kids he does not want to coach. That is what he did last season. We are a no cut school and he put what he perceived as the best 7 kids on on team and all the rest on on the “B” team and treated them horribly. The “A” team parents we not that pleased with him either.

    I downloaded the Chicago archdiocesan athletic rules that was sent by our school administrator and he is in clear violation of the rules. They clearly state that leaving the children unattended; you are removed. Even is the case of an emergency, you need to ensure the safety of the children and notify the school that the coach will not be there and a suitably replacement is to be found or cancel practice. Our teachers have to have a pass, hand that pass to the person who watches the class, while the teacher goes to the bathroom.

    Two volleyball coaches, who never missed a game or a practice, were removed as coaches because a few parents did not like their coaching style. Numerous parents sent letters to the powers that be yet nothing has been done.

    I am at a loss as to why the rules are not being applied to this man. I will be Pursuing other avenues outside the school shortly. I now realize how guys like Sandusky get away with abusing kids for so long. They depended on people not getting involved, exceptions in the rules being made and a blind eye being turned.

    I am resolute in getting this guy removed before he damages my son.

    • Rose,

      Good for you if your son needs to talk to anyone about overcoming the effects of bully coaches you can have him call me no charge. Coaches like this can have a negative affect of kids confidence and mental approach to games. Some kids develop a fear of which causes them to have doubts, worry about making mistakes, and play tentatively, rather than trusting their instincts and taking risks. For example hesitating to take open shots, thinking too much on free throws, or passing the ball more when he has an opportunity to make a play. These kids tend to also dwell on mistakes which can lead to frustration and effect composure. This takes the athletes head out of the game. Rather then focusing on what they need to do to in the present moment to perform successfully they are thinking about the mistake they made or what the coach is thinking.

      To perform their best athletes need to have high levels of confidence which is a strong belief in their ability to succeed or perform a task successfully. They need to play free of doubt and trust their skills and preparation. And most importantly they need to focus on their game, not the coach and what the coach is thinking, or what will happen if he makes a mistake. Bully Coaches can affect an athletes performance and mental game in a number of ways which is why it is important for parents to take action.

      I opened up a public discussion on this topic on our discussion page under mental training resources. This will allow our experts and other parents a better better opportunity to respond and offer advice. Do you mind if I move your comment to the discussion section?

      Discussion Forum

      Mike Edger MS, MGCP

      • Not at all. I would welcome any advice on how to take on administrations that protect the coaches and not the kids.

  23. I am experiencing a problem with a high school coach. He has been known to verbally humiliate players in the past, but the main problem others have had with him, and we are having with him now, is his decision to exclude certain players. Our daughter plays for a top club team, and has garnered alot of college interest, however, she and a few other girls were told by this high school coach that she couldn’t compete and would be spending alot of time on the bench. She gets alot of positive feedback during practices, but he will only put her in during the last few minutes of a game when they are assured that the game is already won. Kids feel pride when playing for their high school teams, but for the players on the bench (who have as much ability as those who are starting), it is humiliating. She tried asking what she could do to get some time, but how is she supposed to prove anything in 5 mins of game time? Like I said, she gets alot of positive feedback during practice. She will be a senior next year, and at this point, she probably won’t even go out for the team. I just feel that someone who refuses to give players a chance and who makes players feel excluded and humiliated is someone who has no business coaching youth sports.

  24. This is really great information and thank you to everyone for sharing your stories. I get the sense that we all believe in the positive benefits children can get from participating in sport. It is meant to teach self-discipline and the value of working hard to attain goals. Children and young adults should be learning leadership and teamwork, which is the ability to mentor others when they are struggling as well as give credit to all who contribute (large and small) to the team’s success.

    My daughter is nine years old and participates in competitive cheerleading. I have a good relationship with the gym owners and we are in agreement about the state of youth sports (child = >18; youth 18-25). Children are being pushed to win … right out the gate. Coaches seem to have lost sight of “coaching” as teaching, nurturing, motivating, and helping children celebrate their own success. The focus is on results rather than the learning process and the gradual acquisition of skill and confidence.

    I personally have never witnessed a coach physically harm an athlete (slapping, etc.). However, my daughter has been assigned “corrective conditioning” in the form of physical drills (pushups, laps, etc.) to curb infarctions from talking too much during practice, to lackluster performance, to dropping teammates during stunts. Many of the coaches argue that this is a way to maintain order during practices or to teach the importance of safety during stunts (cheerleading is responsible for roughly 65% of catastrophic injuries to female athletes at the high school and college levels). I will be clear in that our athletes, to my knowledge, have never been punished for poor performance at competition. This only seems to be an issue during practice.

    I agree with the parent who said that we are making a huge effort to teach children not to bully each other, yet coaches (and parents) are sending a very contradictory message with their own behavior. The problem is what exactly is bullying? What about that very gray area of emotional/psychological abuse? You don’t have to raise your voice or raise a fist to make a child feel inadequate. And doesn’t emotional abuse lay the groundwork for all other abuse? A child may not able to distinguish between what warrants 10 laps or 10 lashes. And why is that when we wouldn’t allow a stranger, a babysitter, a daycare worker, or a teacher to do these things to our kids, coaches get a free pass?

    It is an unfortunate reality that we are the unheard population of parents in youth sports. When we find ourselves up against these coaches most of us end up pulling our kids from the game. What remains are the die-hard parents who have been swept up by the machine. Trophies and first place ribbons and award ceremonies are what give kids their self-esteem. These parents measure their own abilities by the success of their children. And it is these parents who are in the ears of coaches and asking, “why isn’t my kid starting? Why aren’t you winning? He’s the best player and you’re making him sit out an inning? I’ve paid all this money to be in this elite program and sent my kid to camp and bought the best equipment … and I want a return on my investment!” So it is not just the coaches pushing for wins. Parents are also playing their part in the corruption.

    I am currently working with the gym owners in an effort to change the mentality of their coaches. And the coaches are not happy. Habit is hard to break, especially since most of these coaches experienced the same sports environment when they were children. So it is a culture we are up against not just a few individuals. Yes, I have considered moving my daughter to another program, but I suspect we would find ourselves in the exact same predicament, or worse. So I am settled in right where I am and working to make a small change here and hopefully set an example for other programs.

    I’ve been at this for four months now. My dining room table has disappeared beneath all the research I’ve collected. Book after book, article after article, blog after blog … emotional, psychological, physical abuse in child sports reaps not a single positive result, except maybe a first place trophy. And you know, back in my day, they were still made with marble bases and solid metal figures on top. Today, well, we are trading our kids’ future for plastic.

    • Bravo for you to try to help change a culture. What a well written comment. It is sad that more parents don’t have the same ethics when it comes to their children. Too many of today’s youth feel overwhelming pressure to be th best and end up taking their lives. To find out it’s all for plastic is sick. Thank you for advocating for them.

  25. Our son was recently bullied by his soccer coach. Fortunately this man does not regularly coach our son.We withdrew him from the team mid-tournament and left the coach short of players. A decision we all had no problem with.
    I have to say there appears to be a lot of reasons that coaches bully players, one is simply ignorance on the coaches part. Many coaches have no idea of the consequences of how they go about their job.Some believe they will actually help your child toughen up. Unfortunately many coaches have their own agendas, usually trying to prove themselves and they dont care who they step on to get there.Clearly there needs to be a lot more education put into the training of coaches with regards to psychology.
    However at amatuer levels there is not much chance of that happening as many coaches are volunteers.
    We have decided to be more discerning about who we allow to coach our son.
    He has had some wonderful coaches. They have been men and women who have treated him with respect and whos ultimate goal is not always the score at the end of a game.

    • Thank you for your comment and sharing your experience. I am encouraging all athletes and sports parents to use the new Discussion Forum for all comments, questions, and posts. This is a better way of facilitating discussion and responses from our team, sport psychologist, parents, and experts who specialize in this specific area. The is currently a forum open on bullying in sports and bully coaches. Here is the link:




      • I have tried several times to click on the links provided for the New Discussion Forum and it keeps telling me the link is broken. And yes I have tried different links from different posts including the original one. :/

        • Thank you so much for letting us know! The current forum is a wordpress pluggin we have had some issues with. We are in the process of developing a more direct forum for our readers to share thoughts and ideas. Please email your discussion questions and we will add it while we do our best to correct this issues.


  26. My son has played football for three years now and this season was the best and the worst hes had. he had alot of pressure on him this year, so much that he dosent want to play anymore. he is 10 years old and if i were him i wouldnt have made it through the season.the coach came to me before the first game and said they were gonna bench him for the firsr game because he didnt believe he was doing his best when he was playing, i agreed he should sit out because he really wasnt going after the ball. this was just the begining of our problems this season. my son had a problem throwing up during wind sprints and the coaches just kept yelling at him to run faster,i told him to pace himself because they are gonna yell weather you run as fast as u can or not, but he didnt believe that was ok, so he kept playing and throwing up during practice all season. He got teased at school and was on the verge of tears befor every practice. this was so hard for me to watch, i couldnt wait for this season to be over. On one hand he played a thousand times better during games, he made a few tackles on his own and was in on alot of tackles. but on the other hand he was under alot of pressure. His team won the championship this year. So we go to the banquet and and all of the kids and coaches get up and talk about a moment they remember from the season and a player they believed made some improvement, needless to say not one player or coach acknoleged his effort.at one point during the banquet my son says to me ” its like im not even here.” And on top of all of that i guess they didnt get trofys either. he put in all of that effort got sick at every practice made plays in the games and all he got was a picture of him standing on the sidelines. thank you bellevue football, it only took nine grown men to break the will of a ten year old boy.

  27. My daughter I believe is a victim of bullying from her coach along with 3 other girls who are not super athletes but show up for every practice, game, tournament and try very hard.The coach is abusive with the tone of voice she uses, facial expression, body language, etc. At practices she splits them up from the other 6 girls(whom play club volleyball) not having them pratice as a team. She is actually afraid to be put on the volleyball court in fear she may make a mistake and be yelled at in front of the opponenets, fans etc. which the coach usually does.It’s embarrassing and humuliating.If she needs something to say I think the coach should take her off tell her what she did wrong so she can correct it. I’m afraid to speak with her about it as my daughter is a high academic student and gets along well with the other teachers,and I feel that may jepardize her marks. Teachers stick together.I know the coach wants to win but this is grade 9!! and its still suppossed to be fun.I’m a true believer in FAIRPLAY. Your thoughts?

    • I played vollyball for 2 years and my sister was an incredible player. I moved on to cross ocuntry and track and now run for a university. My sister was bullied by the coach and she decided to quit and not play her senior year. The coach just didn’t like her, no reason at all. My sister came to every practice and always did everything she was told. The coach would play horrible players over my sister who was really good, my mom had other parents asking her why my sister was getting to play because she was obviously better than the girls the coach played. My sister finally broke down this year after the coach said that she wouldn’t have playing time on varsity. She came home and cried, which is seriouse because she never cries NEVER. So if your daughter is afraid to be on the court she can do a few things. She can choose a different sport, that really helped me. Leaving vollyball for running and basketball(those became my passions). She can stand up to the coach and voice her concerns(Let her talk to the coach. She needs to be mature about it though.) One last thing is that it is very normal for a coach to yell at a player while on the court, your daughter will have to get used to that. I had some really tough coaches, were they mean sometimes, yes. But they made me a better athlete and a stronger person.

  28. My teammates and I are bullied by our coach everyday. i run cross ocuntry in college and all of my teammates are hard workers. I’ve allways have coaches that worked me really hard and were tough on me, but my new coach is verbally abusive. He tries to turn us aginst eachother, lies to us about silly things and talks about getting rid of some of my teammates is he can find faster freshamn. Recently he told the guys(while a recruit was visiting) that some of the girls were getting fat(which isn’t true at all we all run 10-12 miles a day). He tells us to do dangerous things, lie only eat 700 calories a day and so on. I LOVE running, but he has made me want to transfer schools. I’m going to stick it out, but I think I’m going to talk to the Athletic Director and the Dean of Student Affairs, becasue what he is doing is wrong and hurting the team.

  29. There’s definately a lot to know about this subject. I like all of the points you have made.

  30. I have a 15 year-old son who got caught experimenting with alchol by a foofball coach. I know what my did was wrong and have dealt with him about the situation. During discussions with my son he confided in me that an assistant coach had cursed him at the time he was caught told him to get his D***** A**** off school property and let his parents pick him up a store approx one half mile down the road My son had already called me and I was on my way to the school which i about a 15 min drive), the time of the incident was approx 1:30 am in the morning and the football team was planning to leave on a reward trip at 2:30 am. In addition to my concerns over the action of my son, I am alarmd that the cursing took place plus this was a rual setting and who knows what could have happened had I not pulled into the field house parking lot to pick up my 15 year-old son as he was leaving as the coach had instructed him to do. I reported the incident to school administrtors, but to my knowledge no action was taken address my concerns about the coach.

  31. You know how you sit and watch for almost four years and think I can’t say anything because it will be even worse for my daughter well whether you say any thing or not doesn’t matter because it is bad already. I have watched her support and stick with her team even though every other girl quit. I saw her start out her year playing great and you know what I don’t think the coach liked that she was doing so well so he did what he could do to find excuses to stamp out that spirit and now she sits the bench and doesn’t get to start even though she is the only senior on the team because he has decided he does not like her. Why is that I don’t know hope to find out today and then hope to get to the bottom of it maybe because she suggested something that a losing coach doesn’t want any suggestions. Well will he tell the truth I say not but at least he will finally know I know what he is doing and maybe just maybe it will be a little harder for him to continue to do what he is doing. My daughter began high school as a great athlete and she is still one but certain coaches just decide they are not going to like your child and that is that. It is to bad they let people like that be coaches.

    • I feel really bad for you. My daughter is going through the same thing. We caught the coach in a lie and asked her about it and this year after already playing four years for her (she’s a Junior now) was cut from the team. There has got to be a way of stopping these coaches from abusing their power and only acknowledging those that brown nose and donate “big” and ignoring the ones that work hard, are faithfully and loyal to the sport

  32. I have a 12yr old son who loves basketball. He made the 6th grade boys traveling team which was a surprise since he only played organized basketball for a year. It been brought to my attention that the coach has singled out my son in practices by screaming at all the time and making him sit out. It has put him in such a bad spot mentally that he wants to quit because no matter what he does out on the court its wrong and he feel he is hurting the team. (keep in mind that there are a lot of kids making mistake and nothing is said) In games the coach plays him for only a minute and you could see the anger he has for him when he is out there. Rule says all players play so I guess he following the rule by playing him a minute of a 38 min. game. As a parent it hurts me to see this and I feel if I bring this up to the coach its only going to make matters worse but if he quits I don’t want the team thinks he is a quitter. I need help on how to deal with this dilemma.

  33. My daughter is going through what I believe is bullying at her high school. She is a first year freshman and on the softball team. The coach singles her out in groups of other players a ridicules her for the same thing other players are doing but makes an example of her in front of other players. The coach has also demeaned her parents in front of other players. My daughter is losing her spirit for the love of the game. She says she will just play this year but not return next season. It hurts my heart to hear this as I know and she has told me that she would rather not go through this with the coach. It’s ironic because her dad and I have raised her to be respectful and not talk back to adults, elders, teachers, etc.. However, she tells me that what took her over the top recently was the coach demeaning me, the parent and she said it got her so very mad because the coach was being disrespectful to her mother who was not even there to defend herself. Basically she said it was rude and showed that he was a chicken sh@t as if he/she really felt that way then they should be big enough to say it to your face, not behind your back.

