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How Coaches Should Handle Player Cuts

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As a coach, cutting players is difficult, but often necessary. This article explains how coaches can make cutting players a more humane process, one that might lead to continued development of the player being cut and one that offers player and coach alike the opportunity to learn and grow.

Among the methods for player cuts recommended here are private one-on-one conversations between the coach and each player cut. Coaches should thank those players for participating in tryouts, acknowledge the courage it takes for players to put themselves out on that line and explain exactly why the player is being cut, such as lacking a non-negotiable skill that the coach feels the player cannot acquire in sufficient time to contribute to the program. Coaches also may discuss character with the athlete. For example, you may praise the athlete's character and explain that character had nothing to do with your cut decision. Or, if a character issue did play a role, take the opportunity to address that issue with the player to guide him or her toward further character development.

Finally, if reasonable, encourage the athlete to try out again next season and explain what improvements will improve chances for making the cut. And, if that is not reasonable, encourage the athletes to at least continue playing their sports and to stay physically active. Written by David Jacobson (@CoachDaveJake, PCA Trainer, experienced with coaching 5-16-year-olds), the article shares his first-person views of being cut as a young player and how that informs his approach to conducting players cuts.

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