About Sports Psychology, Sports Psychology, Sports Psychology Coaching, Peak Performance
Provided by Mental Edge Athletics

Taking Action Against Bully Coaches

Taking Action Against Bully Coaches

Young athletes are bullied by coaches as well as peers, which is unacceptable in youth sports. Have your sports kids ever had a coach who yelled at, insulted or intimidated them? If so, you need to take action. We’ve got some tips—and warnings—for you about what we call “bully coaches.”

Bully coaches target all kinds of young athletes. They can set their sights on kids who are overweight, small or who lack confidence, for instance. These coaches also target gifted athletes because they believe their approach will “toughen up” their athletes.

Whether your athletes are underdogs or stars, your job as sports parents is the same. You want to ensure that if your athletes are teased, excluded or otherwise treated badly, by coaches, keep their confidence intact, learn to stay focused under adversity, and don’t drop out of sports. The bottom line, for you as parents, is to watch out for bully coaches and to arm yourself with the information you need to take action.

You, as parents and coaches, can do a lot to help kids who are bullied by their coaches visit Mental Edge Athletics for free tips on dealing with bully coaches in sports. You will learn 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.

Related Articles on Bullying by Sports Psychology Today:

How Bully Coaches Can Affect an Athlete’s Mental Game


  1. both parents and coaches should SUPPORT children and their wish for being involved in a certain sports.
    children are, compared to adults, very emotionaly unstable, and bullying of any form can leave a long term effects on them.
    but the problem might be in the fact that child will not be so open to talk about their problems with coach to their parents, and you might never find out that you kid is being bullied.

  2. This article brought up great points. My daughter was bullied by a coach who is also a guidance councilor at another school, in another town. She continually played with the psyche of my daughter. This coach would say things about my daughter’s weight because my daughter is lean and doesn’t have a lot of extra fat on her (my daughter is an athlete who works out most days and is in incredible shape). She would pick on my daughter about what she ate and openly question her, in front of others, about these issues while on the bus ride home from games. This made my daughter very uncomfortable. This coach would also frequently call or text some of the players and gossip about other players with them. She did many childish things, for instance, one knowledgeable player would often speak her mind on the field, give advice to others and some of the others didn’t want to take direction from her. So the coach called a meeting, took some of the team into the field house and preceded to let the players berate this other player, saying many terrible things to her. The player was brought to tears and humiliated. The coach told the team that the incident should not leave the field house but of course, with 15-18 year old girls, we all know how that ended.

    Some parents choose to let this outrageous behavior go on because they feel that if it’s not they’re kid getting the brunt of the problems, they can safely turn the other way. Parents stick together … people like that do not deserve to be coaching/teaching/SHAPING our children, don’t give them the power.

  3. Hello,

    Great article. I have a youth sports blog (www.therustyarm.com), may I link to this article for my readers?


    • Jeff,

      Thank you for your comment. You are more then welcome to share this link with your readers and any other article links you feel your readers would enjoy. Respectfully, M. Edger MS, MGCP

  4. My daughter has endured an a abusive coach for three years. I knew this particular coach had a reputation for being “tough” but I never really knew the extent of his abuse until other parents brought it to my attention(their children had shared with them). I noticed the ” out of line” comments during games but I found this was just the tip of the iceberg. The verbal abuse was even worse during practices. My heart broke for my daughter and when I talked to her about it she admitted that it was bad but she could deal with it because she wanted to play. That concerned me even more and explained to her that this behavior by a trusted adult was not acceptable. I wanted her to quit, because it was not worth it. Then I thought “why should she have to quit when it was the coach who should have to step down. So after the next game that I noticed the coach being outwardly cruel to her and playing major head games, I had had enough. When she got home she went to her room and sobbed to me that she no longer had talent to play the game and she was such a loser,I cried with her. I could not believe that this coach had made her feel so worthless and she actually came to believe it herself. I had gained some more totally inappropriate behavior, aggressive behavior he had engage in with another player. I reported the verbal abuse to the principal the next day. I normally would have started with the athletic director, but this particular coach IS the athletic director. I began by listing the many abusive situations this coach had engaged in and how his negative, abusive coaching style was destroying my daughter. I also expressed concern for retliation. The principal did not believe this coach would retaliate. I had my doubts. Any way, things on the surface seemed to go better. He was actually giving my daughter compliments and being much more positive with the entire team. My daughters play had also improved….and then I began to see it. My daughter was a starter on the team, but she would play for the first few minutes and get pulled for five. Eventually, she was replaced after starting the last three years. By the way the team had an undefeated season so it’s not like he was trying to shake things up. I am livid. Of course I am the bad guy in my daughter’s eyes and I look like the jilted parent and complaining because my daughter is not starting…it is clearly much bigger than that! Now what?