    High school sports has become completely ridiculous! I think these coaches actually see themselves as “larger than life!” As parents, we are left with very little recourse because as someone said earlier, the high school turns a blind eye to the behavior and, the parent is discouraged by the child to get involved as for them, it’s just easier to “quit” the sport for some jerk of a coach and kill their dreams of ever being any type of successful athlete.

    Another thing that this coach seems more interested in is collecting a hefty amount of money from each player. They call the money “donations” however, I never donate to anyone who bully’s my child. This has become more about money than the sport. I’m convinced that there is some sort of misdoings taking place with the money however, if I sit in on one of their board meetings, it looks like I don’t believe where the money is going which is absolutely true but why announce it when I know it will do more harm than good! I have already got in touch with the school district office and everything the coach has on the paper that the “donation” money would go towards, the school district already supplies. So, you can see where on top of the coach bullying my child, I also believe he’s a thief!

    I’m 15 years old. I’ve played club and travel volleyball every year for 5 years (club-6th and 7th grade; travel 8th 9th and 10th). I loved volleyball. However, 8th grade year, I hated it. I was bullied on my team. When I became a Freshman for school season, I played JV, and my love was revived. So I played travel again, and I loved it. Sophomore year, I made Varsity, and (again) loved it! But this club season has been HORRIBLE! My coach makes me run ALL THE TIME. She embarrasses me and yells at me too. (She makes everyone.) I don’t know if I hate the sport or just hate my coach. I dread practices, I hate tournaments, but I find myself looking forward to Open Gym (for my school season.) I think I have been burned out–we play tournaments almost every weekend starting in January and ending in June. We practice 4 hours a week and condition 2 hours a week beginning in December and ending in June. Then school ball starts in July (we either practice or play 5 times a week) and ends late in October. I get about a month and a half off. I’m so confused–should I quit? I think I’m just burned out. But I’m scared to quit because next year is my junior year, and if I have a future in volleyball, junior year is THE WORST season to quit. I DON’T KNOW WHAT TO DO!

    • Is there another club vb team to play for? Keep your head up. You love the game. Youre an awesome player. Do NOT let these coaches push you out! Here’s our story: My 8th grade daughter started club volleyball in 5th grade and loved it until this year. She had a great school season, earning the MVP and invited to all conference team and started the club season on a high. I truly believe her coach bullies and benches certain players including her. Up until this season she’s started and got lots of play time. Her team stayed pretty much the same with the exception of two players who moved up. Only the coach changed. This club season, she may have played the equivalent of one set. When she does play he, she goes in to serve, cold, and if she misses, is immediately pulled out. She is yelled at for a bad pass when his darlings have done worse, and ridiculed for mistakes. She knows she screwed up. Her confidence is gone. She still likes the game but I could tell her spark has faded. Other parents have approached me about this. They know, they feel it too, even the favorites know others are treated unfailry. I feel stuck. I told my daughter to stay n the game and be ready. It sucks. We have 2 tournaments left then we ‘re gone from that club. The team hasn’t been as successful . Bully coaches hurt everyone. Except him. Nothing’s his fault. I try not to stay much to my daughter about this. She still plans to do summer conditioning at the high school she’ll be attending. She’s talented and driven and it’s upsetting when her current coach doesn’t see that. just like I tell my daughter…do your best, hang in there, you WILL outlast, move past the BULLY coach and find your fit. Good luck!

  35. Ok…I know this is kinda an old post but I have a question ad I really hope someone can help me because I am at the end of my rope. My daughter will a a junior next year. She has cheered since she was in 4th grade. Since 4th grade there has been one girl that has given her a very hard time and bullied her all through elementary school as well as high school. This girl is now a popular girl…anyway….my daughter would come home this year crying telling me no one would let her speak. Telling me she had to raise her hand at practice and they still wouldn’t let her speak. I even witnessed this one day from the coach of all people! I just brushed it aside until one day the coach announced she was moving 3 girls up from JV to Varsity. She held a tryout and 6 girls tried out. 3 were moved up, not my daughter. Although irritated we let it go. Well then there was a “rumor” that the coach told all the girls the scores of the tryouts and she was adding another girl. I called the principal who was a joke and he told me how awesome the cheer coach is etc. Anyway, got a call from the coach asking me why I didn’t call her directly…DUH! She said she didn’t give scores and she was not adding another girl…well she did! I lost my cool close to this year tryouts when my daughter told me the cheer coach was the only one judging tryouts. I went to the superintendent and complained. Even followed up with a letter stating I believed the coach was bullying her. Not directly but she was encouraging it because she seems to cater to the popular girls. The superintendent assured me they would have a meeting and then told me they changed stuff in the cheer rules. Well tryouts have now happened. There were 4 judges….cheer coach, assistant coach, jr high coach and jr high assistant. My daughter just learned a level 4 gymnastic skill and is the only one on the team that is even close to getting it. She did make Varsity football but on the competition team was knocked down to the JV squad. Even though no one else has the level 4 tumbling. I am furious and only the popular girls made the competition team. So, I have a call into the superintendent but have no heard a word.. Where do I take it after this because I want something done!

  36. The best way to deal with a bully is to beat the tar out of him.

  37. In response to Discouraged Mom. Whether your daughter can perform better or worse then her peers isn’t the issue here. What is the issue is whether your daughter is being treated fairly, honestly and equally. This is the issue the school needs to address. The coach should be helping to make your daughter feel comfortable with the decision made, and if you as a parent have concerns, the coach should be helping you to understand as well. If this fails then the principal should be involved, if his efforts fail than the superintendent should be involved. If none of this is happening, even after you have addressed it directly with the superintendent and principal, then you as well as your daughter are being singled out. Plain and simple. I would take the matter up with the Board of Education speaking out at the next public board meeting. There is normally some time set aside on their monthly meeting agenda for public participation. If it’s even for only three-minutes, this should give you enough time to state your point and let them know the principle and superintendent have failed to resolve your concern and have even ignored your most recent inquiry. This will put the School Board on alert and hopefully instigate the superintendent to want to arrive at a favorable resolution. Most schools have anti-bullying policies in place that they can refer to. Keep in mind however that these policies don’t normally address teacher-to-student, or coach-to-student bullying, but typically only address student-to-student bullying. Nonetheless, bullying is bullying whether it is student-to-student or adult-to-student. Good luck.

    • RickRock,

      Thank you for sharing your thoughts and advise. I strongly encourage readers to participate in this discussion to provide others with insight on how to deal with bullying in sports. I enjoyed readying your response and agree with the points you made.

  38. Greetings! Very useful advice in this particular article!

    It’s the little changes which will make the largest changes. Thanks for sharing!

  39. When I originally commented I seem to have clicked on the -Notify me when new comments are added- checkbox
    and from now on whenever a comment is added I get 4 emails with the same comment.

    Perhaps there is a way you can remove me from that service?

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  41. This website is devoted to helping kids and parents report the bullying incidents in an anonymous way to let the coaches know someone is watching their every move and will not let bullying from adults go unpunished.

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  43. My daughters attend a small town school graduating class approx. 100 students. My children are in sixth and eighth grade. OUR high school coach is the head of a club volleyball program called the SOUTHERN OHIO VOLLEYBALL CLUB or SOVC for short. My eighth grader has played 2 years of SOVC club and 2 years of junior high volleyball. She is a hard worker. The division that both of these programs are creating in our school is phenomenal. Half of our varsity volleyball team quit last year (some seniors) because they said it just wasn’t fun anymore and they always left practice with heavy hearts. TWO GIRLS WERE BRAVE ENOUGH TO COME BACK THIS YEAR AND THEY ARE GOOD, ONLY TO TWEET AFTER PRACTICES ” It is pretty bad when you go home crying every night from practice” Numerous parents have complained about our high school coach. The number of things that go on in this are too numerous to mention but i’ll name a few. Beach volleyball trips where only a “select few” from our school team are invited (2players this year its four).Its not that these kids are better because I could at least understand that. BESIDES the unfair advantages that go on inside the school, there are unfair advantages in this club, like giving early contracts to some players who are at the same skill level as others. There are extra practices no charge for some kids that paid the exact same$650 dollar bill. People say thats aclub its their choice, but they are practicing right inside our gym at our public school under the excluded kids noses. The girls who quit the previous year said the mind games got to be so much they couldn not handle it anymore. I’m an adult 37 years old and I cant hardly handle watching these kids go through this.I ‘VE thought about moving to another school district I’ve thought about going to the school board, but you do not cross this woman coach she will ruin your child and she knows how to do it legally (sneaky). She was moved from our schools secretary position because of so many complaints about her intimidating demeanor. She was moved to a back office job. ONE fourth grade club girl was experiencing panic attacks after her third year of club pressure. They happened on the court and she had to sit out the last two years because of it. I’m in desperate need of some advice I am almost certain theres grounds for legal action there are tons of testimonials I DONT want money I want OUR childrens peace of mind. Can you help?

  44. My family always say that I am killing my
    time here at net, except I know I am getting experience everyday by reading such nice articles or reviews.

  45. Hi my daughter has been playing ball since she was 4 , always had love for the game. Played little league, softball, and even tried out. For babe Ruth & made it. She was first draft picks by coaches & players in rec. softball in town every year. Freshman year she played well batting & fielding, hit home runs. Sophomore year she played Jv, again played very well hit more home runs. She’s a team player does well in school is and all round good kid. Then we started noticing jv year coach was starting to hold her back putting her to dp a lot & taking away fielding time for no apparent reason. We notice a lot of favoritism towards other players, she & other students notice it as well. Team played well but when they did well coach would say hope you guys would lose to see that your not that good. My daughter now is in her junior year & wAs excited for the new season to start had us hitting cages & practicing 2 months before tryouts she believe she was ready to play varsity now. She had been told by previous coaches, parents, & other players she should have been playing varsity with her skills but she held herself back cause she felt she wasn’t ready. But she prepared herself over the summer by trying out for 18u travel team & making the team as the youngest player on the team -15yrs old. Cause she new that there is better harder competition out there then just the local players. She also played on local town team. Let just say it was a crazy fun summer between all the games but we were supporting her. So back to her varsity tryouts coach starts telling her she wish she would have pick her up to play varsity sophomore yr., then during a practice my daughter injures a finger has a really bad sprain dr tells her she has to stay off that hand for a week. Week passes now coach tell her she needs to go down to jv. Hand has healed but they still have her sitting the bench & not giving her any playing time. So we contact coach to say she’s healed why isn’t she getting playing time was told this is how they do things she needs to improve now after her injury ok how is she going to improve if just sitting the bench. So they let her start playing again after a few emails & talks with coach & atletic director she gets back into the groove of things. Then receive call from coach saying she was going back up to varsity she was excited. Well since back up varsity coach has her sitting bench once again hasn’t had any playing time. When we try to have someone give us an answer as to why she not getting any playing time no one can give her an answer. She & we noticed the same favoritism once again. Everyone on the team has had a chance to play either on the field or hitting but my daughter. My daughter has come home crying at times & she never cries. When my husband ask if she wants to practice or hit cages she says for what not going to change anything her love of the sport & excitement for the game has diminished. Coach refuses to give playing time for what reason we don’t know & talking to director doesn’t help cause coach walks all over him. We have cc all our emails to principal as well but still no answers, just the run around. Why put a kid on a team & not give them the opportunity to play or take away any opportunity they may had had to play for college. It sadden & upsets me what they have done to my child emotional & physically. She continues to sit the bench, cheer on her fellow players, even lend out her equipment.

  46. I hardly leave a response, but i did a few searching and wound
    up here How Bully Coaches Affect an Athlete’s Mental Game | Sports Psychology Today.
    And I actually do have 2 questions for you if
    you do not mind. Could it be simply me or does it seem like a few of the remarks look like
    they are written by brain dead people? 😛 And, if you are writing
    on other sites, I’d like to follow anything new you have to post.
    Could you make a list of all of all your shared sites like your Facebook page, twitter feed, or
    linkedin profile?

  47. You’ll find it mostly not possible to see well-updated parties on this theme, and yet you appear like you know what you’re preaching about! Excellent
    Ann R. Lewis

  48. Well I am a 13 year old baseball player. I used to be excited about playing, but now I feel as if every time I mess up I fail the coaches and the team. I have so much fear that I will mess up that it end up screwing with my game. This fear came from a coach that I had a couple years back, and he was extremely hard on me, just because I had made a top spot on the team and his son didn’t. Ever since, he has constantly nagged on me for everything, and I feel very discouraged. Going to games and practices now are scary, just because this fear has built up in me.

  49. Highly descriptive article, I liked that a lot. Will there
    be a part 2?

  50. My story is different. My daughter sat for 3 years always being promised that she had to earn a position on the Varsity softball team. In her Junior year she earned the position. She is a catcher and a third baseman. She earned the 3rd baseman position but got a concussion. when she got better the coach said that she couldn’t possible pull the girl who had been playing all year off the position that late in the season so she sat again until the end of the year. Now Senior Year, first game of the season, my daughter sits, the girl on third dislocates her shoulder, (lucky for my daughter) she now gets her position back, but now with two weeks left to the season, these lousy coaches pull my daughter off third base and give the position back to the Junior, the girl who got hurt. THese coaches have also accused my daughter of missing practice on morning because she had a hangover (which she didn’t, she had a 103 degree fever, they accused her of missing a class to be with her boyfriend, which happens to be the school Valedictorian, which also isn’t true, she was teaching a Catholic Education Class, for which I went out of my way to obtain a letter from the director to show the principal. Basically these coaches are former graduates from the school. They are about 28 years old. They are jealous of my daughter’s looks, her brains, (she is an AP student) and I made the unfortunate mistake of having them drop something off at my home early in the season. They feel that my daughter shouldn’t have it all. They are using their personal feelings to humiliate my daughter. It is a clear case of humiliation, harassment and bullying. And my daughter is the sweetest kid you ever want to meet. She spends her time volunteering at our church teaching CCD to kindergartener and third graders twice a weeks,works with autistic children, these coaches have it all wrong. And I’ve been in to see the Athletic Director, but they don’t care. They just all go about their business But it angers me so. I feel they should be legally punished. Advice?? Comments??

