I have had many emails from my first article on coaches as bullies and one young man that I work with in particular had this awesome insight to offer us. It is a story that brought me chills as I was once in that very same situation. I remember how vulnerable I felt, how disappointed and how I started to question my love for the game. It continued and unfortunately happened more than once.
I want to thank Sam for this, it is very important for the players out there to know that you are not the only ones trying to figure it out.
I hope this helps you all, and for tips go back to the Coaches as Bullies blog post there are some steps you can take!
I hate to call anyone a bully and I don't like the term. But I have had experience with a coach who through the means of words and actions took my will to play the game away. Not too long ago I found myself in a place both physically and mentally I didn't want to be. I had a coach telling me shift in and shift out how bad I was and how selfish I was. The coaches philosophy was the players were to do as they're told and swaying from this at all meant that you were a bad person. I once had a suggestion for a drill and approached the coach before I could finish my sentence he interjected with his go to line "players play, coaches coach and managers manage". There were countless other things he said to the team as a whole most of them circulating how we were to let him do the thinking for us and simply carry out his ideas in the physical world. I found my self starting to doubt myself and my love for the game. He would consistently use things I had done as bad examples for the team during post game and other talks throughout the weeks. For example he would say things like "I have to baby some of you guys you are always asking questions and I'm spending to much time on ya" while staring at me the whole time as if to blame the most recent team failure on our lack of preparation caused by my "selfishness". I continually got over his insults and punishments and kept trying to move forward but try as I might the coach and I continued to but heads. I decided to talk to him about how I was scared with how things were moving forward with regards to my playing time. This conversation got me nowhere as it ended with me giving into him and agreeing with all of his criticisms. I tried to approach him on a couple of other occasions to apologize for some of our confrontations as if they were 100% my fault in an effort to work on our relationship but was quickly rejected. So I came to the conclusion that for the good of my game and of my on well being I would have to leave. So I asked for trade (which the coach made very difficult) and now I'm at home eagerly awaiting my next chance to play jr hockey.