How to deal with problem kids as a coach

Coaches might find it difficult to manage problem kids on the team. Advanced licensed coach and technical director, John O'Sullivan, shares great tips for coaches dealing with athletes that are causing problems.
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How to deal with problem kids as a coach

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So, one of the things that I see a lot in coaching is you see athletes who, year after year, allowed to continuously not be part of a team, misbehave, act like a prima donna, and they get all the way up into the pro leagues. And people like, “How did they get like that?” It’s really because people never dealt with them when they were young because they happen to be the best player. I think one of the most important things for coaches to realize is that it is not your responsibility how a player enters your program however he or she is. You didn’t make them that person, but it is your responsibility how they leave. During that time that you have them, you have the opportunity to impact them and teach them skills that don’t only serve them as an athlete, but serve them as a person. So, one of the most powerful things that coaches can do is influence behavior and I’ve had many players that I’ve coached that I’ve never had a problem with, who other coaches said, “How did you deal with that kid?” and I said I never had a problem because we had an understanding right of the bat that this type of behavior is not acceptable in our program. So many people are very quick to blame the athlete, but I look at the coaches they’ve had for all this years and said how come none of those coaches ever took a stand and said, “Uh-uh, that’s not how people act on our program.”

Coaches might find it difficult to manage problem kids on the team. Advanced licensed coach and technical director, John O'Sullivan, shares great tips for coaches dealing with athletes that are causing problems.

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John O'Sullivan

Founder of Changing The Game Project

John O’Sullivan founded the Changing the Game Project in 2012 in order to help parents, coaches and youth sports organizations create a more child-centered sports experience for our young athletes. John is a former collegiate and professional player, and worked for 20 years on the youth, high school and college level as a coach and club Technical Director. He holds a USSF A License, NSCAA Advanced National Diploma, and a US Youth Soccer National License. His blog is now one of the most popular youth sports websites in the US, and he has been a featured presenter at TEDx Bend Oregon, IMG Academy, and this week at the NSCAA Convention. The Changing the Game Project provides live and online parent and coaching education workshops, webinars, and consulting services.

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