    • Wow. Sounds like what happened to my daughter. My daughters varsity HS softball coach was her Travel ball Coach freshman year, all was good until we left his organization and I mistakingly discussed some disturbing things that we couldn’t tolerate anymore on his team and in his org ( he’s also the facilitator.) He was really upset and ended up yelling at me and telling me how delusional and wrong I was to spread lies and that it was only “going to hurt” my daughter in the long run. Hmmm, sure enough. The next 3 years would be absolute HELL for my daughter. His asisitant HS coach mentioned to me that the head coach would retaliate against her, because he told him that he was going to make me pay for what I said, to “teach me a lesson” and “drive a point home” for as he put it, “talking sh*t and dissing him.” Honestly, I would have never said anything, if I knew the mental anguish and torment he’d subject her to, her next 3 years. He was good on his word, he manipulated his current travel ball girls to bully and demean my daughter. Then lie when asked if they did bully her, which made it worse, since now the coach would tell the girls, in front of my daughter, how I told him that and the AD, that these certain girls were calling my daughter gay, psycho and freak (all of which are completely untrue) and how I the parent would like them to stop bullying my daughter. SAID TO THE WHOLE TEAM!!! TO FURTHER DEMEAN AND embarrass her. Like yours, mine is a respectful Catholic girl, works hard, is a straight A student and even got a full ride softball to a top 25 D1 softball program fall of her junior year. All the parents were terrified of him, they ALL knew what was going on and even sympathized with me, because 3/4 of the HS team were his current travel ball players. Many were unhappy and wanted to leave, but after they saw what he was doing to my child, they stayed quiet and were seriously afraid. AFRAID mind you!!! No play time, being harassed, playing rec ball players over her, pulling her out in the middle of an inning for NO APPARENT REASON, and maybe letting her bat an inning or two of the next game. He’d put players in front of her who were not good just to mess with her and then stare me down for a reaction. Even my daughters senior year, there was 3 signed college players, mine and 2 others, he played them religiously, both on his TB team and mine was played, no offense, like a rec ball player, not a college bound one. He has destroyed her confidence and I pray with every fibre in my body, that she bounces back before starting college this fall. I’m trying so hard to forgive him…not to mention ALL the accolades he refused to give her and deservingly earned. He knew damn well he was messing up her college bio. But worse than that, he has messed with mind and she didn’t even feel like living anymore. SO YEAH, THANKS COACH, TOUCHÉ, YOU DID HURT ME BY DESTROYONG MY BEAUTIFUL TALENTED DAUGHTER, NOT TO MENTION YOU MADE HER FEEL LIKE NOT LIVING ANYMORE, LIKE A USLESS PIECE OF DISCARDED TRASH. YOU ARE EVIL. GOD FORGIVE YOU. I pray everyday to try and forgive this man for what he did to her. I wanted to strangle him out so many times. What a serious and debilitating problem these bully coaches are. It’s VERY PREVELANT.

  51. My story is regarding soccer at a High School level. The JV coach of the girls soccer team used to be on the board of our Club that I am now the VP of. She does not like me at all for reasons unknown to me. My oldest daughter is a senior in FHS and my youngest a freshman. Both have played Club ball since the age of 6.
    The JV coach ran my oldest daughter off of soccer in her freshman year. We didn’t think much of it at the time because while she was an average player, she had other interests that occupied her life and we thought that it was just that. We didn’t take too much merit in her description of being isolated and belittled by her coach. After all, when we signed up for it, it’s in complete understanding from the coaches meeting that parents are not allowed to speak to the coaches regarding play time or anything else really for that matter.
    My youngest has been a Keeper all of her life and is better than average for sure. I can honestly assess her skill level as I’ve been involved at a management level of soccer for 13 years. Her dream was to take Hope Solo’s place on the National Team. Until this year.
    After making the JV team with the coach that has obvious issues with us, still unknown to us, actually recruited a Forward to the Goal Keep spot to trump my daughter. My very capable daughter has sat in all but two games this season. When she is not playing keeper, she is thrown into a position on the field that she has absolutely no experience in. My daughter has tried to have a meeting with the coaching staff to discuss how she could get herself back into the net but all requests have been denied. I have emailed, texted and phone the coach to try to discuss these issues but all correspondence has been completely ignored. The AD is retiring in a couple of weeks so he’s useless too.
    My daughter is also involved with the band program and last night she had a concert. Since she doesn’t play anyway, instead of having to try to decide which event to attend, she played the concert. Just before the show began, the coach texted her and told her to turn in her uniform. She’s off the team. Abby told the coach the day before that she’s expected at the show and will not be attending the game.
    I feel that not only is my daughter being bullied, I really feel the whole family is. From the oldest being ran off to now my youngest, no communication whatsoever between parents and coach, what else could I call it? Your thoughts please.

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  54. I don’t really think mine is considered bulling but I’m a 13 year old softball player and my coach is always yelling at me. I could make a great catch but he would find something wrong with it. When he yells at me it makes me lose my confidence on the field and when I’m up to bat. I didn’t catch a pop up once and he yelled at me then when I was up to bat I struck out. Sometimes I’m across to play

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  58. My daughter had an awesome Freshman Varsity year in High School softball, because her HS coach just happend to be her travel ball coach…it was all pretty much downhill after we quit his team the summer of her sophomore year. It was well known that this coach plays “his” TB players over the others. The fear of NOT being on his team…your daughter most likely will not get the play time or recognition deserved. Not to mention, don’t EVER try to discuss or question “WHY” he’s doing this, because it will be double hell for your child. He manipulates his current TB players, to bully, harass and demean his former TB players. This particular coach turned the other cheek when I brought to his attention about a handful of girls on the team who were bullying my daughter (all were HIS current travel ball players) and he said that I was “crazy” and “delusional.” The WORST thing I did was tell our AD, who happened to be a close personal friend of this coach…unbeknownst to me, or I would have NEVER said anything. My daughter was depressed and it affected her performance. He would tell my daughter he would play her, then end up sitting her…or he’d put her in just to bat an inning and play then pull her, regardless of she hit a GRANDSLAM or a single and then play his TB players in front of my daughter. Ok, so fast forward, this went on for 3 years straight!!!! Her sophomore year I should have never questioned him. My daughter never “sucked up” to this coach like the others who go play time did. 3/4 of the team were his travel ball players…so you get what the situation is. My daughters mental game sucked, and by her senior year she was a disaster. She NEVER knew what was coming next. My daughter is mo slouch, her junior year she got a scholarship to a top 25 D1 college. This coach destroyed my daughters confidence. She played great on her new travel ball team, which happened to be her HS coaches rival TB team. Yeah yeah, it sounds crazy to the outsider, but this stuff really does happen. At the end of every season, when my daughter was slated to receive an honor, SHE WAS ALWAYS overlooked and the honor would be given to one of HIS players. It was so biased and in your face, I wanted to seriously strangle this guy out. I might want to mention that my daughter did not rock the boat at all, she’s respectful, works harder that ALL the others and gave 100%. None of that mattered. He’d even play a rec ball player over my daughter just to mess with her, even after her verbal and signing. Her senior year he pretty much sat her and just used her an inning or two here and there. These kind of coaches RUIN players, not to mention, yes, he certainly got back at me through destroying my daughter, I hope he’s happy. Biggest mistake, knowingly question and criticize him, when I knew he would make her pay. Huge regret and guiilt for the 3 years my daughter paid for us leaving and me telling him the REAL reason why we left his organization. I pray that she recovers when she gets to college this fall. Til then, he’s nothing but a predator and bully.

  59. Thanks very nice website! Thank you for sharing coach!

  60. I am 14. I have been playing softball since kindergarten but never really wanted to take the step of joining a travel team until a year ago. This is my second year on the team. The head coach is the negative type. Yes, he has improved my game, but I hate softball now because of him. For example, I made a great catch in a game. A runner was attempting to score. Instead of hitting the cutoff like I probably should have, I threw it to the pitcher to stop the play. I heard their yelling from the dugout but tried to drown it out. Then, after the inning was over he called us into a huddle. My coach full blown yelled at me for a minute and a half, threatening to sit me for the rest of the season and telling me in a rather rude way how angry he was and how I needed to hit the cutoff. Now, I knew I had messed up. It was my instinct that told me to throw the ball to the pitcher. I am fine with taking criticism. But he yelled at me and embarrassed me in front of the entire team and stands for a minute and a half. Just a simple mistake that caused no harm earned me that. It is things like that, that have turned me against softball. It’s plain cruel how he treats us. Yes, we are 14 year old girls. We mess up, no ball player js perfect at our age. But he takes it too far and makes us deathly afraid to mess up. We all dread practice, dread seeing him. It’s torture at practice. He is nicer at games because parents are watching. But at practice, he is a lot ruder because no parents are watching. It’s just cruel and destroys our confidence. I will not be trying out again after this year, but I just had to say how unfair we are treated for simply trying our best with some mistakes.

  61. My daughter, is starting her senior year She has played volleyball, both school and club, since the 6th grade. She earned a starting position in high school her freshman year and has participated in National Club Tournaments at the elite level. Several colleges have contacted her regarding scholarships and walk-on opportunities. Unfortunately, M
    Her dreams of playing college volleyball have been crushed. To protect her emotional wellbeing, it was necessary to remove her from the the high school volleyball team. Her most glorious and memorable year as a high school athlete is lost and scholarship opportunities are jeopardized.

    The incidents outlined below illustrate harassing, intimidating, vindictive verbal abuse bullying tactics used by The assistant coach which has resulted in the emotional distress of my daughter.

    • 2013-14 School Year

    Tournament – A parent overhead the coach’s daughter (teammate) say she wished my daughter was dead in a hole and reported it to the head coach. The head coach punished Madison and Olivia by sitting both girls out during the next game. The Coach was furious. Prior to the next match starting, I see my daughter starting to cry right after the team huddle. I pulled her out of the gym to ask her what was wrong. She told me she was being punished for what Olivia said. She also said it was a team policy that anyone mentioned in drama gets punished, so, she understood why she had to sit out. Confused, I asked her why she was crying and she said “Coach”. She then explained she understood the team policy but still wanted to support her team by leading the team huddle like she did prior to the incident. However; when she attempt, Coach Wells interrupted her and said….”you are not the leader anymore” My daughter was devastated.

    Selective Praise – he would high five the players in a line, when get got to My daughter he would stop and not offer her the same encouragement.

    After each match, my daughter would tell me the Coach sit on the sideline with his arms crossed saying “Goddamn” after every play.

    At the end of the 2013-14 Season the head Coach shared negative emails his assistant Coach had written about my daughter and asked her not to tell anyone he shared the email with her. By doing this, my daughter was given the impression that the Coach Hated her.

    My daughter and I both have asked the head Coach specific instances where my daughter created or caused drama on that team. We have not been given any.

    2014-15 Seasons

    Practice starts – every huddle The assistant coach constantly makes comments about my daughters travel team Although, he doesn’t call her name, the statements are directed at her and 2 other players because they are the only players that played with That club.

    If My daughter performs a play in a way the Coach doesn’t agree she is yelled at. If she asks what she did wrong, she says….watch it.

    The girls were told if they do or say anything out of the way they will be asked to get their keys and leave. My daughter feels isolated to the point she is afraid to speak.

    If she receives instructions that are confusing to her, she will attempt to explain to Coach why she is confused. She feels that he doesn’t care because his comment is ……this is not Your club team. Nevertheless, she remains confused.

    If Daughter (hitter) ask her setter to set the ball a certain way which is something all hitters do, she is punished or called out in front of other teammates.

    This past weekend at a team camp, my daughter barley hit the court. After verbal abuse, she cried. Then during the team huddle the coach made a new team rule….anyone cries will not play anymore. This humiliated my daughter even more. That night I informed the head coach I would be filing a complaint and my daughter would not be back.

    I wrote the principal and he called me. He let me know he supported his head coach and he didn’t have any other complaints regarding the bully assistant. I asked for an investigation and the principal said he needed to think this through and would let me know. I really believe this will be ignored and my daughter will not be back on the court her senior year

  62. My son will be a senior this year and the treatment he has received from the varsity soccer coach is so bad!!! My son has played club soccer since he was in elementary school, this past year he went to the regional finals for our state. He has always been a starter and leader for his club teams. That was his club history. His high school history, he played JV his freshman and sophomore years and again never came out of the game and was team captain both years. Tryouts his junior year he was told by the varsity coach he was on the fence of cutting him, seriously are you kidding me. How can a kid that led your JV teams for 2 years being on the fence of being cut, well tryout results came out and he was on varsity. The season went on and my son go very little and I mean very little playing time. When he got in one particular game I remember watching the coach and asst. coach make fun of my son as he went in. Yes it was all I could do to not run on the field and get in his face. My son still has no idea this happened last year we did not have the heart to tell him as you can imagine my son’s confidence in himself is completely gone. He second guess’ everything he does. Now fast forward to this year and tryouts again, he was pulled aside and told if he makes the team he will have no playing time. My son said that is fine I figured as much. I believe the coach is trying to get him to quit so he doesn’t have to cut him. We will know tonight whether or not he made it. I guess my question to the coach would be how can you put him on varsity last year then he comes back his SENIOR year and you cut him??? Also let me mention that the politics that get played with the coach and parents is amazing. Certain parents I believe run this team. I caught a mom playing with the coaches hair at a fundraising event we had a couple of weeks ago and her son started varsity his junior year and never started or played when he was on JV and did I mention he never played soccer until high school. All the kids know that you never say anything to the coach or you will pay for it. My son has asked us to let it go but I’m not sure I can, this one man has changed my son. Coaches are suppose to be role models and I surely don’t want my son looking up to this man, he is a poor excuse for a coach and even more poor excuse for a man. There is so much more to the story I could go on for days, just want some advice on what I should do and how to get my son through this situation this year especially if he gets cut. Way to start his senior year UGH!!!

  63. I am a 13 year old football player. I went to out of town for a couple of days and when I came back my knee all of a sudden started to hurt. When I went to practice I told my coach that my knee hurt. He just told me to sit on the sidelines and I did. He asked me in a baby voice “Does your knee fell better”, I said no and he just ignored me the whole practice. And when we started doing one on one tackling drills he said “Chase can’t play because his knee hurts” in another baby voice. Which was kind of ironic because he was always nice to me. But when you get injured he automatically dislikes you. And when we went into the locker room he just looked at me with disgust. And he called all the wide receivers but me, and I was a first string wide receiver.

  64. I am so glad I came upon this website. My family is really struggling with this issue and we really aren’t sure how to address it.
    My 16 year old daughter is in her third year of high school. She has played sports since she was in the 6th grade and in her first two years of high school, she has received 7 athletic awards for Volleyball, basketball and softball. She has been the team captain for all of her teams and played in every game for that last 4 years of her schooling. Whenever she got discouraged and came to us, we would tell her, work hard, do better and show the coach what you got. It’s always worked before, but I don’t think that advice will work any longer.
    This year, she has a new coach for Varsity Volleyball. And in spite of the fact that she has earned 3 volleyball awards and been her team captain for the last two years, her coach is sitting her on the bench and not playing her at all.
    She is at a loss and so are we. She is very solid player, extremely coachable, a team player and is giving 110 percent as she has always done, but her coach has completely separated from her, no longer even giving her instruction during practice as to which skill to work on. She has not been given a position on the team, and her first game, she was the only girl on a team of 16 to not play the entire game.
    I watched her on the bench and she tried to smile at me and I saw her giving her team encouragement as they came off the floor, but I could tell she was crushed, although she tried not to show it.
    My daughter was the girl that seemed destined to get the Senior Athletic Award, the four year athletic scholarship and wanted to go on and play Volleyball in college. Now she is sad, ashamed, angry and disillusioned.
    It’s not only her lack of play, but several times before and after the game, her coach berated her for small infractions in front of her team, further humiliating her.
    She is a very good athlete and I hate to see this happening to her. Her basketball coach once told me that she is “just one of those girls.” Her last VB coach told us he wished he has a whole team of her after she was given the spot on an all tournament team. Yet, her current coach sees none of the qualities in her that all of her previous coaches did.
    Her coach is a 24 year old girl who played VB in high school and has very little coaching experience. I almost get the feeling that she still thinks she’s in high school and am wondering if she could have been a mean girl. Ostracizing is how girl’s bully and it’s as if she is trying to get my daughter to quit the team. I don’t want her to quit and I know she doesn’t want to but I can’t stand to see her confidence crushed, her spirit broken and her love of Volleyball fall away.
    Any advice would be wonderful. I don’t want to be one of those parents, but I feel as she is being treated abusively, for what reason I don’t know, but I don’t think I can stand by and allow it to continue.
    She is a sweet, wonderful girl and she deserves a coach who will recognize her talents and gifts and push her to do better. The opposite is happening and I don’t know what to tell her.

