No coach ever truly wants to deal with tough coaching situations or more commonly, problem athletes. Soon or later, you are going to run into that one athlete who will make you wonder why you wanted to coach in the first place. Instinct tells you to get rid of this particular player. However, you should never dismiss any member of the team unless of course as a last resort.

You will find as a coach that dealing with problem athletes is part of your job. This is not always an easy task, but you must keep in mind that no matter how many problems are created by one particular athlete, it’s your job to make possibly a difference in their life.

The problem athlete can make you feel exhausted, and you must ensure that this does not affect your overall coaching techniques. No matter how frustrating it is in dealing with this one particular athlete, you have a whole team of individuals who are depending on you. No one said that coaching was easy.

There will be players who will engage into a battle of wits with you. They purposely show up late for practice and workouts or possibly not wear their practice uniform, for example. They will exhibit rude and negative behavior that will truly get on your last nerve. You want to nip this in the tail early on because negative behavior being exhibited by one player can quickly infect the rest of your team.

As a coach, you need to be on the lookout for these types of players, and there are particular traits these athletes contain.

  • They may be outspoken and like to rock-the-boat. More times to none, these players contain low self-esteem. They will believe everyone, including you, is out to get them.
  • They may contain poor social skills not only with you but the other players. They may try to not only manipulate you but the whole team as well.
  • They may come from low-income family structures and dysfunctional environments within their home. They might be embarrassed by their family’s financial standing.
  • They may have the need always to have attention and they will achieve attention through negative outbursts and actions.
  • They may more than likely not be good students.
  • They might possibly suffer from addictions.
  • Personality disorders.

There is no set rule book in dealing with problem athletes. You can, however, have a solid list of rules that are outlined in the beginning to your team and will create the standard for your team to live by. Playing basketball is not merely a pass time, it’s a way of life, and this needs to be stressed to your players.

You must exhibit extreme wisdom when dealing with problem athletes. Sometimes you are dealing with athletes who are no longer cared about not only by their families but the system. You do not want to give up on them for you might be their last hope for reformation.

As a coach, you should be a shinning example for all your athletes, especially the troubled ones. Always be on your best behavior around your team, therefore, showing them a great role model. You cannot expect your players to practice good behavior when you don’t perform a good behavior, too.

Enforce the rules to your team. You do not have to be your teams counselor, but you should stress that rules are to be followed and ensure that you are there, if your players need you, even if only to listen to them.

You must determine which behaviors are to be addressed and which behaviors should be ignored. Problem athletes will stretch this limit for you, and you will often find yourself being greatly annoyed, but you are better off ignoring the annoyances while focusing your time and energy on positive behavior.

Do not allow your ego to get in the way of dealing with problem athletes. Any experienced coach will inform you that your ego should not be the reason for kicking a player off the team. As I stated earlier, players deserve your time and concentration. Give the problem player a chance for you might be the only chance they have.