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What To Do When Your Most Talented Player Has The Worst Attitude

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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.

"I have not been able to find anything in particular about coaching the best player with the worst attitude. If you have anything to help it would be greatly appreciated."

PCA Response from Casey Miller, PCA Business Development & Marketing Manager, Assistant High School Basketball Coach

It can be an incredibly frustrating situation if your best player has a bad attitude. She could bring your team down by having her bad attitude rub off on teammates, even though she could help you on the scoreboard. It might feel easy to let her get away with a bad attitude, if she’s helping you win, but you’d be doing your team a disservice in the long run.

The first place I would start is why. Why does she have a bad attitude? It depends on what level you’re coaching, but let’s take high school for example. There are a myriad of things that could be causing a player to have a bad attitude: Problems at home with family member; Issues with school; A girlfriend or boyfriend break up; Trouble with authority figures; understanding why the bad attitude exists will help you develop trust with that player.

If trust is developed with the player early on about things other than just the sport, she will respect you more later when discipline is needed. Try offering to rebound for this player before or after practice. Ask how her school day was. Try to engage with this (and ideally all) player to get to know her better as a person, not just as a basketball player.

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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