    • My 17 year old daughter expericing similar bullying from yet another new coach. Shes been a starter since soph year and a awesome defensive player. The coach takes her out for things out of her control. We have a bigger issue than just my daughter at last nights game the coach called a time out just to make the whole team do wall sits as a punishment for not boxing out. This was at a away game no less and our biggest rival. The kids from the other team had their cellphones out taking pics like crazy. im sure that will end up on social media. girls humiliated, embarrssd and demoralized text book bullying.

  65. My son has a lot of athletic ability. He 16, loves football and wrestling and until this year, baseball. But baseball is another story. My issue TODAY is, my son made an inappropriate remark about a girl, he whispered it to his buddy sitting next to him in class, and the teacher was standing behind him and heard it. No other student heard it. Just the kid he was talking to and the teacher. I discussed this with the teacher and had a long talk with my son and he admitted he was wrong and apologized to the teacher along with being punished at home. A couple days later the teacher tells his football coach. At this point in time my son was starting varsity. That afternoon, coach pulls my son aside and tells him he sucks, doesn’t have any ability at all and he wouldn’t be playing him if he had someone to replace him with. There is a lot more to this story. Things have progressively gotten worse over the last week. My son was one of 3 Sophomores starting on varsity, now he is dressing for varsity on Friday night, but playing JV on Saturday. My concern is my son has had issues with low self esteem and confidence in the past and was just beginning rising above it and then this happens. My son was wrong for what he said, but am I wrong in thinking this coach had an excellent opportunity to mentor instead of completely crushing him? At one point my son talked about just quitting since he obviously sucks at it. (which isn’t true) I understand these boys aren’t theirs to raise but aren’t coaches supposed to inspire, teach, lead?
    Last night my son came home from practice and said it was horrible. No one was practicing well and his coach threw his hands up and stormed off the field and did not return. What sort of lesson does that teach?
    We are talking about a REALLY GOOD team. This team wins — alot!
    So, my first reaction to all of this was, “Talk to coach”. Then I decided not to. Now I’m maybe I should skip talking to coach and go over his head. Problem is, you can’t get an administrator to listen to you and if I go to the school board they will tell me to go to the principal which does absolutely no good. So WHAT, if anything can I or should I do? Keep in mind, this so-called COACH will hold this against my son. HELP — From ANYONE!!!

  66. FRUSTRATEDPARENT, my son’s situation is very similar to yours. He was just “taken off the team” because of a conflict with a school commitment, that was okayed with the coach and then next practice he could make, the coach cut him before the practice began.

    We are very close to filing a complaint, not really for my son although it would be nice if he could get back on the team, but because this guy has been acting like this with my son and others over the past four years. To tell you what kind of guy he is, he had a tryout last year and left his 2 year old SCREAMING in the car for over 90 minutes with the windows cracked. In August!

    We are trying one more time to get him back on the team – he even was given a uniform and was in the team picture.

    I would say, write up as much as you can, and ask your son about anything else you aren’t aware of. I agree that parents – and players – running the team is part of the issue.

  67. I have Osgoods disease in my knees and that makes me not able to run an long distance. At first my coaches told me to either suck it up and do what they tell me to do or to get off the team. I was really upset because I really wanted to volleyball but I didn’t want to hurt myself. I went to the doctor and they gave me a note to give to my coaches that said I wasn’t allowed to run. They knew that they couldn’t make me run since i gave them my doctors note but now they aren’t letting me play. They sit me on the bench for the entire game. I feel like they are discriminating against me because I didn’t condition with the team. It makes me question staying on the team or not.

  68. I got this website from my friend who shared with me on the topic of this site and at the moment this time I
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  69. Has anyone ever managed to record this behavior of the coaches?

  70. I just moved to a small town with my 16 year old son. He worked hard this summer to bond with the players & friends before the season started. He is 6’3 and 200 lbs. He used to play for Permian in Texas and did well. He had respect for coaches and he played pretty regularly. Now that we are in for three games, he has been benched and hey wanted him to move to JV. I have not seen him so demoralized like he is now. I normally don’t get involved, but I am requesting a conference with the head coach. He wants to quit at this point. So does another boy. Strangely enough both boys are living with divorced mother with no father figure for support. He was so happy when we first moved here, it breaks my heart to see him so down and wanting to quit. Any advice would be appreciated,
    Thank you,

    • Hello
      am glad to read your article
      i am no athlete but my son is in sports
      i witness him score 3 great goals only to make
      a mistake after and let the other team get a score
      and hear the coach from far away screaming
      while he takes him out of the game

      my son cried after on the way home
      im about to tear up this coach and told my husband
      i dont know what to do and my son is no child
      he is 16

      is this coach a bully
      he was very supportive in the beginning and i dont know what my son
      did that he start to have him less play time and then i saw this at the game
      and i felt it was bad at first but i contained myself but my gut was like
      what the heck was that….

      but when my son cried, my grown boy, who does his best always, i couldnt sleep now and dont know what to do
      my husband told me to leave it alone but i cant
      too many kids under pressure are killing themselves for nothing
      im not about to let this pass but i need to know what are the socially acceptable norms within the sports world

      i would really like to kick this coach in his behind really hard
      and slam his head with an oversized hammer

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  73. Hello
    am glad to read your article
    i am no athlete but my son is in sports
    i witness him score 3 great goals only to make
    a mistake after and let the other team get a score
    and hear the coach from far away screaming
    while he takes him out of the game

    my son cried after on the way home
    im about to tear up this coach and told my husband
    i dont know what to do and my son is no child
    he is 16

    is this coach a bully
    he was very supportive in the beginning and i dont know what my son
    did that he start to have him less play time and then i saw this at the game
    and i felt it was bad at first but i contained myself but my gut was like
    what the heck was that….

    but when my son cried, my grown boy, who does his best always, i couldnt sleep now and dont know what to do
    my husband told me to leave it alone but i cant
    too many kids under pressure are killing themselves for nothing
    im not about to let this pass but i need to know what are the socially acceptable norms within the sports world

    i would really like to kick this coach in his behind really hard
    and slam his head with an oversized hammer

  74. A recent article on the topic provides readers with a coach’s perspective on the situation described in this article. The author does not believe the example is bullying but rather a coach being honest with his players. Stay tuned in to Sport Psychology Today for Dr. Edger’s response and share your comments and feedback in the discussion forum.


  75. It’s hard to find knowledgeable people on this topic, however, you seem like
    you know what you’re talking about! Thanks

  76. I have a 10 year old daughter who is in gymnastics. She’s been doing well in practice and warm-ups during a meet, but one of her coaches obviously does not have time for her. She never warms her up before an event, but pep talks and diligently warms up every other athlete. When finished with an event, there’s never a high 5, good job, etc. that the other girls receive. This particular coach was not at the first 3 meets of the season and my daughter was relaxed and did well. However, she’s been at the last 2 meets and they’ve been really tough, especially on bars. I can tell she’s a bundle of nerves and when I asked her if there was more to it than a mental block on that event, she said she just doesn’t feel supported by Coach “B” and never gets any feedback at all from the coach, so just doesn’t feel confident and is nervous all the time. I tried to address the issue last Spring in a meeting; however, the coach didn’t want to hear any of it and ended up yelling at me, so I feel helpless as a mother, too. My daughter began experiencing a lot of test anxiety at school, questioned everything that she ate to see if it would OK with her coach, and was not sleeping at night. I talked to the manager of the gym about it and she seemed to empathize in moment, but also defended her employee, which is understandable. She’s a very good coach technically with the athletes that she’s vested in, but my daughter is not one of them. She typically places at her meets, but I feel she could do so much better if she felt better about herself. She had a meet on Saturday that just didn’t go her way and I would’ve been able to predict from the moment she saluted for the first time. I’m really not sure how to approach this as we’re in the midst of competition season, I have a quiet little girl that won’t speak up- especially when she’s afraid and doesn’t respond well to yelling or being blatantly ignored/overlooked. Wondering if anyone has any advice in helping her work through the mental block/fear that she’s experiencing that is resulting in her feeling poorly about herself and talking about quitting the sport because she “isn’t good enough.”

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  78. My coach is one of the worst. My freshman year I barely was around him so it wasn’t a big deal. I play football, wide receiver. I never dropped a pass my freshman year, barely any exaggeration. My sophomore year I started to get nervous a little more because my coaches was now more interested in me because I had done so good. Truth is, I didn’t wanna play football no more, the hard work was just too much. He made us run until I puked. And then we had practice and my body was so drained I could barely catch the ball. I looked bad, I’ll admit. But my coach made me feel awful. Throwing me under the bus for another player. I got so nervous that I could barely catch that year, it was awful. Junior year came and I hated football, but my mom forced me and guilted me into playing. So I played, I did a lot better until all the pressure feel under me again, ended up just dominating JV.. My coach was a jerk to me in many ways, making me worry anytime I messed up, but if my buddy (who my coach liked a lot more) messed up, he wouldn’t be as bad to him. It’s my senior year and I really don’t wanna play. I hate football now. It used to be so fun…

  79. I am currently being bullied by my college volleyball coach.

    I am a great athlete and have been ever since I can remember. Growing up I played every sport imaginable and excelled in all of them. I have awesome athletic genes from both my parents and I was every coach’s dream player growing up. I got into the sport of jumprope at an early age (6 or so) and continued to compete in high levels of competition including earning a gold medal at Junior Olympics and Bronze at Worlds. In grade 10 I made the biggest and toughest decision of my life: to stop jumping rope and focus more on volleyball and basketball. I have played basketball since I was in grade 5 and was quite good at it considering it was not my sport of focus. I have played volleyball since I was in grade 7 and the sport came naturally to me most likely because both of my parents played volleyball (how they met). When I was in the 9th grade, I played on the senior volleyball team at my high school and was a starting power. I was one of the best on my team of grade 12 students. After deciding to stop jumping rope because I got somewhat bored and, once again, wanted to focus on volleyball and basketball, I knew I had a very good chance at playing both volleyball and basketball at a college or university level. I am from a very small town so I was seen as excellent in both sports, being the captain of my grade 12 year in both. In grade 12 I realized that my love for volleyball was greater than my love for basketball so I started to talk to coaches about volleyball scholarships. Eventually a college only 3 hours away from my hometown offered me a small scholarship so I decided to go there in the fall after my high school graduation. Coming to college I was extremely nervous because most of my teammates were from big cities and have been focused on volleyball their whole lives. Being a first-year I had very little expectations for court time and was keen on learning the sport further. I was surprised that when I started practicing with the team, there were a total of 8 rookies, yet I was still intimidated by the cities they came from. As practices started I realized that I was managing to keep up with the other girls quite well and as the practices went on I felt myself being one of the goto players on the court. I ended up starting as either power or right side (I liked playing right side better) every single game that year and very very rarely coming off the court. After the season was over, I got rookie of the year award and another award with combines athletics, academics, relationships with coaches and teachers, as well as being a positive influence on and off the court. I was beyond surprised and excited about how my first year of college volleyball turned out and my parents were super proud of me. At the end of the season new girls came from big cities (mostly from the same city) to try out for the team for the following year. It was safe to say that these girls were a lot better than half the girls on my team were that year and it made me a little nervous knowing that I had some tough competition for a starting spot for the next year. Through out the entire summer I was really nervous and scared to start the next season because I felt a lot more pressure now due to the fact that I wasn’t a “rookie” anymore (probably too much pressure). So much pressure that when I talked about feeling pressure to anyone I get tears in my eyes. I ended up starting the first couple practices of the season well and I was happy with how I was playing. My position was now strictly right side because we have too many powers on our team and they are much better passers than me (powers pass on serve receive and right sides don’t). Because I enjoy right side more, it doesn’t really bother me much. As practices kept going I noticed my coach (who loved me last year) was tougher on me this year. I thought it was too be expected because he is expecting me to perform well like last year. But then I started to notice that he only picks on me and one other girl on my team who is a power. And when I say “pick on” I mean yelling every time we make a mistake. At first I was thinking it was ok cause he just really wants me to get better but then in our first game of pre season he was literally humiliating me on the court. If anyone else messed up he either wouldn’t say a thing or gave them helpful information like take 2 steps back or lead forward more on defence. But to me he would yell at the top of his lungs and ring me out to dry in front of tons of parents (including mine), younger kids who came to watch and a few of my friends. When he substituted me off the court he continued to bash me for my mistakes and blamed it on me “not having my head in the game.” But in reality who can focus on the game when you have your coach screaming in your ear every time you make a mistake and will not let it go? I am not one who cries often, in fact I rarely ever cry but he made me cry on the bench. I tried my hardest to hold it in but the things he was yelling at me on the court were personal attacks and ruthless. Many parents went up to my parents at the end of the game (mostly new parents) and said how disgusted they were that he was so rude just to me. One parents even mentioned to my mom that they may have made the wrong decision letting their daughter play there this year. After the game my parents told me that he shouldn’t do that to me and it wasn’t right and we would just see how the game goes the next day. The game the next day got worst and I was honestly so close to quitting college and go live back home just because of my coach. I loved everything about college, I loved my classes, friends, teammates, boyfriend who plays for the boys volleyball team, but I was willing to give it all up just because of my coach. I am not the type who quits anything and I aways try over and over until I get something right. But this time was different; my coach completely shattered my confidence and took away my love for the game. My parents convinced me to talk to the athletic director before making the decision to coming home or not. So I emailed the athletic director to have a one-on-one meeting with her about the games. I told her in our meeting exactly what happened and she was glad I came to her. She even admitted that she was at one of the games and saw the whole thing go down and she agreed that it was classified as bullying. The athletic director and I decided that the best way to resolve the situation was to have a meeting with her, my parents, my 3 coaches and I the next day. My parents took time off work the next day which was not easy, drove 3 hours and we had the meeting. My 2 assistant coaches completely agreed with everything being said by me and that the main coaches behaviour was not acceptable but the main coach kept beating around the bush and tried to make it sound like it is in his intentions to make me a better player. I want to believe that and my assistant coaches want to believe that as well as my parents but his behaviour has barely changed since the meeting. My dad even cried at the meeting because he knew how much I was going through with this. And my parents are not the type to fight my battles for me at all but they said that they had to get involved. I explained to my coach how his yelling makes me feel and that as a player it is not helping me. Every practice from then on he toned down the humiliation part of his yelling towards me but continued to single me out constantly. I became afraid to touch the ball because I knew he was just waiting for the opportunity to attack me with yelling whenever he can get the chance to. I know it may seem like I’m being a little sensitive and not being mentally tough but it’s past that point and everyone on my team can see it to. I have never talked back to any coach ever and I am always one of the coaches favourite players because I am disciplined, I follow directions well and have a huge passion for sports. I do not understand why my coach has it out for me. I try super hard at practice and come into open gym to practice more reps but he is ruining my confidence. Every single practice he pushes me down further and then in team meetings he tells the team that players can’t be so hard on themselves and need to let past mistakes go. How am I supposed to let them go if he constantly reminds me on them?! I am already super hard on myself and get down when I mess up and he makes it worst, and he knows it. I have told him in one-on-one meetings that my confidence is low and he says that it is my fault. During a game (if he even puts me on the court) he will be yelling at me and the assistant coaches will tell him that its just making it worst and he won’t listen to them and continue yelling. My assistant coaches are great and one always pulls me aside at practice to see how I am doing because he knows how the coaches yelling is affecting me. He tells me that I am one of the best players on our team (which I know I am) and he doesn’t understand why the main coach picks on me and does not want me on the court in games. In the rare occurrence that the coach puts me on the court I know I am on a short leash and if i mess up once or twice no matter how many good plays I have, I will be pulled back out. It has gotten to the point where he doesn’t put me on the court anymore (or at least not very often) and he purposely makes me feel bad on the bench by putting on the weakest player on our team on over me and complimenting everything she does right to my face. It feels like he’s doing this on purpose and it is getting to the point where my playing time is personal. He doesn’t want to play me because it’s me. In practice I do my best to listen to his advice and don’t let his yelling affect me but it’s getting too much. I am starting to look at new schools for next year because I cannot bare to even think about playing for him again. It is now half way through our season and I am planning on trying to stick it out here for second semester but I know it will be hard for me. My coach has completely drained my self confidence and I am losing my love for the game fast. I am scared of him completely. I don’t even want to talk to him and I am starting to question my skills as well as my spot on this team. He keeps telling me that my problems are mental and he is making me feel like a mental patient. After hearing someone constantly tell you that you are bad, you start to believe it.
    I am sorry for the length of my story but I really needed to let it all out. I went from being the superstar on the team to being broken mentally. My coach has ruined me and I need to find a way to get back to the player I once was.

