Tips on Dealing with a Bad Coach


It is not always that players get to work with good coaches. Sometimes, they encounter coaches who are very much manipulative, authoritative, sarcastic, narrow-minded and many other negative things you can think about.

Imagine a player who commits even a single mistake. For example, the player tries to execute press defense against an opponent, but then he commits a foul. Usually, a bad coach would shout to his player at the top of his lungs. He does not care who is watching. What he cares about is for his player to play perfect basketball, and it does not stop there. You will see taht he’ll pull out the faulty player and continue to shout at him, uttering words that can frustrate the player. At times, bad coaches throw a finger point in the face of a player and tell him how bad he screwed up.

See how frustrating these kinds of coaches can be. If a player is very vulnerable, he might not be able to perform his basketball obligations properly. Players have to remember that coaches put together their teams, and in most cases it is not going to be the player who will choose the coach he would like to play for.

Now, if a player wants to pursue a career in basketball, he must know how to handle these kinds of coaches. I will try to present some tips on how players can deal with bad coaches.

1. Be patient.
This should be at the top of the list. If your coach is constantly nagging you at practice, or during actual ball games, be patient. Patience can do lots of things for you. It can keep your head in the game, it can maintain your self-confidence and it prevents you from being frustrated. Patience is always a virtue. One way or another, you can keep your temper down, preventing you from talking back against your coach. You can preserve yourself as an individual with proper ethics and values.

2. Listen
You know how bad your coach is. However, you should also bear in mind that he is still the one who should know the best about the game. Therefore, you should still listen to his directions. In addition, you can also be aware that you are playing the wrong kind of basketball. I mean, on the positive side, these types of coaches are not ashamed to make you realize which mistakes you are committing. Learn to correct those mistakes and move on.

3. Do not let his temper get into you.
Now, your coach is telling you bad stuffs. How should you deal with it? Control yourself and do not allow his temper to get into you. In order to do this, be selective in listening to what your coach has to say. Pay attention to your mistakes and his corrections, and disregard any form of trash talks, even if it is hard. It is better to remain calm because you can maintain your attention to what you are doing, which is helping your team stay in the game.

4. Focus
No matter what your bad coach says, maintain your focus in the game. The only person who can defeat you is yourself; not your opponent and not your coach. Exercise your mental toughness. Do not let a bad coach eat you.

5. Fight the burden of humiliation.
Bad coaches do things that can humiliate their players. They may not know it at the moment because they are mad, nevertheless, they still humiliate their players. Humiliation can bring a player down. His self-confidence can go so low to a point that he does not want to play at all. A player should act maturely in order to fight this kind of situation.

In addition, bad coaches use a bad approach in dealing with their players because they want their players to be motivated that way. It is like a reverse psychology. They tend to frustrate and humiliate their players so that they can be motivated to do well. However, the real disadvantage is that players may be ruled by fear. It can either make or break a player and it is not a healthy form of motivation. Instead, they should be ruled by inspiration and love.

6. Talk if you think you need to.
If you think you have something to say, say it. Let your coach know how you feel towards his approach. If you think that your coach acts too much and is already below the belt, you should inform him. It should be a great awakening for him that he does not know how to deal with his players. Let him realize that he is a bad coach. If nobody does, he will never change because nobody reacts. In addition, if you think that he is making a wrong play, make valuable suggestions.

7. Respond politely.
When you try to talk with your coach, be polite. Maintain a low and soft tone of voice. You cannot respond intensely while your coach is at the height of his emotions. Do not fight a fire with fire. It will just grow bigger. Whatever happens: Always keep it professional from your ends!

8. Try to be understanding.
Understand your coach. Study his ways and his personality. You might realize why is acting the way he does. This will keep you maintain an utmost respect for him, although you think that he is acting wrong.

No matter how frustrating bad coaches can be, a player should learn to adapt to them. However, it is wiser if a player can get into the mind and heart of the coach so that he can understand why the coach is acting that way. With that, he can think of ways on how to jive in with his bad coach. It is like getting the positive side of the bad coach, you start from there, and then you build a good working relationship with each other. This is not easy, but it the best way to get a long for a long season.

Nobody is perfect in this world. At times, people should be the one to understand and adapt other’s imperfections. In this way, you can maintain a neutral tension among you. However, if you think that you should fight for what you know is right, you have every right to voice out everything you would want to say. Every individual is entitled to their own opinion.

Picture credit: Beth RankinCreative Commons Attribution


About Author

I have been playing Basketball for as long as I can remember and coaching from the age of sixteen. My blog,, has been created to help Basketball lovers from all skill levels to improve their game. I hope that you find my blog both useful and entertaining!


  1. I think that these sound like great ideas. I’ve been having trouble with my coach for two years now it’s getting bad. When I read the sentence “Be calm” I knew I had to keep reading. The tips about keeping a cool head are perfect and spot on. I’m going to remember these tips when I’m on the court.

