top of page
  • Writer's pictureTaylor Cook

Navigating Career Decisions & Handling Bad Coaches

young hockey player on bench with head down

Embarking on a career in sports is a journey marked by pivotal decisions and the challenges of navigating relationships, especially when faced with less-than-ideal coaching situations. In this article, we explore strategies for athletes to effectively handle bad coaches while offering guidance on making career decisions that align with personal goals and values. From self-reflection to seeking alternative resources, this guide empowers athletes to steer their careers towards success despite the obstacles that may arise along the way. 🏅💪


Before delving into the intricacies of dealing with challenging coaching scenarios, it's crucial to reflect on your career goals and values. Understanding what drives your passion for sports provides a foundation for making informed career decisions that align with your objectives. This self-awareness becomes a powerful tool in the face of challenges.

  • What are your goals?

  • What are your values?

  • What are your reasons for playing the game? 

Communication & Feedback🗣️

Effectively handling bad coaches begins with open communication. If concerns or discontent arise, initiating a calm and respectful conversation is key. This is where you can express how you are feeling or some of the concerns that you are having.

Requesting feedback on your performance is also a great idea during these discussions. Not only does it demonstrate commitment to improvement but also fosters a constructive dialogue. Understanding your coach's perspective, even in challenging situations, can provide valuable insights for navigating these relationships.

Trying to Understand Their Perspective👂

Passion for the game can sometimes cloud our judgment and perception, especially when dealing with feedback from coaches. Approaching these discussions with humility is essential. Respectfully listening to your coach's viewpoint and acknowledging the different perspective they bring to your performance can have a lasting impact on your game. This approach simultaneously lays the groundwork for a healthier coach-athlete relationship.

Focus on the Controllables🧠

When faced with challenges that persist despite open communication, focus on what you can control – yourself. Your attitude, effort, and mindset are within your grasp. Empowering yourself through a positive outlook and dedicated effort contributes significantly to personal growth, regardless of external challenges.

You can learn more about the controllables in episode 29 of The Athletic Mind

Explore Alternative Resources🌐

If challenges with your coach persist and motivation wanes, exploring alternative resources becomes crucial. Reach out to mentors, academic advisors, counselors, or sports psychologists for guidance. Seeking external support is a sign of strength, offering fresh perspectives and strategies to navigate career decisions and challenging coaching situations.

You can also benefit from working with a mental performance coach (Learn more at Taylored Minds or Book a discovery call)

Evaluate the Long-Term Game❤️

Ultimately, prioritizing personal, mental, and emotional wellbeing is paramount in navigating career decisions. If a coaching environment negatively impacts your happiness and impedes your athletic goals, consider exploring alternative opportunities. Making career decisions that prioritize your fulfillment and align with your values is a courageous step toward long-term success.

This guide equips athletes with strategies to navigate career decisions and effectively handle challenges posed by bad coaches. From self-reflection to seeking alternative resources, the path to a successful sports career involves empowerment, resilience, and the ability to make decisions that align with personal goals. 🌟🏆

Whether you're an athlete or a coach, optimizing your mental game is vital for peak performance. If you’re eager to learn more about performance coaching and how it can elevate your game in 2024, let's connect. Learn more at Taylored Minds or Book a discovery call to gear up for your best year yet.

This newsletter is in association with The Athletic Mind podcast. You can listen to the full episode here


bottom of page