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Recent Letter to the ElderWisdomCircle™

SCHOOL: Coach Is Picking on Me
Letter #: 390293
Category: Other

Original Letter

Recently I wasn't selected for a sports tournament which I thought I was going to be selected for. I was very disappointed and quite shocked to be honest because people who are playing at a much lower level than me were in the team. My coach has been 'picking on me' quite a lot in training and it damaged my self esteem and made me feel quite depressed;as if I was constantly failing. It became more consistent and the other players started to notice it. I thought that I did quite well to try and improve what the coach was telling me so I was improving. I want the coach to stop being so cruel but I don't want this to affect my place on the team because the coach is quite judgemental. I know the correct thing to do is discuss my issue with my coach but I don't what my coach to judge me as weak or pathetic so that it harms my chances of being on the team. 

I don't know what to do and I would appreciate any help. Thank you very much

Elder Response

Sam, this is a very tricky question to answer at a distance but I will try and give you some insight and some suggestions for moving forward. 

First off are you in a team sport or an individual sport?  In individual sports like swimming, running and tennis the times you do or the rank you reach make it quite clear whether you should be picked for a team or not.  In team sports like soccer, rugby, hockey and so on the selection process is much harder because what is being sought for is the best team and it is very unusual for the best team to simply be made up of all the best players. Things like team work, balance, cooperation and so on all come into it and can make it seem as if the coach is missing you out when his or her reasons for selection are much more than just the skill in the game. In truth he or she should make it quite clear to you why you have not been picked and also give you very clear guidance as to what you have to do in every area so you can be picked. 

So your first action is to tell the coach that you are disappointed not to have ben picked for the team and then ask them quite simply and clearly the question 'can you tell me exactly what I have to do to be picked for the team?'  If the coach cannot answer that then they should not be a coach! So begin there and look for as specific an answer as you can, you want verbs or things to do in the answer! If the coach uses words that cannot easily be put into verbs like 'attitude' or 'teamwork' and so on then ask him or her the next question, 'when you say 'attitude' what exactly are you looking for from me?' Now if you believe you coach has a downer on you then ask these questions when someone else, preferably an adult, is there within earshot.

Now I am more concerned by your comments that your coach is 'picking on me' and 'being cruel'. These need addressing at once. Can you identify exactly what the coach did or said that 'is picking on you which is 'being 'cruel'. Make a note of it and then tell your parents or an interested grown up about your concern. Tell your parents facts and incidents as accurately as you can, so it is not just you complaining that you have not been picked. If you cannot talk with your parents then there must be someone in the club or organisation that has the responsibility for 'Junior development and aslo junior safety' or similar. Can you talk with them and express your concerns? If you cannot think of anyone there then maybe talk with your PE teacher at school.    

I hope that has given you some clues about how to begin, do come back to us with more questions if it would be helpful. If you want to be more specific about your age, your sex, your sport and some details about the coach then we may be able to be more focussed in our response. 

Best Regards,



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