    Thanks, basketball’s awesome! Bye

  2. I have been struggling with a bad coach; watching the JV coach scream, and chastise players, including my son, for 3 yrs. Thankfully my son is now on varsity, and has little interaction with this angry and less that affective coach. Unfortunately , recently, on the way out of the gym, this JV coach, insulted, and critisized my son as a player and as well as his personality when speaking to me & one of my youngest. We were caught off guard and didn’t defend my son. I feel the need to address this coach face to face about his comments and coaching style……any advice???

    • I’ve had this discussion with my oldest son a million times about the coaches and feeling the need to say something to them about their treatment of the kids. He has always told me not to. Leave it up to the player to confront the coach if they want to. However, if the coash made a rude comment directly to you about your son I would find the right time and place to simply tell him he was out of line making critical comments to you about your son and that if he has anything constructive to say it’s best said to your son and not you, as he is playing the game not the parents. It’s incredibly frustrating! Hopefully your son is confident and doesn’t let the coach get under his skin. I have one of each, a confident one and one who takes it very personally and as mom’s we are hurt for our kids.

      • Bad coaches suck the life and joy right out of our kids, no matter what age. I don’t understand how a coach can take a talented, hardworking player and scream and yell at them for everything breath they take; and then pull them from the game for one mistake. We have had some outstanding coaches who understand the game, are stern, but love these kids and want to see them excel. Currently, all we have is a hot head that only cares about his Ws and not about the fact that he’s humiliting the very players that can bring home those Ws. Many of the players in our school are not playing when they are seniors because they just can’t take it anymore. How very sad. Do I say something, does my son say something????? I really don’t know what to do.

    • Well, um… According to the piece above, it’s best if you & your family adapt to this coach & get to understand him…?

      Truly, this article is pretty much written like every other article. They’re a dime a dozen. They blame the parents & kids for the coaches inappropriate and normal behavior. Period, end of story, so sad too bad. Coaches blame Parents & kids for all the woes. From body size to sideline coaching. And while it’s true, both things can make or break a team… I submitt that it’s a bad coach that breaks & takes away opprtunities to win or almost win or be competitive… More than anything, as with everything in life, cooperation & communication is the sum total of symbiosis. A coaches lack of communication and consistency-is doom. If its about what a coach wants, not what the coach does, then no player or parent is safe. No matter how much confidence the player received from a lunatic coach, it ain’t the kind of confidence proven to last.

      -A coaches unsupervised power & little to no training or re-training or any age specific education, may still lead to wins, but it also leads to kids who don’t come back or who are so injured, arthritis & bursitis starts at age 12.

      Almost every coach defends another coach they work with, unless the coach is female. It’s another one of these “jobs” that is super hard and so coaches blame quite a bit on the parents or the kid. As Americans we prefer to reinvent the wheel, instead of looking at past models or other countries for guidance when working with anything, but too much with our young athletes. One example would be that Americans who r christian, denouce science on the whole, yet things like heredity / genetics don’t get dissed when choosing teams. However, this thinking is naive, at least for a pay to play club. Financially speaking, it’s not always the best idea to only pick the biggest players physically. Afterall, is not these same kids, who perhaps shot up early, who will also (often) be the first to leave sports when an interest in boys or girls kicks in, a full 2 to 3 years earlier than their less gentically large friends. There are exceptions but a kid who wants to learn or is given the right tools to learn can be just as big and fast as gentically made kids.
      My suggestion would be to keep as many kids playing all sports as long possible – and for coaches to check out the state of education and poverty in this country. Learn from other coaches mistakes, instead of screwing up even one kid. Stop blaming the kids & lighten up on the parents. If the coach didn’t communicate what was expected from the parents, then jokes on coach, not the parents.

      Finally, I sure hope people stop protecting coaches that seek to control instead of training the kids to have confidence, use their skills & believe in sportsmanship.
      Coaches should raise up any young athlete they are given the privilege of training.

  3. I hate my coach. Every aspect here describes him. He does not know how to talk to or deal with my team mates and I. I’ve tried all those pointers, such as be calm, try to understand, stay patient, focus, I’ve tried everything. But nothing as seemed to work. He probably thinks just be cause some of us are his way to college, such as a scholarship, he can say whatever he wants to us. He is the definition of a bad coach. I play for the girls varsity team at my high school and we are the top team in our district. We win majority of our games and is one of the toughest teams out there. Maybe he thinks just because we may win most of the times, he is a good coach, but I’ve been on this team for four years now(i’m a senior)and whenever we win, it’s our success we did the job, not him. I have not seen anything he ever did to help us win any games except shout at us and bring our confidence down. He doesn’t win games we do and by the end of my senior year if he doesn’t change or become a bit open-minded, I don’t care, he will be hearing from me. Because if your’re trying your hardest people should atleast be a little bit satisfied and he never is.

