5 Ways to Deal With Bullying



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As a coach, you are responsible for more than just teaching your players about sports. You are a leader who is teaching your players about teamwork, friendship, overcoming obstacles, and discipline. Bullying can be one of the biggest problems for coaches around the world. Recently, in Provo, Utah, a baseball coach for the Timpview Thunderbirds lost his position due to bullying becoming out of control. It is imperative that coaches deal with bullying before someone gets hurt or their position is compromised.


Set clear rules right from the start


You can greatly reduce the amount of bullying on your team if you take a strong stand early on. Your players will come to respect you if you have firm rules for conduct. Kids usually only bully each other when they feel like they can get away with it. Make it very clear that you are not going to tolerate any type of bullying on your team at all.


Never minimize or brush aside bullying


Bullying is a real thing that affects children for many years. Some coaches in the past have tried to brush aside or minimize the feelings of the kids on their team. Telling your players to simply ignore this bullying or to “toughen up” isn’t going to solve the problem at all. You need to take bullying allegations seriously. If you are noticing some serious bullying problems on your team, you need to address the issues as soon as possible.


Give every player time in the game


It inevitable that you are going to have some players on your team that are better than others. When there are those who are struggling to grasp the game, they can be the subject of continued bullying. It is important to make sure you aren’t always benching this player. This will only add to the bullying and make this player feel as though they are worthless to the team. Sports aren’t all about winning. Make sure that you play all of the kids on your team to reduce the amount of bullying that may take place.


Encourage friendships on the team


The only time that bullying really happens is when there is an outcast on the team. If a player has even just one other friend to stick up for them, bullying usually stops. You should encourage players to form friendships on the team. Take trips to batting cages, malls, pizza parlors, and amusement parks to help build friendships among your players that will reduce the amount of bullying that takes place.


Be an example


Kids are very receptive at an early age. They will pick up on your behavior quickly due to the fact that you are the adult figure during a large period of their time during the week. You need to make sure that you are treating players, referees, parents, and other coaches with respect. If you are busy yelling at other coaches and loosing your cool, your players will think it is totally normal to loose their cool with other players on the team.


Jessica Kane is a writer for SteelLocker Sports. A leading provider of sporting goods and training programs for coaches, players, parents and institutions with a primary focus on youth sports.


I'm a mother of 2 who likes to get involved in too much! Besides writing here I started a non-profit, I'm on the PTO board, very active in my community and volunteer in the school. I enjoy music, reading, cooking, traveling and spending time with my family. We just adopted our 3rd cat and love them all!

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  1. Robin rue says:

    Bullying scares me! I was bullied as a kid and don’t want my kids to experience it.

  2. Wonderful tips! It is very traumatic for a child to be bullied.If we sit down with our child and talk about the issue and the ways to solve/avoid it then maybe bullying will stop.

  3. These are great tips. Bullying is such a horrible thing. I’m glad to see more and more people are doing their part to help get rid of it.

  4. I’m so glad you posted this. Bullying is more than just kids being mean to each other. Bullying is straight up social torture, and we need to do whatever we can to help fight it.

  5. There are some great points in this article. I’ve heard horrible stories about the way coaches treat their players (elementary school age), and yet parents never speak up and say anything because they’re a “good coach.” Sorry, I don’t want my kid learning from this!

  6. Pam Wattenbarger says:

    Bullying is so prevalent. It’s important to do something that will help quell it and prevent future bullying.

  7. Cacinda says:

    Bullying can be a serious problem. These are great tips to help deal with a bad situation.

  8. Totally agree on the bullying and the being a good example. Usually the worst behavior is displayed by parents!

  9. Bullying is not okay and never tolerated here in our home. I definitely think adults set the tone and we should all try to be a little nicer to one another.

  10. These are some really great suggestions. I wish kids did not have to do with these types of things at such a young age.

  11. This is such a great post! I would love to discuss this with my kids!

  12. Ann Bacciaglia says:

    It is so important for kids to know how to handle a Bully. It is so much easier for kids to be bullies now with Social Media. I would hate to be in High school these days.

  13. Our Family World says:

    Bullying is really a serious problem It has caused much trauma to other people. I agree on being an example. They sometimes need someone to look up to.

  14. Bullying breaks my heard into pieces. My children have experienced it, and it can be so hard. I am loving your tips!

  15. I’m really glad you mentioned giving every player time in the game. I used to have a couch that played favorites because his granddaughter was on the team. Her and I played the same position. I rarely saw game time. I quit.

  16. I love the list!! I think for sure bullying should never be minimized, and I love the tip to make that very clear from the get-go that it won’t be tolerated.

  17. Reesa Lewandowski says:

    YES to be a good example! My kids’ school works really hard to make sure the kids understand bullying and all of it’s forms.