Dealing With Coaches Who Humiliate Sports Kids

Youth Sports Psychology

How to Handle Bully Coaches

Parents, if your kids are being humiliated, harassed, intimidated or threatened by a coach, don’t hang around waiting for things to get better. It’s up to you to take action.

We’ve found that too many parents tolerate unacceptable behavior from their sports kids’ coaches because the parents don’t want their kids to lose playing time. Or they don’t want to make waves.

But if you don’t stand up for your sports kids, it’s likely no one else will. If you tolerate a coach berating or humiliating your sports kid, your child will likely lose confidence, stop enjoying the game, and maybe even quit sports altogether.

And believe us, this happens a lot. We receive many letters about bullying in sports. It’s the top topic sports parents seek our advice about.

Most recently, we heard from the sports mom of a 11-year-old baseball pitcher who’s a good player.

However, when her son is on the mound, the coach yells at him, throws up his hands and gets frustrated, she says. If her son makes a mistake, he calls him off the plate and berates him.

Her son cried during the last game and begged to go home. Now he wants to quit the team, the sports mom says.

“While I don’t want him to quit something that will challenge him – being humiliated by your coach certainly isn’t pushing him to be better,” she says.

We have lots of advice for parents whose kids are losing confidence due to the way coaches are treating their kids.

First of all, you should talk to the coach. You should do this in a civil manner, without blaming, yelling or insulting the coach. Be sure to approach the coach when he or she has the time to talk to you. And make sure your kids or other kids can’t hear your conversation.

You might begin by telling the coach some things about what you like about him or her. You might say, “I really admire the way you focus on teamwork on this team. And my son has learned a lot about communication.”

Then, point out how the coach’s behavior hurts your child. You might say, “When you yell at my son, it really hurts his confidence. It makes him feel so bad he wants to quit the team. I don’t think this is what you intended.”

A few words in defense of coaches:

If you talk in a civil manner to a coach about how he’s hurting your athlete, he may just change his ways. We’ve received emails from coaches who’ve said that this is exactly what’s happened to them. Often, they coach the way they were coached.

However, if the coach doesn’t respond, it’s time for you to decide whether this coach is hurting your child’s confidence so much that you need to find another team.

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1 thought on “Dealing With Coaches Who Humiliate Sports Kids”

  1. how do you handle a coach that calls your son non existant before each game of basketball and then when he finally goes in to play with 10 seconds left he gets screamed at. This is a child that can score up to 15 pts a game never talks back..What kind of a monster is this coach and how do i handle. My son is now permantley damanged ….mentally that is against playing future sports. He gets extremly sick before each game now. How do I handle the situation..NICELY

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