My Coach has Favorites From a Sports Psychologist's Perspective

Let’s just clear the air by saying yes, they do. The reality is, sports don’t differ much from real life. Sometimes there are people you just get along better with than others. That’s just how it goes. Start there and accept that fact. However if you find yourself or your child in a situation where you aren’t the favorite you have two decisions or two “paths” you can take…complain about it (do nothing) or start to reflect on your actions and understand why you are in the situation you’re in.

Let’s start with the first option, because a lot of people want to do nothing and magically have something change. It doesn’t work like that. So if you don’t want to do anything and you’re fine with accepting that you aren’t a favorite, then that’s totally fine, keep doing what you’re doing.

Those who fall into the other category, keep reading. If you are not coaches favorite and you don’t know why, but you want to do something about it, here’s my two cents on what you can do.

In Sport Psychology we say “control your controllables”. First, accept that your coach’s opinion of you is out of your “control”. You cannot control what other people think about you, including your coach. However, there are things that are in your control.  When you ask most coaches why some athletes are their favorite they will tell you, “They work hard and they have a great attitude”. If you read this and think, “I have a great attitude and I work hard, but my coach still doesn’t like me,” then you may not actually be doing all that you think you are,  

IF you think you can not possibly do more, then go back to the second paragraph and concede that things aren’t going to change, and accept the position you’re in.

But if you think you are working hard, have a great attitude and still aren’t the coaches favorite, I want you to take a moment and think about the coach's favorite athletes. What type of qualities and behaviors do they possess? Be honest with yourself. Are they the type of players that are always on time? Are they attentive when the coach is talking? Do they work hard on the field? Are they being successful and scoring goals? There’s a reason the coach likes them, so take the time and figure it out.

I don’t want you to try and copy another player. It’s essential that you stay true to yourself, but what improvements could you make to improve your playing abilities? What are those other players doing that you are not? Could you work harder on the field? What about being more actively engaged when you’re on the bench? Do you take suggestions from the coach and try to implement them into your game?

Remember, if you want to change your current situation the only thing you can control is yourself. That’s where 100% of your focus needs to be, “How can I continue to improve myself?” As one of our great mentors at EDA said, “The game doesn’t lie.” What you sow you will reap. Intentional effort to make improvements will show, if you are dedicated to making improvements. But keep the focus all on yourself. You cannot change your coach.

**My only caveat to this is if you have an abusive coach. There are a lot of good coaches out there that are trying their best but unfortunately there are some bad ones. If you have a coach who is constantly belittling or embarrassing you, share that information with someone you trust. Your best option in a true abusive situation, is to find another coach.