    Please, if you have any suggestions for me feel free!
    Thank you so much for reading

    • I am so sad to read your story and as a parent, I can only imagine the agony and heartache your parents are feeling to see your dream being destroyed by one individual. My daughter recently experienced a similar story as a cheerleader. She’s a senior and was on varsity but recently quit even though there’s only 2 weeks left of the season. I’m impressed that you met with the AD and that you stood up for yourself as I know that’s difficult. However you took the right measures to try to resolve it. I would encourage your to set up another meeting with the AD and let her know that the bullying continues. If she’s witnessed it before, she should already be aware but since she hasn’t heard anything further she make assume it’s resolved. My daughter stood up for herself to her coach and I encouraged her to speak to the AD but she was afraid it would mAke things worse. Well the coach continued and I met with my daughter to speak to her. She became hostile and vindictive. The next game my daughter begged me to let her quit. Seeing how verbally abusive this coach was, I agreed but told her she needed to go to the game and tell her in person. Of course the one coach didn’t take it well and was unprofessional. I then went to the AD and reported it all to him. He said he’s had concerns and asked that I send a documented version through email which I did. He is coaching her on it now but sadly my daughter’s senior year and cheerleading experience is ruined by this coach. Another younger girl tried to commit suicide because of the treatment which I also reported to the AD. You do need to be in a healthy environment however even if you leave, this coach will only find another target and that person may not have the strength or support that you have. A verbally abusive relationship shod not be allowed by anyone but somehow coaches seem to think they are an exception to that. I am proud of my daughter for the courage she had standing up for herself however I wish we would have spoken with the AD before and as it may not resulted in her ending the season the way it did. Hold your head high know you nor any member of your team should ever be treated in an abusive manner. Stand up for yourself and for them and get the AD involved again. If this coach can’t or won’t change his behavior, then he has no business coaching.

  80. Hi ,

    Just yesterday, my son was in a Karate class. When we picked him up, after the session, he was crying while going out of the class building . I asked him what happened ? He told me, he was humiliated . He was making a Demonstration repeatedly, coz he was having a hard time to get it . First and foremost, he was never interested in Karate , but he was forced to join by us, coz we thought this Sport could help him build his self esteem , confidence and leran self defence .He was never a sporty child, though he loves running and good at climbing ropes . So yesterday, during the repeated Demonstration, he told me the Trainer made some faces. Or gave him that look or words, that embarrassed him in front of his mates and other parents watching. I asked him him, if he is willing to try again next week , he beg me not to bring him .Now we are thinking to Transfer him to another Karate class or let him choose the Sport he wants to do.Now, my question is, is the Trainer bullied him ? Or are we making the right decision to make him stop with that class ? Please share your opinions about this matter . I would really appreciate it …

  81. Totally agree with the article, but as a parent of high school varsity player you have no say and cannot impact change in this area. You and the athlete are stuck with your situation. Your only option is to change schools, stick it out or leave the high school team. I no longer enjoy watching the game and my son being part of the team.

  82. My story is much the same as everyone’s here..

    My son is a jr on the Varsity basketball team. As a freshman and sophomore, he started on the JV team, loved basketball, was very good and steady player. His sophomore year, they got a new bball coach. Although Tanner did not play for him that year, he began to tell me that he didn’t think the coach liked him….he even used the word hate. He complained that nothing he did, in practice or game situations seemed to be good enough. One incident that I thought was very telling happened during practice. My son is very quiet, doesn’t like attention whether it be good or bad, and he doesn’t really like to stand out in any way. He said this coach definitely had his “favorites” and he wasn’t one of them. Well, he had worked over the summer and made a little money. He had bought these custom basketball socks…I know it sounds crazy but he really liked them and I thought it was great that he was showing a little individuality for once. So he had them on at practice and all the JV and V players were standing around admiring his socks…telling him they were cool, etc….so someone ask him how much he paid for them….and the coach had walked up by this time….he told them how much he paid and the coach says WHAT?? Why would you pay that for socks??? Are they special socks? Do they give you special powers??? Hey, if those socks can keep you from falling down all the time, then that was a GOOD buy!!

    Needless to say, this embarrassed my son, in front of all those older kids and his teammates. Just seems mean…this has absolutely nothing to do with basketball…

    Well, this year…my son is on Varsity. From the beginning of the season, the coach has methodically and systematically torn my son down. Second game of the season, my son went the wrong way on an inbounds play…the coach called a time out…met my son in the middle of the court and screamed at him…about an inch out of my son’s face…for the entire timeout…then benched him. In front of a PACKED gym. It has gotten progressively worse from there…if my son makes one mistake..he is immediately benched usually with a good dose of screaming to go with it. A couple of weeks ago, after the game my son came home and completely broke down in tears. Said he didn’t know what to do, he felt like the coach hated him, he could do nothing right, and ask me if I would let him transfer next year because he wanted to play basketball but he didn’t think he could play for this coach. My son has been playing hurt, a blown out ankle, for the past month and half. I told him that I would take him to the doctor (he didn’t want to go when it happened) and that would effectively be the end of his basketball season. He said no, if I did that coach would call me out at practice, say I was a baby and faker, because i have been playing with it hurt. (this is his 4th ankle injury in a year and the last time he did it, our doctor told him if he showed up with another ankle injury, he would do surgery)

    I don’t know what to do. I am confident if I tried to talk to the coach, he would definitely take it out on my son. My son has gone from a really good basketball player to a kid that looks so uptight on the court it is pathetic. He knows he can’t mess up at all….and the last couple of games, he didn’t even have to mess up to get benched. And probably the worst part is, he has to sit there and watch the team, in general, turn the ball over about 25 times a game and the coach does nothing to the other players….claps his hands and tells them good job. It is to the point where my son just wants to sit on the bench and really doesn’t care if he plays at all. It is heartbreaking, as a parent, to watch someone else have so much NEGATIVE influence on your kid and I feel helpless….I even encouraged him to quit, told him I would back him up because from what I have witnessed this isn’t something that is going to change but he said no, he wanted to finish out the season, he would not do that to his teammates.

  83. Your content is excellent but with images and clips, this website could undeniably be one of the greatest in its field. Very good blog!

  84. Excellent article. Coaches usually coach the way they were coached and unfortunately, not enough people understand that fear does not work longitudinally as a motivational strategy (anymore than having athletes run sprints for punishment does – you want to change an athlete’s attitude, take away their opportunity to play). Having worked with athletes and coaches witht he widest array of anger problems for twenty years, I can tell you that this problem is no better now than then. Thankfully, more people are talking about it…but not enough parents and leagues are removing abusive coaches from the opportunity to influence kids. I present on these topics regularly (and by the way, anger is not the problem in sports – the problem lies in how much anger is experienced and whether it helps or interferes with performance) and consult with leagues, schools, coaches, parents and athletes. If you want to talk more offline about it, feel free to reach out: MitchAbramsPsyD@gmail.com and http://www.drmitchabrams.com Thanks again for a great post!

  85. I am a 17 year old Triathlete. I have had to deal with a coach the past few years that caused not only me but many other athletes move, find a different coach out of province, or quit entirely. When I first trained with her I was terrible at swimming and was still competing in KOS races. Back then she seemed like a really good coach. We had a few parents complain to us about her a bit, but it did not seem like anything. I started getting better and better and eventually winning a few races in KOS. The year before I became a junior was when things started going bad. I started noticing that she would talk about other athelets from other provinces I front of the whole group. People her daughter raced against and traveled with. My last year I competed as one of her athletes I had become fairly fast and was becoming a threat to her daughter. She started making me do less or I wasn’t alowed to go at this pace. At races I felt alone, her daughter would try and exculed me from things. Then I beat her daughter. She didn’t congradulate me after and she started saying negative things about me to other coaches and university coaches. At one particularly race on a realy she screamed at me bc I didn’t do as well as she wanted and blamed me for the team not winning anything. Verbally abused me many times that summer and both me and my parents were done with her. To this day she still try’s to cause us problems. Attempting to take away funding from me bc I didn’t wear this particular suit and much more crap. She cornered my present coach in the grocery store about it. The problem is she has so many adults wrapped around her finger and gains new ones every year any official complaint is ignored. The ones who have been around long enough to see what she really is, are too scared of her bc they have also witnessed the crap people have to go through when they try. How do you deal with someone like that?

    • Some games, the only way you win is not to play. It is difficult dealing with influential coaches, especially when there are people in the community who support (or tolerate because they’re afraid) their behavior. Remember that good coaches will help you perform in all aspects of your sport. When you see that this is not the case, move along. As long as people continue to expose themselves to abusive coaches, those coaches justify themselves. Competition is too hard to be able to thrive when people that are supposed to be on your side aren’t. Sounds like this coach is more about themselves (or extensions of themselves if they’re coaching their children at the expense of others) than you. MOve on and thrive.


  86. This is what happens in the “everyone gets a trophy” generation. Are you kidding me? What a joke. Wah, Wah, Wah.

  87. My son a HS Baseball player that no longer loves the game due to his coach and team. I am at a lost on what to do, talking to the coach or school is not a option for many reasons. How is it ok to tell a player he sucks and allow the player to do the same. Not counting the parents comments about my son. Just because we look different or from different income level. Where in this world, is this right. I served and my father served along with his father and for what. Nothing changes in this world. People in some area are just down right mean to other that do not meet there standards in race or income. School district are there own little world and say nothing ever wrong. and if you say anything, your the trouble maker. My son has gone down hill since he been on the team this year. Last year the same thing happened and I said something. That was a mistake that he paid for by getting benched, until that need him to win games. How can I keep my son happy and playing the sport he love with all this or why should I let him play anymore. He has a 4.5 gpa and very good kid. So what would you do.

  88. I’m a 17 years old male who do old school eastern martial arts , and my struglle is real because the bullying I get from my coach is not just yelling and screaming the coach many times punches me in the ribs/stomach/hands and legs purpously because I did something wrong and it’s hurts so bad, he does it to all the members, they don’t seem to think it’s wrong or abuse , the coach tells us I’m preparing you for the street , and that’s what I want , to know how to react when a bully/rober try to abuse me but the training is terrifying , it’s so hard that when it ends I thank god that I made it alive , he did a really good job at toughing me up but I don’t think the punches he gives me is neccessary

    • Hey Chris, thank your for sharing your experience. Martial Arts (MA) is a combative sport and the coach/combatant relationship is different then noncombat sports. It is the coaches responsibly to prepare you for battle. If not him then who else? After reviewing your situation in detail I was unable to find any evidence of bullying. Your stated that the coach goes hard punches you in the ribs/stomach/hands and legs, but he does it to all the members. If he treated you different through less attention or more unwanted attention then the other group that could be considered bullying. I boxed at the semi-pro level and before my coach would teach me how to fight I needed to show him that I could take a hit – get back up – again and again. This went on until I was able to run 5 miles straight through and then the skills training began. A lot of guys go out for combat sports are trained and then once the get hit or KO they decide it not for them. Also, you obviously have fears of being in a physical confrontation. You will only be able to over come this fear when you prove to your coach and yourself that when he knows you down you can get back up and return the favor. To be honest I think that you are being tested rather then bullied and now that you are aware of it you can use it to your advantage if you know how. I can help you in that area. If you help me fill in some of the unknowns about your situation so that I can conclude if you are being bullied or if you are being tested. How long have you been participating in MA? Where are these streets your preparing for located (state/city)? What are your performance goals? Lastly, where is this source of fear of being mugged/tagged in the streets coming from? I hope this help bud. You are on the right tack. Now that you know you are being picked on you are being tested in a number of way to show not only your coach but more importantly yourself that you can take a hit and give a hit like any other member. You can email your responses or if you need anything or have questions at anytime. Don’t give up that what they expect and now that you know that remember you have the advantage. Oh yea one more question… Have you said anything to your coach about the fear you have of training or expressed to him any of the information you expressed in your post above? That is an important one that I need to know. You will only be able to learn for the combat if you are focused not terrified after that comes the confidence and then you are on your way. If you keep getting back up and moving forward you will show the coach and yourself that you’ve had the ability inside all along. While you are being tested do not be afraid to test yours self. Only when you are able to react to your coaches attacks and respond like a martial artist will you have achieved part one of your goal to do the same in the streets. Remember you will only be as prepared in accordance to how hard your coach pushes you. This is one example of how that combat sports differ from non-combat sports. Your coach is responsible for your safety. Face your fears and when coach breaks you down its only to build your back up twice as strong. Hand to hand combat is close to war then sports so tap into a warrior mindset and test your mettle. You my find that you surprise yourself the fact that you keep coming back even when training terrifies you show that each of those punches may have been more necessary that you originally thought. However, if that isn’t the case and your coach is bully coaching I will be able to tell through once I fill the gaps in my original assumptions. That said in combat sports only if you goals it to be able to defend yourself against a bully in the streets what better preparation is there? Game time :) good luck Chris!

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  90. I am a High School Junior in AL in one of the largest schools in the state. I have been playing baseball for 13 years travel and school ball since 7th grade. I started Varsity my ninth graded year between my 10th grade year and this year I have 19 wins, two loses and 6 saves as a pitcher. As for travel ball I have played on the most elite teams in the Southeast. When I am not pitching I am either at SS or 2nd. I ranked in the top 25 in the state of AL. However my HS coach is always extremely negative to me and spreads negative rumors about me to other parents and my teammates. I am most positive that negative comments are also being made to college and pro scouts. I have never received this type of negativity from any coach and it is extremely affecting my desire to play school ball as well as affect many of my college prospects. What can I do?

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  92. Just trying to find a situation that is close to what I am dealing with as well as my boy. I don’t gave 4 hours to go over the things that happened here but i can assure you i can put an end to a few jobs here but I am just a nice guy. To the point. A local store had a parent of a HS team member and once a week or so if I went in he would make comments about the coach that were negative, jerk like comments. Well since my son is literally the fastest and hardest hitting kid on the team i wondered why he stood on the sidelines the whole game. There was even a female player who played offense and defense the entire game…along with 98% of all the players. So I voiced my opinion as well. I may have called him a body part, however this was only done at this store between me and 2 employees. As time went on that first year I chalked it up. The following season I noticed same crap. We have 3,200 residence here and I am transplant been here 5 years and am a disabled army veteran, single father. I have given bags and bags of clothes to the church and people in the local churches. I have given help to locals who have drug problems. Just being alive for me is a gift. I don’t discriminate. Back to the point….so after a time. My son donated his entire sophmore xmas chopping wood, donated 600 to the school sporting program to help pay for lettermans jackets to kids who couldnt afford them. He NEVER got one thank you…if that doesnt paint a picture yet I dont know what will.

    as TIme went on he played base ball now, same coach and same athletic director who is also principal.I noticed that when I mentioned how I used to drive hours to watch my older sons game (diff part of the state, ) that when I showed up he wouldn’t play. I missed the start of 3 games, he started every one. The coach would tell him he is starting on other games and when he saw me he would ask if I was going, when I said yes he never played. So I missed the next game and acted like I couldnt go, this game he almost played entire game. When I confronted the coaches they said” he is inconsistent.” So I said then the other players just make mistakes?

