What is Abusive Coaching?

Abusive Coaching in sports can take many forms.  Whether it’s physical, emotional, verbal or sexual, it causes serious emotional scarring that can last a lifetime. It can take confidence away from children when they need it the most. It can cause long-lasting anxiety and stress among other maladies.

Abuse almost always involves a power imbalance between coach and player.

Often associated with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), abusive coaching is not about crossing the line between “Tough Love” coaching and Abuse, but about whether “Tough Love” is the correct methodology at all when science says that people play better in a safe and supportive environment.

Emotional abuse examples are:

  • Name calling
  • Insulting
  • Shouting
  • Belittling
  • Threatening
  • Humiliating
  • Scapegoating
  • Ignoring
  • Rejecting
  • Bullying
  • Taunting
  • Shunning
  • Isolating
  • Gaslighting
  • Quick oscillation between praise and criticism
  • Refusing to give corrections to the athlete
  • Promoting disordered eating
For other forms of abuse see: thearmyofsurvivors.org/abuse-in-sports