Get Psyched Sports

Your Stories

When you tell your story
you become a voice for change

Gender: Female
Grade Level of Event: College
Sport Played: Soccer
Your Story: I am a university faculty member. I had players on our Women’s Soccer team confide in me regarding the abusive coaching they were facing. This included body shaming, consistent threats of scholarship reduction, belittling/ignoring mental health concerns (including dismissing discussions of suicide by several athletes), and forcing them to play through injury to maintain their scholarships. I took their testimonial documentation explaining the abuse to my immediate supervisor, our Provost. A week later I was given a Performance Improvement Plan by our Provost and HR department and told to stop “wasting the administration’s time” with philosophical differences or false notions of expectations of athlete well-being. I was accused of trying to dismantle athletics and was told I needed to encourage and support the athletic staff.

Gender: Female
Grade Level of Event: Club
Sport Played: Volleyball
Your Story: When I was 10 years old my team got a new coach. He was mean and cruel to all the girls, but I feel like he hated me even a little bit more. He called us fat and lazy and we were punished when we lost or didn’t play as good as he wanted us to play. It was normal that at least one girl was throwing up during practice (we even had a rule about cleaning up the throw up bucket…). There were no boundaries and he often came into the changing rooms when were naked or under the showers. It didn’t take long until he also sexually abused me. I don’t know if he did this to other girls, but it seems likely. We went to some adults and said we wanted another coach, but especially our parents were happy with him because we won most of our games. He finally left our club when I was around 16 years old, but I still get flashbacks and panic attacks whenever I play volleyball.

Gender: Female
Grade Level of Event: Sophomore
Sport Played: Women’s Ice Hockey
Your Story: A college in New England has continued to hide the abusive coaching on the Women’s Ice Hockey team. This head coach has had 9 players leave under her coaching in the last 2 years. Four student athletes including myself have been removed for false allegations, targeting, and false reporting in hopes of getting us kicked off the team.

She has treated the student athletes with pure disrespect and cruelty. The humiliation, targeting behavior and making us feel not welcomed has caused 5 players to step away on their own. She has made it very clear that she does not care about our mental health.

Nether does the college, as we have tried time and time again to seek help from them, but they continue to hide her behaviors and say there is nothing to be done.

Gender: Male
Grade Level of Event: Freshman
Sport Played: Rowing
Your Story: A private rowing club took 7 male athletes to the USRowing youth nationals last June, 2023, including 5 minors in the 15/16 age group. The minors were isolated, manipulated, verbally and emotionally abused by their coach, punished for speaking to parents or adult athletes. Any efforts to address the situation with leadership is met with an unwillingness to discuss the coaches. Parents are labeled as “disgruntled”, despite this being a pattern of coaching behavior, from multiple sources, with proof, over an extended period of time.

This behavior has been ongoing since the coach was hired In 2022. She has bashed athletes in front of each other, impeded college recruitment and financial aid, being hostile towards parents, failing to communicate issues. When I took these issues to leadership, they told me the coach’s behavior was unacceptable, measures would be taken, and to include them in future communication. No attempt was made to talk to my child and nothing was done. Any parents that attempt to speak up are met with obstinance, hostility, and ultimately their kids’ playing time is being threatened for not walking away quietly. The kids operate in fear, walking on glass, not daring to say anything for fear of being kicked off boats, races, or having college impeded by coaches. My efforts to speak up directly were met in exactly the same way.

Gender: Female
Grade Level of Event: 9–12
Sport Played: High School Volleyball
Your Story: I have watched two daughters play volleyball under what can be only be described as a ‘toxic’ program. The coach admitted this year to the players that she is working on her anger. From what I have witnessed, it is clear that she should not continue to coach our youth. I have watched my girls (and many others on the teams over the last 3 years and this season) be frowned at, eyes rolled at, laughed at, talked about on the sideline, talked about in front of and to other girls on the team. They are also either yelled at openly, or completely ignored by facing her back to players during team talks. She repeatedly benches players without giving explanations and she gives negative feedback to players when they lose to another team. In fact you can visibly see her entire demeanor change when a loss becomes imminent. She sometimes shuts down and stop interacting entirely. The negativity is beyond understanding and I can see that it taking a toll emotionally on the team. They are fearful of her and as they lose joy for a sport they love, they are afraid to speak up. The worst part is that she is a teacher in the school district and friendly with the high school athletic director, so students and parents have never spoken up because they do not want retaliation on the court. At the end of last year a parent asked (via email) if anonymous feedback to the program be made by a the creation of a simple form but the athletic director chose not to reply.

Gender: Female
Grade Level of Event: High School
Sport Played: Unknown
Your Story: I’ve had this assistant coach since freshman year. She’s always been awful to me, but this week she took it too far. I had a college visit set up and reminded the assistant 5 times. The day before I was to make my visit, I again reminded he that I would miss practice the next day. Suddenly, she says I have to go to the Head Coach. I tried to reason with her but to no avail.

I ended up emailing the Athletic Director about this which the assistant found out about and during a subsequent bus trip, I was called to front of the bus where I was made me sit next to her as she yelled at me and shoved her phone in front of my face. In frustration, I said I was wrong to email the AD but she still wouldn’t allow me to leave her. I felt really anxious and upset and when I was finally got back to my seat, I had to use my inhaler. This is just one of the incidents with this coach.

Gender: Male
Grade Level of Event: College
Sport Played: Lacrosse
Your Story: I had an absolutely atrocious coach my freshmen year. What we did is we got the team together, and a couple of the seniors about 1/4 of the way through the season brought him a list of everything we wanted him to change and/or do better.

He didn’t change and basically told those guys to screw off, so we complained to the AD and he said there wasn’t much we could do at the moment.

Gender: Female
Grade Level of Event: High School
Sport Played: Cheer
Your Story: My coach played favoritism by race and the relationship she had with the kids’ parents. Even though other team members had better skills, her favs were chosen as captains and were always front and center.

Gender: Male
Grade Level of Event: High School
Sport Played: Tennis
Your Story: My coach threw a racket on my head during a drill. So basically, I was working on my volleys (lawn tennis) during a session and I was missing quite a lot. My coach was upset and just lost his cool and threw a racket at me. I did get better after that, but according to him my volleys still suck.

Gender: Female
Grade Level of Event: 2nd–8th grade
Sport Played: Figure Skating
Your Story: My coach was emotionally and verbally abusive. She yelled at me and told me that no one liked me. She told me at the age of 9 about her sexual assault and domestic abuse relationship. She lied to my parents. She body shamed me once I hit puberty. She crossed many ethical boundaries, such as inviting me to be in her wedding party and having me sleep over at her apartment multiple times. Later in life I developed depression, anxiety, and an eating disorder due to the abuse I endured from her.