    Cat and mouse game was getting old. There are 10 other things I did for the school, my son did for the school, none of them ever got a thank you.
    This is personal now. The principals son also plays on the teams, he is a decent player but i coached for 10 years too and I see nothing that would make my son be singled out so harshly. I am not being bias. Even parents and players are talking but affraid of retaliation.

    Well I got him by the baseballs now because he violated school policy on drinking alcohol. His son and other playeres were there some in uniform. There was a prior party, I was NEVER notified as a parent as per the con tract the athletes signed. He had warned the team 3 times we signed a contract so di my son and his, about ist offense of driking if caught, 2 day suspension from school and 20 from team. The team got a warning, the coach new who was there, no parents were notified and another drinking party with fall down puking staggering drunk more than last time IN BASE+BALL uniform IN PUBLIC and nobody got suspended, written up, or sat out during any part of the next few games. But my son played one play as a pinch runner. Wow. The coach/ principal have no idea I know that the coaches brother in law is the guy that worked at the local store that trash talked the coaches an then I put in my two cents. These guye are foooking lame. They have no idea what I did in the military.

    So now with all this,misconduct, fraud, nepotism ect, I still want to give the principal a chance, the coach a chance and I am avoiding the superintendent. Even though I have been advised to go strait to the super and board. I have a heart. I want a hand shake and call it….even last night the email i got from the principal was rude…another bs story.

    What would you do? And there are so many other things…..I knew for much longer than they think about the brother in law was related to head coach. The funny thhing is they thought they were baiting me. The not so funny part is my son paid the price for their game and lack of professionalism to come forward.

    So all the team members get a letter next week. The principal suspended my son one day before the playoff game which removed his letter. A questionable suspension at best. But his son can drink in uniform which is written in school policy manditory suspension ect….defraud the league and teach the players there are no consequences when drinking underage on my team…go ahead party up!!!

    I am very concerned this guy is leading our players to think its ok to break the law, drink and be dangerous while not notifying the parents as stated by law. wow he has some base balls.

    After many attempts to talk sense into this idiot, he is still avoiding my meeting requests. He now wants to give my son a JV for football, (the
    coach took from the 600 my son donated for players, to pay for the JV letter). at the awards next week as the rest of the bb team get the varsity letter as my son was suspended prior to school as he was all alone in the gym working out for a ridiculous by law “questionable” suspension. Personal issues????

    And I still want to go to the principal and give him an option. wow.

  93. Also I did meet with the football coach at the time who was the bb coach and the brother in law of the guy at the hardware store chain…his answer was to my question of why he stood the whole game…”oh I forgot he was there, ill make it up next game.” That game was 175 miles away which i drove too and watched him stand the whole game again, except for he played special teams on kick off which was 3 plays.

  94. I came across this website by accident and it was upsetting. I had thought my son was just losing his drive for baseball at 9 years old. My son was the star player at 7 and at 8 he slipped a little. Well this year at 9 he is near the worst. But whenever he plays in his lessons he becomes alive again. Then after a practice or bad game he is ready to quite. Well no shock on this website that we have a bully coach. I have seen him hit kids with the ball then say pay attention. Or put someone in a new position so when they make a mistake he gets a chance to yell at them. Then other players can make mistakes all day long while some kids are his standard target. Our team is 4 and 12. Not very good!! And 1 good example is when my son made a pitching error he was immediately pulled from the field and yelled at and as he hung his head in shame as the coach continued his tirade. Then proceeded to put his son in as pitcher who walked 3 kids in a row. So my son noticed how bad his friend did and commented on it. I had to correct it because I thought it was the wrong attitude to have with a teammate.

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  96. Looking for some advice

    To start I have been an assistant coach at the high school I graduated at for the past two years. The Varsity girls’ basketball coach was new when I started two years ago. Within the past two years I have seen over 20 girls quit basketball for multiple reasons. Despite disagreeing with some areas with the Varsity coach, I do share many common basketball beliefs. Now being said, I was the very first person to seek our varsity coach to ask about helping, and yet I turned into an assistant who only took stats for his team and was there to get him what he needed. I understand I had to start somewhere, but our school girls’ basketball coaches (varsity to freshman) all where from other cities, and drove to practice everyday. So with a chip on my shoulder I continued because I wanted to help the program in anyway I could. Now after two years I see how all three of the coaches degraded the female athletes and pushed from the game I love and respect. So after this season, seeing how many girls quit, I decided I wanted to run an AAU program for the summer to get the girls back on the court. But now the Varsity Coach informed me I am no longer on the coaching staff and he sent me a text saying, “how dare you ask (a players name) to play, what the heck are you doing?” I’ve sent him many emails explain my position because I have also been open and honest to him, and yet he continues to believe I’m out to get him and will band together with a group of parents who want him fired. Is it wrong of me for starting the AAU team (even after I tried to contact him about it many times, but he never responded)? It’s in my blood, that I can’t give up on these girls and they deserve somebody who believes in them. Where I have heard the Varsity coach degrade the girls who quit and say they are weak minded and are out for attention. Basketball is my desire, and coaching is my goal. I have so much love and respect for the game, but how can a varsity level coach treat his “staff” and players with so much disrespect? Every single player deserves to learn about basketball and enjoy the game without being put down in any form.

  97. My daughter is 16, junior, and has been a starter on varsity soccer since her freshman year. She plays ODP, club ECNL, and has traveled to many places throughout the world playing soccer. She loved this game up to this season. Her coach has ripped her apart, told her she sucks, she’s stupid and worthless. She blames my daughter for the teams loses, yells at her on and off the field in front of the AD, pulls her from the game for another team members mistakes. She simply targets my daughter. As a result my daughter has lost the love of the game. Says this is only high school and has lost a desire to play the game. She comes home crying after practice. She was being scouted by several division 1 schools and now just deletes their emails. I just want to pick up the phone and yell at this woman but my daughter and wife won’t let me. She is protected by the AD who simply walks away from her temper tantrums and permits this to happen. I’m disgusted and saddened to watch my daughter suffer. Advice?

  98. Hello all. I have a 14 year old freshman high school wrestler. So far this season, we have had a rough start. My son went straight from cross country season to wrestling season, but suffered a stress fracture in his foot toward the end of cross country. He was told by the doctor, no running or jumping for 6 weeks, which turned into 12 weeks. As I’m sure most of you know, a stress fracture is not really visible, as you can still walk and you don’t need a cast. However, it is very painful and has to heal fully/properly, even then you still risk recurring injury to that area. My son’s life goal is to go to the Marine Corps, so naturally he wants to stay healthy/able bodied in order to do that. His doctor didn’t want him participating in any sports for that healing period, but I convinced him, as my son wanted, to let him wrestle as long as he didn’t do any running/jumping for conditioning. After 6 weeks, we thought he would be healed up, had him re- xrayed, and nope…6 more weeks to heal without running. During this time period, my son was singled out by coaches and teammates for not running or “not going hard”. My son admits fully that he could’ve done more and that he was being lazy. Okay, so we addressed that, insisted that he give 150% and meet his team’s expectations. We had him re-evaluated 2 weeks early in hopes that he would be released, so that he would not have to sit out of the running and be picked on. My son has wrestled for 7 years and has never had a coach like this one. Upon having a conversation with my husband, the coach admitted that my son had been picked on by teammates and the assistant coach, which means that he was aware of it, and allowing it. Still, we encouraged my son to “tough it out” a little longer, work hard and things will turn around.
    The entire next week (last week) and a half, my son busted his butt in practice. The next tournament they went to, my son went 2-1, taking 2nd place over some really tough kids. He was aggressive, scoring high points, taking shots, everything that he coach was demanding of him. His 3rd match of that day, he lost at the end of the final period. It was a hard fought match. The next practice, the coach compliments almost every member of the team, except my son. There was only one wrestler on the team that placed higher than he did, and none of them were giving as much effort, sweat and blood as my son. I watched every single match that day. Instead of complimenting him or having anything positive to say, he only criticized him for allowing his opponent to pass him in points in the 3rd period, when he was ahead the rest of the match. Admittedly, my son ran out of steam, which is why he got pinned in that match. But that just goes back to his lack of conditioning (no running). I even bought the school a stationary bike, after finding out (weeks later) that the one that the school owns is junk and has no resistance at all.
    We are supposed to have a “positive coaching” school. How do I go about resolving this matter without subjecting my son to further issues? After that Monday practice I mentioned, even one of my son’s teammates said “wow..he just doesn’t like you, does he?”

  99. I don’t even know where to begin….my daughter (17) LOVES soccer. Plays on a club team and of course for high school. I know that playing for high school is more of a social thing but it is beginning to affect my daughter. She is one of the few who plays club on the high school team yet she sits the bench. Other girls on the team have no business owning cleats, let alone play. My daughter says the coach hates her and she’s losing interest in the game. I refuse to go to the games and my husband says we should support her, even if she only gets 10′ of playing time. This is her second year with this coach…it happened last year, the coach is not going to change and I cannot bear to see my daughter upset when other players below her skill level get playing time and she doesn’t. Coach is NOT reasonable, I’m looking to seeing how I can convince my daughter to quit HS soccer and stick to club. At least, my daughter needs to understand why I no longer wish to sacrifice my nights sitting on a cold bench to HOPE she gets a mere 5′ playing time. Frustrated mother!!!

    • Same thing happened to my daughter on school dance team. It ruined my daughters confidence, fave her anxiety, depression, and was severely detrimental to her mental and physical health. We sought outside professional help and we were told to pull her out immediately and let her dance elsewhere. The therapist said it justwasn’t wOrth the long term repercussions. That being said, unless there is a change in coaching at your school, stick with club.

      • There is a club Soccer in my area Carlsbad CA, this club has the worst leadership I have ever seen. They hate kids if it does not fit in there click and the worst part is that a major team in LA is part of this club. When is it bad to be from USA and playing soccer.

  100. Bullying
    We always hear about kids bullying other kids. What about if it’s an adult bullying kids? What if it’s an adult in a supervisory position? What if you can’t go to someone in authority regarding this situation because the one in authority is the one doing the bullying? What if you can’t go to anyone regarding this situation because of retaliation for the kid and the parents? What if you can’t go to anyone regarding the situation because you know nothing will be done? What do you do if the parents are co-workers of the coach?
    With all these factors in play, the bullying will continue and nothing will ever be done. The bullying will just move from kid to kid and continue forever.
    It is beyond my understanding what we allow and what actually happens too many times.

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  103. Need advice!!

    My son is a young 14 year old freshman who just finished his freshman year of basketball. He was a top 8th grader around our area and had many options and felt this school would be best choice to showcase his talent. He started by playing freshman ball, then asked to play JV and before Christmas was asked to play Varsity. We allowed him to play and practice all three although we felt it was too much. He felt that he needed to help the other younger teams. His freshman coach would write him sticky notes telling him that he had to be like a coach on the floor, yet when he tried to be a leader the coach would ridicule him for doing so. With playing the upper levels, they would taught that if they had the open shot to take it. So he would do that in freshman and be sat for extended time. Our son had a problem with how he was being treated and we told him that he needed to talk to head coach. He asked coach of he could talk to him and the head coach told him that he supports the freshman coach. So our son continues the year with questioning and doubting everything he did.
    Then he had suffered a broken nose the last week of basketball. He feared that he wouldn’t be able to play his last games. Yet we got him into a specialist the next day and the nose was placed and he was cleared to play by the doctor. He only needed to wear a face mask to prevent further trauma. We quickly notified the coaching staff that he would be able to play that day for freshman and Varsity games. Throughout this year, he had given blood, sweat and tears to this freshman team by playing almost all minutes and being
    A leader. On the last game, the freshman coach wouldn’t allow him to start and when questioned why he had no answer. He asked if it was his nose and he said no so he was very disappointed with this coaches actions.

    Now it’s over yet this coach is still on varsity staff and makes practice and games a nightmare. Should we stay or try and find a new school and basketball program??

    • Christi,

      Thank you for sharing. I am sorry to hear about your situation and what your son is going through. As a father myself this issue always hits home. Most of the parents and young athletes I work with on cases of bully coaching, such as this, do not see transferring schools/teams, and finding a new coach as an option. Unfortunately, with the lack of support from other parents, school administraters, and the athletic department; this is the only option. Preserving a young athletes confidence is most important – in these cases and with all challenges in sports. It is crucial to their performance (on and off the field), self-esteem, self-concept, motivation to excel, and most importantly their level of enjoyment and experience in the sport. When no progress or changes are being made within the coach-athlete relationship and also the parent-coach relationship – it is time to move on. Sooner then later. This must be an option parents and athletes are willing to seriously consider, especially if the athlete is passionate about their sport and athletic future – in order for development to be successful. I wish there was a full-proof secret to resolving these issue, but we just aren’t there yet. Our team at MEA and SPT have services available such as mental assessments and evaluation tools to help support parents and athletes throughout the resolution process. When red flags are raised in these assessment and our staff does what we can to bring this to the attention of the coach, AD, and other parties involved as evidence of the issue and effects of bully coaching – in hopes of a resolution. If you or anyone would like more information on these arrives please email directly at m.edger@live.com or through the contact page.

      I hope this help with this your decision. It is definitely a difficult call to make, but more then often a necessary one.



  104. My son has come from overseas to red shirt at a JUCO, the reason for the redshirt was to give him a chance to get use to the academics as he studied in a different country.

    To keep it simple, he has played basketball nationally for nearly 10 years. He is extremely hard working and absolutely loves basketball. I have recommendations on both his character, attributes and standard of playing. However, after one season at this college he has lost confidence, doubts his ability and talent and has had a terrible experience. Feeling excluded (even though we we’re told he would not be treated differently).. Bullied by coaches and other players with no consequences. Despite this, he decided he had made a commitment and wanted to continue training, which he would not be able to do if he left the team, like other players had done.

    There has been a lot of issues with the team and it all came to a head recently. The team had decided to work collectively to get the coach to understand how they felt.

    Now the season is over, my son has approached other JUCO hoping to move onto their program. However, the coach told him yesterday that he refuses to give him a good reference, in fact he will be giving a terrible reference, so no JUCO will want him. He will also be doing this with the rest of the team.

    This seems to have happened, as he has been receiving responses off the back of his mix tape, but not getting any further along. He is really upset, because despite these issues he is still determined to play basketball and get his degree.

    My questions is can he do this? I have proof of emails he has sent me saying that he is really happy to have my son on the team and to let me know if there is a problem, which he never did.

    What would be a good way to approach this with the coaches that are interested in him. Are we honest about what has happened.

    Any advice would be really appreciated, as I am worried this could affect his future.


