Mental Abuse in Youth Sports

Emotional AbuseFrom time to time I hear about emotional abuse in youth sports in my office and in correspondences with the athletes I work with.

Playing sports is definitely much harder on today’s youth than the last generation for many reasons. Chief among them is the overheated competition our kids are facing in all aspects of their lives. 30 years ago, there was no such thing as “select sports” and “showcases.”

Emotional AbuseThis extreme competition and the “win-at-all-costs” mentality that comes with it have left some casualties and I see them in my office every week.

Unfortunately, many parents feed right into this mentality thinking they are doing their child a favor by “preparing them for real life.” The vast majority is largely unaware of the destruction going on in their own homes unless it becomes a huge issue.

Unfortunately, that is often too late and the long-term damage to young minds has already occurred, often in subtle ways.

Emotional AbuseI recently heard one of my young athletes complain…

“Whenever I play and know my coach is watching me, I would feel scared. One mistake leads him to shouting sometime or cursing at me in front of my teammates and the people watching. It made me feel very ashamed.

After the game, I hate going back to the locker for fear of what the other kids will say to me. Sometimes I feel like crying. I know it’s not only me who gets yelled at and I try to believe that it’s his way of pushing us to do well in the game and win.”

Emotional AbuseNot all young athletes respond this way, but many young athletes can be deeply affected and take hits to their self esteem and confidence. Most end up wanting to quit before the next season.

Trust me, even if you had the same treatment from your parents or coaches and did just fine, even mild forms of emotional abuse, for some kids, can cause them to feel humiliated, rejected, intimidated and even depressed.

It doesn’t matter if it is spoken by the child’s coach, parents or even his or her team mates, it still can make a huge impact, cause trauma and leave a scar that can affect their behavior for the rest of their lives.

Emotional abuse takes many forms, including any of the following:

Emotional Abuse

  • Name calling “Hey, Stupid, Skinny, Fatty, Klutz”
  • Threatening “If you don’t win, forget about taking a break over Christmas vacation.”
  • Bullying or taunting by a teammate. “You’re an embarrassment to our team.”
  • Ridicule “I could have gone faster if I was crawling.”
  • Unconstructive questions “How could you let that guy beat you?”
  • Withholding Praise or Affection not speaking to or comforting the child when they play poorly or the team loses and showing obvious signs of disappointment
  • Punishing or Yelling for not playing up to your expectations or when her team loses.

What you can do as a parent:

Emotional AbuseRemember that children are extremely sensitive so sitting down with them for a one-on-one, private talk is critical. Let them talk about what they are feeling without interrupting or trying to make them feel better.

When you feel they have completely shared everything they are willing to share, explain how coaches are human and may have been coached like that themselves or do not realize how damaging their words are.

When necessary, approach the coach with respect to make sure you get a fair hearing and with as little emotion as possible explain how your child is feeling. If the coach does not seem like he will alter his behavior, it may be time to get a new coach.

Alternatively, you can band together with other parents on the team and approach the league or organization director. Either way, it is up to us, as parents, to not tolerate over-the-top screaming, ranting and raving by any of our children’s coaches.

Everyone involved in youth sports must keep a sharp eye and ear out for this, our children’s emotional health is at stake!

Learn more MENTAL TOUGHNESS TIPS by tapping here:
Youth Sports Mental Toughness.


Get FREE the “Perform Under Pressure” guided visualization to TURBO-CHARGE your athlete's confidence right before the big game.

Have you signed up to get our free updates yet?
If not, enter your email below:

Other Related Posts:

Learn How To Control Emotions - Allen Fox, Tennis Coach
What separates the professionals from the everyday...
The Coaches Playbook For Mental Toughness
As coaches, you all know what it means to be menta...
How To Build Confidence In Baseball: Use Visualization
This is part 3 in the series of interviews with Co...
Overcoming Fear In Sports Leads To Trust and Respect
Every youth sports athlete experiences fear especi...

One Response

  1. These are actually enormous ideas in on the topic of blogging.

    You have touched some pleasant factors here. Any way keep up wrinting.

Leave a Reply

*
Follow
Get every new post delivered to your inbox
Join millions of other followers
Powered By WPFruits.com