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Positive Approaches For Making Player Cuts

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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.

“Is there a script for kind and positive ways to talk with a player who has to be cut from a team?”

PCA Response by Joe Scally, PCA Trainer-Chicago
While being cut is most painful for the child who doesn't make the team, making the cut is also difficult for the coach. As a result, some coaches avoid communicating about this topic with players and parents. Coaches should recognize that if they handle the cut policy and process openly, thoughtfully, and respectfully, they will provide important life lessons and increase the chances that players who are cut stay involved in sports.

It helps to tell players ahead of time the expectations for tryouts and something about the criteria for selection. These could include skill, size, speed, and strength as well as intangibles like coachability, work ethic, potential, commitment, and complementary skill sets. If they know the criteria ahead of time the players will feel the process is fair. This can take some of the sting out for a player who is cut. It can also help players who are cut focus on their next steps rather than feeling mistreated.

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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