    Worried Mum

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  107. I am so excited to find your web site as I was scanning for help re a bully coach. My son has played on travel baseball teams since age 8..In 4th grade he was asked to play up on the middle school team..he is now in 7th grade. He is a pitcher and 3rd baseman. He has been clocked pitching in the high 70’s a few years ago at a College baseball camp…in other words he LOVES the game and has played it well…until now. At first I thought it was just kids grumbling…then I started noticing all the kids at practice upset, threatening to quit..I would hear them say,”I have never had a coach talk to me like that”…then another parent told me they over heard the coach yelling, calling the boys morons…then practice moved out on the fields where I could view it. I heard him screaming at kids that were new to playing (small private school using all the players they can)totally humiliating them instead of teaching them..My son has hit triples, doubles, home runs even knocking them over the fence..only to be told “that’s nothing, I can hit one farther than you”…I should think so as he is a 27 y/o coach vs. a 13 year old boy..it has come down to him saying to my son..well you waited until the end of the season to start hitting”..he has rarely ever struck out. Tonight the opposing team declared just to walk him instead of pitching to him. Seems they noticed he can hit! With travel ball my son often closes it down, 3 up 3 down. Now I am seeing him throw more balls and walks than I have ever seen. I worried his arm was injured at first. When I started asking questions he said “mom, there is nothing I can do to please that man, no matter how hard I try. He is only going to say something bad to me” so I give up..every single pitch my son throws, the coach stops him “hey 12…” my son says he cant” get in his groove’ pitching and he gets him so stressed and into his mental game it is having a very detrimental effect. I am upset at myself for not figuring out what was happening sooner. It is difficult to know how to address this. In all the years of playing ball, I have never felt the need to intervene about a coach like I do this time..I am so sad to see him suck the life out of these boys with his negative yelling and name calling. He loves to hit ground balls unusually hard and too close to the players then yell when they dodge it instead of stopping it..don’t get me wrong, I know about fielding ground balls, but he is hitting them dangerously hard too close. We have had several bruised shins on players and limping but I worry about a bad hop and loss of teeth!

  108. Let’s start by saying Joan has been consistently referred by coaches as their dream player very hard working and willing to learn new styles and positions in practice. “Very coachable” was also a word commonly used for Joan. She was heavily recruited to play for this particular top team but by no means thought she was guaranteed play time. There was an equally talented group of 12 fifteen year olds. When the offer came down we did ask where Joan fit in the lineup. While there was no guarantee of playtime from coach Joe. After tryouts and six solid weeks of pre tryout workouts with the same girls the coach stated she was in the top 6 of players being selected. So she went with his team. Playtime was important but being on a winning team was even more. He added that stats don’t lie and that he lets the girls know there stats. Those stats would determine playtime.

    “You’ve got to stop messing up when I give you opportunities” the coach would say. Once After a 2 -3 hour break sitting the first set coach sent Joan in to serve at 24-20 in the second set sent out to serve cold in a known high pressure situation and told serve aggressive. Joan missed her serve and was taken out never and returned to the court the rest of the day. These were the kinds of opportunities Joan would get.
    Fifteen good passes one bad “and that’s how Brentwood girls pass” in front of the other girls that where all from different surrounding areas Joan being the only one from Brentwood.

    “you played well but I didn’t put you back in be because the expression on your face you look mad “. Her face was described as calm and focused just two weeks prior. By another coach on this team and by most of the coaches she has ever had.

    Making a line up in a practice scrimmage with 10 of the 11 girls in the lineup leaving Joan off until she asked where she fits in, adding her at that point. She would play the last 10 -15 minutes of a practice scrimmage.

    When the teams setter went down the coach asked Joan to train with a two other girls for setting. The coaches knew she set last year in a couple of matches in club ball and on the 8th grade team that won the league championship. Days later setting practice was cancelled 3 times for Joan by the coaches. Then another girl becomes the second setter. With no explanation given to Joan. Another opportunity to show her worth to her teammates and coaches was gone

    In one of the matches Joan’s team lost the first set 10-25 down 1-5 second set. Coach Joe sent Joan in the game and played extremely well and brought the team back to win in three sets. She had zero errors and probably 15 kills as stated by others that where there as she got to play all around for only the second time all year. Coach Joe acted as it never happened in fact when a parent of one of the other girls went up and said how well she played just shrugged his shoulders and said “ yea I guess she did. “ Almost as to say he expected or wanted her to fail.
    Joan was never allowed more than two errors per set. If that was the standard all around everyone it would have been okay with Joan but it wasn’t. This was always pretty common on most teams Joan had been on. 3 errors and you are out for everyone it was known and seemed fair . One player made 5 -6 errors in a row in one particular match. We were down 2-9 in the first match of the day Coach Joe put Joan in and things turned around they won the set. Put that same girl back in for the second set. As parents we thought great for that girl’s confidence, nice job by the coach! As we were still new to the team. However not so good for Joan because she didn’t play again the rest of the day. Leaving her feeling like what did I do wrong?
    As a concerned parent I Called the coach after the second tournament of the year when I knew he wasn’t coming for the third day and asked for an explanation of some things and that I knew Joan needed to work on some areas of her game and could he call be back leaving my name and number The coach texted Joan hours later saying he would call back her dad the next day never did then texted again a few days later texting her the same answer. At the next tournament before it started I approached the coach saying Joan had no idea I called and I would have liked to have kept it that way then I added I guess it was between him and Joan. He smiled and said I guess I messed that up. Thinking back something I shouldn’t have done I let him off the hook I still wanted answers.
    All examples of getting in a kids head. Not good coaching in my opinion and almost bully coaching. Joan has only ever been anxious to get even better at the end of a season. This year she just wants it to be over. She has lost interest in a sport that she once loved. For the first time she since playing in fourth grade doesn’t want to play in college and not sure if she wants to play competitively next year. These were just some of the things that came home from Joan after practice and games that was making her dread another day.
    The only time stats ever where shown was after the following incident. Joan was in the top two in passing with 1.97 average on a 1-3 passing scale. Even training as a hitter and really only being put in games as a Defensive Specialist There were always different practice areas for the two separate groups hitters and Defensive specialists this was the second best average on the team. The team’s libero was passing at 2.12. The teams trained DS was passing 1.7
    This plus sitting with some other very angry parents for three solid days got in my head. After the match when Joan told me she probably wasn’t going to play anymore that day for the look on her face. I blew a gasket. It happened so fast, I was one of those parents .I walked up to the coach and yelled. F#&$ Joe now she’s not going to play because the look on her face really! I apologized for by actions almost immediately Then again ten minutes later with a much calmer voice with some reasons that lead up to that point but never an excuse. There is no excuse that justified it. I knew it was the wrong place, tone and time.

    I feel awful for being one of those parents. I want to say it’s not who I am but as they say your actions do define you. My only hope that I didn’t make thing worse for Joan. I hope another club wants to take her next year if she changes her mind and continues to want to play and they don’t focus on my actions. I know thing get around and stories grow it scares me something terrible because it will be my fault. I love that kid and all my kids with all my heart.

  109. I have a 15 year old daughter who plays ringette. Last year she played at an elite level, and really only made the team because there were not enough players; actually half the team made it for that reason. However she was committed to getting better and to proving herself. There were 4 girls that played defence for the last year and my daughter and another girl were 5th and 6th. The first few months of the season she spent primarily on the bench. She began to lose confidence and was frequently upset and crying after games. We discussed with the coaches and they said that she is fooling around during practices so this was their form of punishment. We took that feedback and discussed with our daughter. She acknowledged it, and took responsibility, even though I know there were numerous girls who were doing the same thing and still managed to get full ice time. My daughter shaped up, did what she was told by the coaches and saw a very small temporary increase in ice time. She would frequently complain that the coaches had different philosophy’s, and one coach would tell her one thing, and the other would reprimand her for doing it incorrectly. She became confused, timid and terrified of making a mistake for she knew the punishment was being benched. She was made the laughing stock of the team because she was always the “bench warmer”. No that the season is behind us, she is attending tryouts again for a lower level team. Her lack of confidence is killing her. She has been cut from the team in her own town and is now trying out in other towns but its not looking good. Some of the feedback is that she is to passive, afraid to make contact, dishes the ring away quickly and that she takes too short of shifts.
    I know this is all because she figures the shorter she is on the ice, the less likely she is to make a mistake, therefore less likely to get benched.
    Its breaking my heart knowing she will not make a team, and will have to give up a sport she loves so dearly because of one season of bad coaching.
    Any advice to help her get over this?

  110. Football is one of the best game forever. The most of the football players are not grow up by their good coach. If your coach is bully, you need to avoid.

    Like you, most of the athletes are leave their profession due to bad coaches. But, not all. Don’t loose your carrier and try to find the good athlete and keep practicing. In recent days, this same issues happens in one of the well-known schools in Dubai. Suddenly, the student go with some of the lawyers in dubai to take legal actions. This happened also by the bully coaches. They never understand their students minds.

  111. Football is one of the best game forever. The most of the football players are not grow up by their good coach. If your coach is bully, you need to avoid.
    Like you, most of the athletes are leave their profession due to bad coaches. But, not all. Don’t loose your carrier and try to find the good athlete and keep practicing. In recent days, this same issues happens in one of the well-known schools in Dubai. Suddenly, the student go with some of the lawyers in dubai to take legal actions. This happened also by the bully coaches. They never understand their students minds.

  112. Coaches of young athletes need to realize how much they influence their players! A good coach can really help these kids with self esteem, confidence, and teach them to become well-rounded individuals. However, a bad coach can ruin A child for life. I have an 18-year-old cousin who plays baseball at a small private high school and he has loved baseball from the day he could pick up a ball! He is a phenomenal athlete and has been brought up in a large family of athletes who have played high school and college ball. Currently he has a head coach and an assistant coach. The assistant coach is the kind of person who demands respect from his players although he does not respect them and is verbally/physically abusive. After one of the games in which they lost the assistant coach proceeded to stand behind his players while they were shaking hands with the opponent, yelling at them where everyone on and off the field could hear, saying, “Yall suck! Y’all are terrible at baseball, “How do you like smelling the other teams sh** because they just rubbed yalls noses in their asses!” All the players could do was hang their heads and proceed to the outfield for huddle where he proceeded to bash them and eventually my cousin, a senior on the team, said “can you just shut up!” **I am a firm believer that players should not disrespect the coaches, however, I am not sure if I would consider the player in the wrong in this situation. **
    Well of course this made the coach even more mad and become outraged and lash out at my cousin. The coach stood over him screaming at him at the top of his lungs! It went something like this…

    ” You think you are some kind of legend in other sports but when it comes to baseball you’re not shit!”
    “I don’t know how you were raised but you will never amount to anything after high school!”
    “If you were my child you would be picking your teeth up off of the ground right now!”
    “I demand respect from you and I will get it!

    I think I’ve said enough to convince anyone that this coach is extremely harmful to adolescence and should never be allowed to coach anywhere ever again! But that was not the outcome of this situation sadly! My cousin was kicked off of the baseball team and the coach is still coaching only because his son is the pitcher and the school did not want him to leave to pitch somewhere else!

    There are many issues with the situation!
    1) First and foremost I worry about my cousins self-esteem or lack there of because of this type of coaching
    2) It is sad that a high school will allow and hire these kind of coaches knowing how detrimental they are to these young athletes.
    3) The morals, respect, and quality of coaching seems to be lost in a lot of high schools today!
    4) In general, what kind of adult acts like this towards a child! You should be the adult and should man up and take control of your team in a professional manner.
    5) I feel horrible for the other players who still have to be coached by him because he is only going to do them harm!

    I would love to hear anybody else’s opinion, agree or disagree?

  113. I am requesting for my mother. She doesn’t necessarily wishes to generate dollars off them, her purpose is to use her blog (once popular) and use it as references to in some way help her to arrange a magazine article. She has a heading for one named “Answers to Life’s Problems”. Where can she write forums and they become popular already on Blogger but there are 3 million people submitting to forums, hers gets lost in the mix. Any suggestions?.

  114. coach bully my 14 year old son has been bullied for the past 3 years by his coach he’s constantly praising him how well he does and how he Carrys the team he’s made all varsity teams his coach constantly tells him how well he is but when games come up he’s benched and can’t never make his tryout he’s at the point were if anyone mentions soccer he breaks down to the point we’re I break down with him his soccer skills are unbelievable but is constantly bullied by his coach because the coach has a hate for me the father not only is my son emotionally disturbed but I’m sick to my stomach and don’t believe an adult could do such a thing he’s at the point we’re he has withdrawn from everything and very sad everyday it’s even affected his younger brother he cries like to the point of a nervous breakdown is there anything that can be done please give some advise I’m taking legal action am I waisting my time. Cal

  115. I play high school softball. We had a game last night. After the game we always go to the outfield and talk. The coach was talking so I was looking at him. He got done and stared at me. He asked if I had anything to say and I said no. He said to stop glaring at him then. I said I wasn’t but before I could even finish my sentence he interrupted me saying he has had enough of my attitude.He is always finding a way to chew me out. I’m like his target. I went home bawling my eyes out and this isn’t the first time it has happened. Later that night my dad went in to give the coach mg uniform and my dad asked what he said to me and the coach refused to say. We can’t really go to anybody because the coach is married to the principal and our athlete director won’t do anything about it because he’s afraid he will get fired.

  116. so i play high school and travel softball. I start at my position on travel and bat #4. But going into freshman year i felt really good about making the team. i did but jv. the coach of var always put me down and like i felt unneccessary and like my self esteem went really low. he continued to make rude remarks towards me during season and like idk i just feel like quitting becasue of him and like im doing really great in travel and yeah i kinda wanna move out of the freaking state and go to a new school. He just always makes me feel like shit and like i just hate him so much cause HE PLAYS FAVORITISM but i just wanna cry so bad bc he makes me feel like i suck. AND there are girls on var who freaking smoke weed and drink and all that and i am over here like WHY are they being rewarded????

  117. Hi guys. I’m an 18yr old soccer goalkeeper. At one time I was one of the best in the USA, but I’m having trouble with confidence. I’m mentally destroyed because my FATHER does nothing but degrade me. I don’t even want to play anymore because of it. The only reason I’m playing is because it makes it cheaper for college. I can’t seem to do anything right and what he said/says just stays on my mine 24/7 and it’s killing me. My performance is lacking big time because of it. I don’t even want to practice or play games anymore because of it. I tried sitting him down and telling him, but he just goes back to his old ways within a day or two. The one time I burst out in tears because I couldn’t take it anymore. I started to think things that I shouldn’t have too.i just don’t know what I can do to fix it and be back to my old self. The best thing for me is my wonderful girlfriend who makes everything better, but since me and my father argue a lot sometimes I can’t see her. I know I shouldn’t argue with my father, but I inherited the anger trait and I do the best I can not to say anything, but it eventually comes out. To make a long story short (kinda haha) is there anyway that I can mentally fix myself? I’m terrified of my father because of this and want to leave, but don’t have the money. Thank you for taking the time to read this. Look forward to your feedback!