    • Thank you for sharing your comment and experience. We are encouraging all athletes and sports parents to use the Discussion Forum for all comments, questions, and inquiries about bully coaching. This is the best way to facilitate a discussion between our readers, sport psychologist, parents, and experts who specialize in this specific area. There is currently a forum open on bullying in sports and bully coaches, which is currently a hot topic. Here is the link:


      You can also visit the discussion forum on our Facebook page:


      Feel free to contact me and set up an appointment to discuss your daughters situation further. mike@mentaledgeathletics.com or 407.385.9798



    • Where are you from? It sounds like my identical situation? Very curious cause we have done the same things you have and don’t know what else we can do.

    • Wow, Rhonda, You are singing my song, except mine is a boy. Today my son got screamed at for getting hurt- who does that!! And I think all this negative interaction has affected his confidence and he is losing face with his friends. Plus, he tends to take it out on his family, which I dod;t like- don’t let things go as some kids do. I want to say something, but fear retaliation and being the ” bad guy” like you said.

  5. My son is being bullied on a 14 year olds travel soccer team. It is affecting his self confidence and love of the game. This trusted adult should be a leader and make a positive influence, instead he has singled out my son, who is a very sweet and kind hearted kid (choose his victim). He corrects his play constantly, yells his name at a high volume and in a disrespectful manner. My son wants to improve and is actually getting better, but at too great a cost. The other kids pick up on it and now feel free to correct him as well. At games he has him warm up the goalie while the rest of the team warms up for the game. He plays him very little, despite him playing well when he is in. He is again overly critical and corrective and vocal compared to others and at half time, when my son has not been in the game, he’ll have him “warm up” while he does the half time talk with the rest of the group huddled together. Its painful to watch and I can only imagine the pain he is putting my son through. I’m sure he actually thinks he’s being helpful and a good coach. We want to move him but my son wants to see if it improves, because the behavior seems to wax and wane. So sad and disappointing.

  6. my daughter is on a select soccer team and is a very strong player, She constantly scores several goals early in the games and then is either pulled out or put in the back to give other kids the opportunity to play and score…. Instead of condemning this coach for his actions, I very proudly thanked him………. we all want to see our children score lots of points but team sports are never supposed to be about one player………. that’s what golf is for

    • What this have to do with this discussion???Apparently your child is not being bullied.

Leave a Reply

Follow us on Twitter

Free Resource

How to Get in

Sport Psychology Today Disclaimer

Important: This website is produced and managed by sport psychology and performance psychology experts...
  • The purpose of this website is to educate visitors on the mental skills needed to succeed in sports and competitive business today.
  • As the leading link in sports psychology between practitioners, educators, and the sports community, we connect competent professionals with their prospective audience through publishing and professional marketing services.
  • All articles, products, and programs are copyrighted to their respective owners, authors, or Mental Edge Athletics.
  • The Mental Edge Athletics team respects the intellectual property rights of others and expects you to do the same.

Youth Sports Psychology

Sports Psychology Research

Sport Psychology Schools

Get Your Degree!

Find schools and get information on the program that’s right for you.

Powered by Campus Explorer