  4. How about a group of coaches, (head, jv, b-squad) who only run plays in practice? No shooting, no passing drills, no running. We average more turnovers than points and see no improvement of players. 8th graders move to 9th grade team, or jv, b to jv, jv to varsity, yet none of them are superstars. Players move up and play less. If we are in a close game at the end, we always play zone, never man to man, to force a turnover or foul. JV has won 3 games in 5 years. We have no superstars, but have 10-12 girls that are very even in talent, bright, and good kids, but we substiture very randomly and have no continuity. The girls are lost. He criticized one player for a good effort, screaming at her asking why she does not play that way all the time? He never adapts to his players, they need to adapt to him. They can run and shoot on their own time. But the gyms are full every night until 8-9 pm and the kids have to do their schoolwork also. This is very frustrating, many of the good coaches in his system have quit, because he wont change. The b squad coach has never coached bb until last year, yet he might be the best teacher of the three. I don’t know why I care, my daughter is not a superstar, and is not going out next year. We want to get the coach removed, but the AD can’t even schedule referees, bus times, and game times properly. If its not swimming (his sport) he wont touch it. How do you diplomatically and effective convince the AD, superintendent, or school board we need a change?

  5. i think there are only two valid reasons for a coach to yell at their players, one – the player is to far away to here the coach in a normal voice, the other, the coach is out of control. if you would not do it to your mother, don’t do it to your player.

    • Hi Jesse,

      yes, I agree. If you start yelling at your players because of an emotional situation, you’re not in control anymore. As a coach (or as a player) you should have self-discipline.

      Thanks for your comment!


  6. Jim Ledbetter Sr on

    I am a High School Sports Official, and I have watched the coaching of high school sports devolve into something that is extremely sad. Oh, most coaches are acceptably respectful, mature and wise in what their true obligation is. But on many fronts bad conduct towards players and officials is getting worse and worse and worse in regards to the way coaches conduct themselves at games.

    It is certainly time to put an end to it. It appears that Parents, Fans, Other Coaches, Administrators and yes unfortunately some Officials seem to think there is nothing that can be done to curb this trend. And they sit by shocked and helplessly as an entire gymnasium lets a coach berate and completely verbally destroy their children or someone elses child over a mere game. They feel impotent and helpless. To that I say HOG WASH!

    To all who find themselves seemingly helpless in the face of a coach who rants and raves and humilites verbally their children and other players in front of their fellow team mates, parents, friends and other fans. Here is some advise. My group of officials has said “enough is enough” and believe me all the rules of the game (all high school sports) and the “Spirit & Intent” of those rules along with the State Code of Conduct and Ethics everywhere direct us to have the OFFICIAL help in curbing this type of unsportsmanlike and unethcial conduct.

    Yelling, chiding, correcting, blowing off a “little steam” is normal for coaches.

    But humiliating, verbally abusing and riduculing directly any single player or even the whole team to a point of making them feel inferior or like complete failures is over the top, is not acceptable conduct for any coach, and shoudl be addressed by the officials on the court, diamont, field or elsewhere. In any High School Sport.

    Talk to the Athletic Director, the Principal of your school, even the Superintendent of your District, contact the local Official’s Association/or Chapter and tell them you want it to stop! Write letters to the editor of you local paper and for once target the coaches behavior! Papers love to write about how a coach has blamed an official for a loss, probably unjustifiably, but get them to write about how bad a coaches behavior is. You will get results.

    An official cannot involve themselves with fans bad conduct (that is the administrations role) but they can stop the conteat and insister it be taken care of immeditately or they can suspend or forfeit the contest. That will get their attention. However, they certainly have the obligation, duty and right to address any player and coach and support personnel misconduct or unsportsmanlike behavior. Make them do it!

    • I was recently at a HS game and the officials had to talk to the head coach of my sons’ team for yelling at one of his players and using profanities on the bench. My son told me that he apologized to the kid after the official intervened. Wish more officials would be like you and do this!!

      My two sons are on their HS varsity team. (different sport, ice hockey, but I feel like the info. on this site transfers to all sports!!) My older son is being benched and my younger son gets more play time. The coach is abusive, yells at kids when they make mistakes, gives them the evil eye, pulls them etc…… I stay and watch practices, my older son gets ridden during practice all the time (yelled at) if he makes mistakes, other kids make the same mistakes, not a peep. The team made playoffs, my son was told before this morning’s practice that he would most likely not be getting any play time. Guess how his practice went? He is afraid of making mistakes. He felt humiliated. He was told this during “team meeting” at center ice in front of his teammates. He and another kid will be sitting.
      He has one more season next year when he will be a senior. He knows what he needs to do to get better, but, seriously, the major factor is that his confidence has been destroyed by this coach. It is not like I am looking at my son through rose colored glasses :) I play the sport also, I have witnessed what he can do when he feels supported by a coach. UGGGGHHH!!
      My youngest son, a freshman, has three more seasons with this coach. I don’t know what to do. I don’t want this coach to destroy my youngest son’s confidence, too. He is the sort of kid who gives 100% effort at all times. So, if he makes a mistake, he already really feels badly. He has had two great years of coaching previous to this coach. He has also had a couple of years of terrible coaching. He blossomed with the good coach…..
      I never speak poorly of the coach to my sons because I don’t want to bad mouth him… but, this has been a terrible season. I haven’t even wanted to watch the games.
      We do have a choice, we could pull our sons and let them play for a really good club team with good coaches so that they continue to develop and the competition would as good if not better. But, I had always though how great it is to play for your HS team. And I was so excited that my sons would get a chance to play together! Now I am rethinking the wisdom of that in this situation.
      Feels good to vent. Even if it is to random people in cyber space :)

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