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PostPosted: 11 Sep 2018, 09:46 

Posts: 22
I coach a small middle school girls team and will have tryouts at the end of Oct. The previous coach was a really nice guy that was all about fun. I was hired to help develop a program at the school. This is my first year coaching this particular team but I have coached AAU for years. I have a girl who was on the team last year but never played. She has a bad attitude and work ethic. Every time we have to do something hard, she's injured.

I sent out a list of expectations for tryouts, skills I am looking for, intangibles like attitude, hustle etc. If tryouts were tomorrow I would cut her. She and her mom will be "shocked" by this.

So as a coach who is trying to be transparent: do I give her mom a head's up and then have a meeting with them both so that the player understands the situation and why I feel this way? Do I just talk to the parent about it? Or do I just let her continue and cut her if necessary?

She will not add a lot of value to the team either way.


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PostPosted: 13 Sep 2018, 09:00 

Posts: 214
Is the girl skilled? Where would her basketball skills rank her among the other players trying out?

For me to cut a player at the middle school level solely because of their attitude and work ethic they would have to be at the lower end of the skills rankings as well. If the girl can play or shows flashes of potential or seems to have some athleticism I'm going to tend to want to keep her along. What better way to help her work on changing her attitude and work ethic than having direct access to her all season!?

Help her become a player and a teammate. It's middle school. In my opinion, us middle school coaches are here to develop future players and people to send to high school. High school is more about winning. Give the kid a chance to change within the team setting. If she still hasn't figured it out by JV or something, then let them deal with the cutting. But why pass up the chance to possibly change the course that someone is on in a positive way?

Now, if she can't dribble and has no apparent athleticism on top of the attitude issues, then cutting might be the way to go.

Another factor to consider is what the overall numbers are. How many girls are trying out? Are there guidelines from the school as to how many players they want you to keep? Guidelines on cutting? Where I coach, they generally stay out of this except to tell us not to cut just 1 player. Meaning, what's the difference in going from 13 players to 12? Or 11 to 10? They would prefer that we keep that extra player instead of cutting only one player. The emotions of these kinds of cuts can be tough to take at this age.

Best of luck this season!


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PostPosted: 13 Sep 2018, 09:33 

Posts: 22
This is really good food for thought. Thank you. I definitely agree that a ma Coach should be helping our players grow both fundamentally and as team players.

The player does not have any skill or natural athletic ability.

This player has already been reprimanded for bullying other players on last year’s team and apparently has been trying to divide the team.

It’s a small school and a small team. I have talked to the Ad and have his support to do whatever I decide.

I really want to see a change in her behavior but she has to be the one to make the decision to do it.


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PostPosted: 13 Sep 2018, 12:25 

Posts: 899
Have there been cuts in the past or does everyone kind of "make the team" regardless? I get the impression you've coached this girl a bit already? Were you hired with specific goals to achieve? Are they moving from "fun coach" to we need to build better teams?

Middle school. What a tough time for a kiddo. Out of the gate, I'm wondering if part of this girl's problem is, she isn't skilled at basketball, and feels obligated to play (e.g., parental pressure, friends all play). It isn't fun for her, so she takes out her frustrations by acting out.

Coachmt makes an excellent point, and I've seen a few players turn around with the right coach and parental support. Taking on a challenging player while being the new sheriff in town might be a bit much though. I'm always cool taking on a player who needs extra help, as long as their attitude is in the right place.

Without knowing the dynamics or politics of this smaller school, tryouts are tryouts; you know that from coaching AAU. You're trying out for a team, and the coach determines who should make the team based on specific criteria and what's best for the team.

Bottom-line: Maybe a personal conversation with mom/daughter about what you're looking for in tryouts will motivate the daughter. I'd focus on hustle and attitude. You might gain some insight into mom's perspective about this whole thing which can be valuable.

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PostPosted: 23 Sep 2018, 20:46 

Posts: 22
This is all great. I apologize for the lag but I live in NC and things are still flooded here. There have never been cuts before but I was hired to help start a basketball program that starts in 6th grade and follows through to 12th. There have always been parent coaches that changed
from year to year. I will talk to her mom and maybe her I think. My job is to create a team and I have been coaching her all summer long. I see all the warning signs and I think the mom wants it more than the player.

Middle school can be a really tough time and after I talk to her mom, I will assess the school situation as well. But my guess is she doesn’t actually want to play.

Thanks again!!


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