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How To Handle Athletes Who Use Social Media To Criticize Coaching Decisions

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This resource stems from a question submitted to the Ask PCA blog. Responses come from our experts including PCA Trainers, who lead live group workshops for coaches, parents, administrators and student-athletes.

"One of my players has been using his Twitter account to criticize my decisions. What can I do about that? Any advice, especially from your first-hand experience, would be most helpful."

PCA Response by Jim Thompson (@JimThompson18), PCA Executive Director
At PCA we promote the ROOTS of Honoring the Game (respect for Rules, Opponents, Officials, Teammates and Self). Your player's public criticism, behind your back, violates respect for Teammates -- which includes the coaches -- in a very dramatic way.

Let him know why this behavior is unacceptable and how it undermines the potential of the players and coaches to become a strong team, which requires the development of trust. You might let him know that if he is willing to throw you under the bus publicly, his teammates may worry he could do the same to them.

Often coaches are reluctant or even afraid to hear suggestions from their players. If you feel comfortable doing so, you might encourage him to share his concerns with you rather than complain publicly through Twitter.

Opening the lines of communication this way doesn't mean that you have to agree with everything you hear. But if you can find it in yourself to encourage your players to share their concerns with you, you will have the chance to communicate with them in a way that could lead to a wonderful feeling of team and improved performance.

Download a printable version of this resource, including any additional commentary from PCA, by clicking the PDF below. To read more questions and answers like this, or to submit your own question to the Ask PCA blog, click here.

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