8 Warning Signs of Really Bad Youth Sports Coaching

How NOT to Behave When Coaching Young Athletes

Of course no coach is perfect. You don’t want to label or leave a coach after his or her first mistake. But certain signs warn you of bad coaching.

If you see consistent evidence of these signs in a coach you know – steer clear of them. If this sounds like your coach, you should consider finding another coach. If this sounds like you, you are probably in the wrong job.

Warning Signs of Poor Coaching

  1. The coach uses profanity.
  2. The coach argues with referees or officials.
  3. The coach criticizes athletes, not their behaviours.
  4. The coach won’t listen to athletes or parents.
  5. The coach allows cheating.
  6. The coach makes winning the only goal.
  7. The coach ignores lesser skilled players.
  8. The coach makes you feel worthy only when you win.

Can you add to this list?

Is there anything that you would add to this list? Let me know. I would love to hear from you.

Download a printable PDF poster

You may download a printable PDF poster that features the “8 Warning Signs of Really Bad Youth Sports Coaching” by clicking HERE.

Further reading


(VIDEO) 8 Warning Signs of Really Bad Youth Sports Coaching

If this post helped you please take a moment to help others by sharing it on social media. If you want to learn more I encourage you to leave questions and comments or contact me directly.

Darren Wensor is a sports development professional, coach educator, specialist coach of young athletes, and founder of the blog coachingyoungathletes.com. Learn more about him here and connect with him on TwitterFacebookLinkedin, or via email. Check out Coaching Young Athletes on YouTube, the Coaching Young Athletes podcast, and the Coaching Young Athletes E-Book Series.

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4 thoughts on “8 Warning Signs of Really Bad Youth Sports Coaching

  1. […] 8 Warning Signs of Really Bad Youth Sports Coaching […]


  2. I would say additionally the coach overlooks poor behavior of better performers, and also the coach has a “I hold all the information” attitude and doesn’t learn from others or with to develop themselves!


    • Agreed. I think that overlooking poor behaviour at any time under any circumstance is poor coaching. Also I believe that any coach who thinks they “know it all” and can’t learn from others is actually fearful of admitting that they may have room for improvement. We all have room for improvement and part of the challenge and fun of coaching is finding ways to get better.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. AthleticsCoach says:

    I’d like to hope that your average person would consider your examples as unacceptable. I think that there are some less obvious, but equally important, examples that might be useful to highlight such as the coaches that jump to the end point in athletics before building up. For example, getting the blocks out for young teenage athletes that can’t do unaided starts effectively yet, or using too high hurdles for plyometric hops and jumps when they can’t land safely.


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