  118. Hi guys. I’m an 18yr old soccer goalkeeper. At one time I was one of the best in the USA, but I’m having trouble with confidence. I’m mentally destroyed because my FATHER does nothing but degrade me. I don’t even want to play anymore because of it. The only reason I’m playing is because it makes it cheaper for college. I can’t seem to do anything right and what he said/says just stays on my mine 24/7 and it’s killing me. My performance is lacking big time because of it. I don’t even want to practice or play games anymore because of it. I’m terrified of making a mistake. All I want to do is please him and making a mistake scared me so much that it’s constantly on my mind and because of that I’m making more mistakes than I have ever before. I tried sitting him down and telling him, but he just goes back to his old ways within a day or two. The one time I burst out in tears because I couldn’t take it anymore. I started to think things that I shouldn’t have too.i just don’t know what I can do to fix it and be back to my old self. The best thing for me is my wonderful girlfriend who makes everything better, but since me and my father argue a lot sometimes I can’t see her. I know I shouldn’t argue with my father, but I inherited the anger trait and I do the best I can not to say anything, but it eventually comes out. To make a long story short (kinda haha) is there anyway that I can mentally fix myself? I’m terrified of my father because of this and want to leave, but don’t have the money. Thank you for taking the time to read this. Look forward to your feedback!

  119. i hate my coach for some kind of reason he seems to hate me the most out of the rest of my team. I tried to be please him many times i know I shouldnt be a robot for soemone but he disresepcts me as a player. he pulled me out of a position when I make a minor mistake and he treats me totally different from how he treats the rest. He embarrasses and humilaites me in front of everyone and he makes my team mates come to me to scold me. He replaces me with someone HE LOVES and tbvvvh makes worse mistakes than me but he laughs it off n whatever i do I am always wrong and stupid in his eyes. I used to LOVE sofbtall SOO MUCH but now…. he kinda took my passion away. I couldnt catch a ball because my team mate threw it really off and I tried running for the ball but it was no use cus the accuracy was off and he threw his bat on the floor and stomped off. He shouted at me and cursed at me and made me run around the feild foR ROUNDSSSS with me shamefully crying in front of my WHOLE TEAM. I have never once heard a word of encouragement from him and all he do is say that I DONT TRY HARD ENOUGH AND THAT I DONT EVER WANT TO CHANGE. but wat is change and wat is trying hard enuf? I dont even know anymore. he affects me A LOT and I gotta say he made my confidence level drop A LOT and now i Doubt my softball skills a lot. He fails to encourage me when I make a mistake and whenever I do, i dare not meet his eyes and I fear that he would remove me from my position i YEARN SO MUCH. I think he already did with the PLAYER HE LOVE SO MUCH. whenever i bat, he gives me the least balls for me to bat and when I make a mistake he jsut rolls his eyes, and say I NVER WAT TO CHANGE.. so for the subsequent hits he dont even bother to correct me, and my hitting isnt even the worst. I really hate him, I wouldnt call his actiosn as bullying but he really affects me emotionally and I wanna quit softball but i love the sport.. but i m afraid that he will continue to do this to me and i will lose my passion all together. HE even removed me from outfield with a younger player AND ISTG MY MISTAKE WAS NOT EVEN SERIOUS.. I CAUGHT THE BALL AND rolled it out( DURING TRAINIGN ) because that was his previous instructions and I didnt catch the new one. I SAY SORRY but he just shake his head and curse at me to his FAVOURTIE PLAYER..

  120. All these comments got me concerned for my sons baseball future. I just recently took him off the town travel team and now plays on a club travel team He played SS, 2nd base, catcher and lead off and played every inning he was truly the best on the team. They moved him around positions and out played the coaches kids. I think that started the turning point. this is not what effected him, it was the four dads coaches that never said anything good singled him out for not sliding into second or something silly like that and were negative and treated the kids like mini adults at 11 years old except there children, they could do no wrong. At this age I believe devolpment is more important then winning. They would say things like you guys are an embarrassment to the town. They would take credit when they won and blamed kids if they lost, just to mention a few. Very disturbing, plus the favoritism and double standards just got to the wife/son and me. I am not one of those fathers that thing everyone should get a trophy I am complete opposite. I also help the kids at practice because the 4 coaches would let the kids hang around. I believe there should be no downtime in practice, which was rampant with the 4 of them. My only satisfaction was coaching a rec team of low skilled players and beating the same travel team minus two players every time we played against them. Very amusing but I never showed my dissatisfaction and told the son to do same. I know I’m just rambling on and I am sorry but would like to say to all the coaches that dontate their time and energy for the children and not the their own personal agenda, GOD BLESS YOU
    Development over winning

  121. My son is experiencing these issues with his coach. For the first time, ever has this been directed to him. It’s like he singled him out and had him on his team just so he could pick on the smallest guy. Not the shortest, but the smallest in weight, by about 15 lbs. It’s little this and “no one fumbles a kick return” that,…pointedly staring at him in front of the whole team. Make the same mistake his favorite player’s make, or miss a catch because his favorite QB over threw, and no more chance for him; unlike the other’s who get more chances. It’s crazy. And you know what? The league doesn’t care. They’re all bros! I actually was told this. This is Westlake League, Utah, btw. Just saying, horrible league. Last year with these people. I heard good things, but coaches make all the difference, and the sexism, bullying and allowance for horrible coaching, starts at the top and trickles down. The best we can do as parents is to not give them our money and shame them on the internet. Truly. To all those picked on, bullied kids, chin up! That’s what I keep telling my son. What he says, doesn’t matter at all. And if I catch that guy being rude to my kid again, he’s going to hear from me…again and again and again….

  122. I’ve coached 8u-12u softball rec and travel. I have had girls with attitude problems, drama and the usual stuff you have with young ladies. We may at times be tough on our kids, but we never name call, never publically degrade or insult a child. We will talk about mistakes and what we can do to fix them, what is important is that they grow. Is it nice to have a winning season? Absolutely but not at the cost of your players confidence and self esteem.
    Now on a side note, we have wrapped up travel ball and my daughter decided to play volleyball this year. She’s 12. This is her first year , she made the “B” team. Which a lot of school we compete against do not have, so she is a sub for the “A” team. She was not disappointed in that, she knew she had a lot to learn. At a game last night, she was subbed in, had some great serves, the rotated. A ball was hit in her vicinity and she saw the player in front of her turn, so she didn’t go after the ball. The coach instantly called a time out to specifically call out my kid in front of her teammates and degrade her for her mistake, for letting the ball drop in front of her. Now, I have coached for several years, I know what negative comments, especially in front of team mates, does to a kid especially a young girl. I watched my kid walk on the court with confidence, then after the time out her head dropped, shoulders sagged and she went to the bench. I have a problem with the whole “A” team and “B” team idea. During practice my daughter told me all they do is shag balls for the “A” team, they don’t get to practice defense. If you want a well rounded team, why not scrimmage your “a” team against your “B” team, you might be surprised that the kids who’s names you knew that made the A team were not as good as the kids on the B team. It should be equal and its not. All that does is make it harder build confidence in a young player. Another point I would like to make is most of the time as a coach you don’t need to talk to a player about their mistake. Normally they are their own worst critic! They know as soon as they have made it, and your job as a coach should be to help them move beyond it, not to dwell on it. Teach to improve their game and self esteem. Winning is great, but its not the only thing about sports. You have an opportunity to make a difference in a child’s life. To build character, encourage work ethic and social skills with young people so they can grow up to be active members of society. To coach is a privilege and I am thankful for it.

  123. I’m observing as a coach a very good man with a mentality that only the older kids should play in jr high football 7th and 8th graders. He states the 7 grade kids have not earned I don’t agree. Any kid that comes out for a sport and puts in the time rather than sitting home should have a shot if they have the talent and is coachable respectful and a good teammate. If they lack talent then figure out how they can help the team be a part of the success. Its tough to watch for there is a kid who’s father was high school football coach and he knows the game in so many ways and is a good kid with tons of talent just not huge. He does he just wants to feel like he matters.
    I think its our job as a staff to find a place for the 3rd fastest kid on this team with great hands and great athlete and by far the best football IQ..In the end I don’t believe kids should sit because they are younger.


  124. Let’s just start out around 5th grade. Son wants to play football like his older brother so here we go. Each year 5th and 6th grade year we run time trials through the 40 to identify the best runners. Son takes top honors both years. Doesn’t run the ball but a couple times both seasons since coaches son is running. We lose most games both years.

    Jr. High, we get a coach with no ties to anyone and son starts at running back both years. The team scores 42 or 43 TD’s in 2 seasons (10 games 8 and 2). Son scores 38 of those. 20, 30, 40 yard gains are more common than not. In track he turns in better times than the high school athletes. He can outrun every player on this varsity team.

    Now in Freshman year. Barely mentioned in coaches depth chart and doesn’t step foot on the field for 14 quarters. Instead he watches as coaches son gains an average of 55 yards a game, (277 yards and 1 TD in 5 games.)

    Son finally gets his chance 2 quarters into 4th game. First run he goes over 50 yards and is brought down inside the 5 breaking his wrist. Tapes it up and in 3rd quarter goes 65 yards for TD. 2 more short runs in the 4th for at total of 124 yards on 4 carries. Hudl has him in top 3 offense for that game. Top 3 on 4 carries…guess that’s not good enough. Radio interviewed the coach after the game and he gave absolutely 0 acknowledgement to this boys contribution…never once mentioned him.

    Cast his wrist later that following week after he played a jv game scoring 1 TD in that game with wrist still just taped. 1 more jv game is the only action he’s seen since then. He did have another 50 yd run for a TD in the 2nd jv game playing through pain caused by loose cast. Had to have it recast. By the way he is the only player to score thus far for the jv team.

    So sad and sickening to watch these coaches take the drive out of these young athletes for their own arrogant personal gains. Not only does the single athlete suffer but the whole team suffers because they lose the contribution that athlete can never make to the team. Politics what a waste. Would just as soon he quit but I would never suggest it because he loves the game.

  125. My daughter is in middle school. She has been having some issues with her soccer coach. Last week he called her and some other girls on the team “bitches.” I went to the principal to complain, and nothing was done. My daughter was called a liar, and the principal said he will tell the coach not to cuss anymore. I do not feel like this is an appropriate action for a middle school soccer coach. My husband went to the superintendent today, and he did not seem like he was going to do anything either. Can someone give me guidance on what we should do next. My daughter should not have to be bullied like this, and she will continue to play soccer.

  126. Hello –

    I am in need of advice regarding my son. I’ll try to make this as short and to the point as possible!

    My son is 15 years old and has played football since he was 5 years old. He is now a HS freshman. He’s a very talented player. In his youth years, he was recruited by private schools and has also been recruited at the high school level. Although we’re very thankful for these opportunities, we didn’t pursue them because our son was identified with a learning disability when he was 12 years old and our worry was that he wouldn’t be able to meet their academic standards. From the information we gathered, our son would not receive as much help and/or accommodations in the private sector as he would in a public school environment. We are a middle class family with 3 children so paying for outside tutoring to make up for the lack of help would be hard.

    Fast forward to present – my son has been excelling academically and on the field. He was the only freshman asked to attend the varsity camp held at a university near us. The varsity head coach seemed to really like him. Freshman coach… not so much. No matter how hard he works, it’s not good enough. He asks for feedback and gets blown off. During the first game of the season, our team was doing well until the 2nd half. We were stinking it up because the other team caught onto the fact that the same player from our team would get the ball every time. The coaches weren’t making adjustments and wouldn’t put my son in at RB – or any other alternative players for that matter. My husband yelled that they need some power thru the middle – the head coach pulled my son aside and told him he needed to control his dad or he’d be sitting in the stands with him. What my husband yelled wasn’t negative but he still immediately apologized to the coach after the game. 2 weeks later my son missed a practice because we took him to get his hand checked out. He told another coach in person and also emailed the head coach. Another teammate did not practice for 2 days that week. They were both told that since they missed practice, they would not start. The other player went in after 2 series – my son was held out the entire first half. My son asked why and was told to deal with it. After that game he was moved from MLB to OLB. He asked if it was because of a performance issue and if so, what could he do to fix it. He was again told to deal with it. My husband and I try to promote self advocacy because he’s in HS and needs to try and handle things himself. This has been unsuccessful as it seems the coach is unapproachable (at least when it comes to my son). There was an all division parent meeting recently. My husband and I introduced ourselves officially after it was over. It was really uncomfortable to see my husband trying to communicate and the coach pretty much looking away and giving minimal responses to my husbands open-ended questions. He seemed to open up and communicate better with me which I was thankful for. I only mentioned to the coach that we promote self advocacy because at this level, parents need to step away. He agreed and said he and his staff could always improve in this area as well. Although the communication with my husband was rocky, I left the meeting feeling optimistic. Everything since has gone down hill. The varsity head coach had been telling my son that he’d be pulled up when league play started. This did not happen. He chose two other players who have not contributed as much as my son. My son went to him and asked what was going on. The varsity head coach told him the freshman head coach didn’t want my son pulled up and also told my son that he was still upset at my husband. He said he’d talk to the freshman coach and would be pulling my son up for the remaining games if not the first one. Since that conversation last week, my son has gotten the vibe that the varsity head coach is more distant towards him than he has been since he’s known him. I told him that he’s probably reading into it but he doesn’t agree. I’m concerned with the fact that the varsity head coach knows there is a personal issue and this personal issue is the reason for my son missing opportunities. Why wouldn’t this behavior from another coach be squashed immediately? My son has been depressed and not himself these past few weeks. He asked me yesterday what he did that was so wrong and why this is happening to him. Why his coach doesn’t seem to like him on a personal level. He doesn’t understand why the freshman coach is still upset weeks later when his dad apologized immediately after. We thought everyone had moved past it. My son is doubting himself when he has NEVER doubted his abilities before which is deeply concerning to me. I can see his spirit being broken and it’s so upsetting. My husband and I feel helpless. We aren’t perfect but we try really hard to step back and trust the process. Where do we go from here? Any feedback is welcomed I apologize for the longwinded post.

  127. We experienced one of the worst cases of “Coach Bullying” this year. Our son, who was considered a 4 star QB as a 9th grader, and had nearly 2,000 yards in 8 games, now went into his sophomore year with higher hopes. He worked harder than anyone on the team Did extra weight and speed training in addition to the required training by the coach and forewent going to summer youth camps for fear of being punished by the coach. It became obvious that something had gone array the spring before the next season. The coach, who had a dismal first season was desperate to recruit new young players. So much so that he made deals with incoming players and their parents that if they came to the school, they would play varsity as freshman. It was then that our son, who had only gotten bigger, faster, stronger and better was being snubbed out of the program. The coach became mean and calculating towards our son finding every excuse to belittle him in front of the other players. And when there was a bad snap in a practice drill, he used that as an excuse to bump him down below the incoming freshman player to the scout team. This had a traumatic affect on our son. And the coach gave no explanation. The coach quickly instructed the asst coaches that they were not to talk to us. If it had not been for the freshman player getting hurt, our son would have not seen much if any playing time even on JV. But the boy got hurt and our son when in and in just 5 games, mustered over 2,000 yards and 18 TDs. But, the head coach just continued to criticize our son, whilst the whole time the varsity team continued to lose games and the QB they had continued to throw game ending interceptions. The tormenting continued. For the first time in 10 years of our son playing sports, he didn’t want to even go to practice for fear of being yelled at and criticized and belittled in front of the other boys. All the while, the rest of the team, even the varsity wondered why our son wasn’t starting varsity. Even as he ran the scout team, the coach would tell him to “not go so hard on them so they don’t get demoralized”. And would criticize our son during film, but only when he wasn’t in the room to the other players. The last straw was when the varsity was losing by 7 TDs with maybe 6 minutes left in the game and the other team had already put their 2nd and 3rd teams in, and the coach walked by our son, put his head down and looked away. A situation where any coach interested in developing his players would have put in the second QB. Since then, we have opted to transfer (mid season) and suffer the one year sit out for the transfer, because as impactful as that is, it would have been worse to stay at that high school under that coach.

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