Bullying in Sports: Difference between a “Strict” and a “Bullying” Coach.

Written by: Arooj Paulus – B. Sc (Applied Psychology)
Last updated date : October 07, 2022
Table of Contents Article title – DBT for anger
  1. Chapter 1
  2. Chapter 2
  3. Chapter 3
  4. Chapter 4
  5. Chapter 5
  6. Chapter 6
  7. Chapter 7
  8. Chapter 8

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Table of Contents Bullying in Sports: Difference between a “Strict” and a “Bullying” Coach.
  1. What Is Bullying in Sports?
  2. Signs of Bullying
  3. Signs of a Bullying Coach
  4. Call to Action

Is your coach bullying you in sports? You may be hurt when your coach called you names or preferred any other of your team member over you. This is Bully! Bullying in sports is common and for years we have observed coach bullying that we have recently admitted is a big threat to mental health.

Every player, regardless of their position, has the right to play in an enjoyable, safe, and healthy environment. Also, they have the right to be treated with respect and fairness. Bullying in sports violates these rights and can lead to feelings of shame, sorrow, and pressure. It hurts a person’s sports performance, happiness, work or school life, and physical and mental health.

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Chapter 1:
What Is Bullying in Sports?

Bullying is the intention of hurting another person that may be physical, verbal, mental, or social harm. The power imbalance is often visible in which one person holds more power than the other. A bully can be a single person or a group of people who are directly or indirectly engaged. For instance, a coach has insulted a player.

If you are subject to bullying in sports then you may lose confidence and begin to play badly. You may be cautious or fearful while playing, thinking about what others think of you. When a person is subject to bullying, they may lose interest in sports and possibly leave the team.

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Chapter 2:
Signs of Bullying

When a person is bullied, especially a child, they may not always seek help. They are scared to report it because of the pressure or shame. They may be feeling helpless. So look for the following signs if you think you or someone you know is a subject to bullying.

  • They may give reasons not to attend practices or games (e.g., they are unwell, injured, or have too much work to do) or may complain about how much they dislike their sport.
  • May ask a parent or someone to come with them to the sports club or playground.
  • Choosing a player last to be a part of a team or group activity is common.
  • Has bruises or other wounds.
  • May avoid social or group activity.
  • May feel uncomfortable, anxious, shy, or distant in an unusual way.
  • Personal belongings or clothes are frequently lost or destroyed.
  • May unexpectedly inclined to physically or verbally attack others.
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Chapter 3:
Signs of a Bullying Coach

You may be ignoring bullying acts on the side of a coach. Instead of asking the required questions, many parents ignore what is truly serious abuse. They probably assume that the coach is strict and that they can just refrain from interfering. Although it may seem impossible to differentiate between the two. There are warning signs that can help you recognize the difference between a “strict” coach and a bullying coach. Here are a few things to keep an eye out for.

Verbal Abuse

If a coach is scolding any player in public then it is a kind of verbal bullying. A bullying coach, for instance, could publicly humiliate a child on regular basis. It can involve the coach shouting, swearing, or yelling, as well as making rude comments about a player. For instance, a coach may be gaslighting a player.

Note: A strict coach will never use humiliating words in front of others.

Intimidation

If a coach often threatens a player then this is a sign of bullying in sports. As a means of maintaining authority and control over players, acts of intimidation may involve threatening them with harsh penalties. When someone makes a mistake, it may also involve threatening gestures, shouting, or threats to hurt them physically.

Note: Imitation is a sign of control. A strict coach will work hard with you to strengthen your abilities and make you confident.

Doubts

Bullying in sports can make a player doubt their abilities. Because a player’s abilities or passion for the sport may be questioned by a bullying coach. They either make fun of them or belittle them in person or in public. Further, a bullying coach might blame others for a team defeat or faults in a game. They will brag about their coaching abilities that he did best. If you notice a lot of blame games, then you’ve got yourself a bullying coach.

Note: A strict coach will accept responsibility for his or her actions regardless of the game results.

Hindering Success

Bullying coaches can also hinder or delay a player’s achievements. Coaches who have unreasonable expectations or goals for their teams usually exhaust their team players. The extra effort can make them tired and loose. As control is a form of abuse, bullying in sports by a coach may want you to put exceptional effort or you may sit among the bench players.

Note: A strict player will not blame you for failures and give you unnecessary punishment.

Gossip

If a coach is talking bad behind any player’s back or if he is discussing a player with others then it is a sign of bullying. Turn your attention if your coach disrespects you in front of others or spreads stories about you. Bullying in sports, e.g. gossiping about a player can make him/her appear awful in front of others. As a result, the bullying coach may discuss a player’s performance, ability, and future in the sport, as well as their upbringing.

Note: Strict coach can be tough on you for bad performance but will never discuss your weaknesses with others.

Isolation

Bullying in sports can also cause loneliness or isolation. For instance, a bullying coach will give you a penalty for not attending a sports trip. Further due to constant humiliation and shame, a person who is subject to bullying may start to distance themselves from family or friends due to sorrow and shame.

A bullying coach may also set a meeting around your class time to create a conflict in your schedule and make you feel left out.

Note: If these instances happen frequently. Talk to someone you trust and stop the bully.

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Chapter 4:
Call to Action

If you are experiencing bullying or know someone who is, then read the article “How to Stop Bullying and Identify Different Types of Bullying” at Epsychonline to manage bullying in sports. Further, you can start a course titled “Coping with Bullying” at Epsychonline, to get help if you experience bullying. We hope to be of help to you.
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  • Quizzes
  • Self-reflection material
  • Suggestions & feedback
  • Worksheet, tips & tools to use

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