Abuse in sports is in all honesty really hard to identify.
Of course abuse in general is hard to detect but when it happens in an athletic environment it becomes even more so since there's a belief that your coaches and their associates are meant to
be hard on you. But being hard on you is vastly different from abuse. Here's how to figure out that difference based on personal experience.
Of course I am not a professional but I am just trying to share the limited knowledge I have based on personal experiences.
In this I'm only going to be talking about what I know in regards to sport abuse.
So I won't be covering sexual abuse in this but if you would like help in any way regarding that type of abuse please reference safesport's official website.
Now let's jump into it.
If you fail to bring appropriate equipment to your practice and acknowledge this with your coach then your coach has no right to force you to participate in those activities in which you
aren't adequately equipped for. Let's say if you wore sandals to track practice. They have no right to force you to run barefoot or in those sandals.
This does not mean they can't be upset with you for not bringing the equipment you were meant to. They have the right to follow through with appropriate consequences.
In my own experience I've only seriously taken part in two sports. Track and gymnastics.
In track a good example of this you be the above mentioned sandals and being forced to run/do drills in bad weather. Whether that means it's too hot, cold, rainy, or just generally unsafe.
Unless you have clothes that will protect you from that type of weather you should definitely not be practicing outside.
Concerning gymnastics, I'd just like to say that leotards and Ugg boots aren't proper attire to go running in 30 degree and under temperatures.
Also you don't need to be practicing on bars without your grips if you've misplaced them unless you are comfortable in doing so.
Practicing raw handed on bars can be extremely painful and damaging to your hands. Just stick to drills instead.
ALSO!! If your coach refuses to let you get a drink at any time during practice that's a big no-no. Same case when it comes to the restroom.
I understand when it comes to some coaches they believe that their athletes could be trying to skip practice when asking to do those things but they can't refuse something like that
without clear evidence that their athlete is misusing their privileges.
If there is a justifiable belief that their athlete is inappropriately using their privileges then they will have to deal with that by talking to their athlete's legal guardian and try
to figure out a solution to this issue.
Something that drives me crazy about sports is that coach's have an uncanny ability to believe their entire team is faking injuries or over exaggerating them.
What drives me even crazier are the athletes that actually do that. I literally want to punch them in the face for it. Grr.
If a coach has suspicion that an injury is being faked or exaggerated they need to talk to a legal guardian.
Most likely what will happen is that they'll ask you to provide a doctor's note for an injury and if you cannot afford a doctor they will either provide you one (team doctors
or physical therapists) or have to just take your word for it.
I think we can all agree we'd rather have a kid that is harming their sports career on their own volition based on their work ethic rather than a physically crippled child
who's sports career was ruined because of a coach's distrust. There is no excuse when it comes to stuff as serious as that.
Coaches also have no right to ask you to remove your braces and supports if you're injured. I'm literally not joking about any of this either.
I broke my ankle one year and my coach looked me in the face and told my to take off my brace and get over it. I thought I was just being weak. I wasn't. I had a broken fucking ankle.
And guess what? The fact that I was forced to practice on it became career ending thing for me. So this stuff really is serious. Don't let yourself be pushed into submission or confusion.
Same thing applies to being sick. One of my teammates told my coach that she was feeling dizzy and unwell. Coach ignored her.
Eventually my teammate felt so unwell she paused and used someone else's support to stay upright. Coach yelled at the unwell girl and shoved her off the other person's shoulder.
My teammate fell to the ground and fainted. An ambulance had to be called. You can probably see why it's unsafe to let your coach ignore you if you tell them you're feeling unwell.
Something that may be slightly iffy stems off of sever's disease. Which is a disease caused by rapid body growth and the simultaneous overuse of the tendons in the heel.
Basically it's just this really painful tightness in your heel that's extremely painful to work through. The only thing way to avoid this is time and avoiding the overuse of the heel.
If I had stopped doing rigorous activity while I had severs disease I believe I would have been 100% better off.
It doesn't matter how long it takes for your injuries to heal, your coach still doesn't get the right to force you into continuing athletic activities. It will only hurt you.
Now here's some graphic stuff. It's more the direct physical abuse section of this post. Your coach has no right to inflict pain onto you.
They also don't have the right to ask you to do anything above what your body can physically handle.
I don't know how to explain this one other than giving examples. I really hate this stuff. I do.
*I kept getting hurt doing a drill based on something that was in my coach's control.
She could've easily been compliant and fixed the way the drill was set up so I wouldn't be scraping velcro against the back of my legs every time I preformed this drill. Except she ignored me.
I ended the day with blood dripping down my legs and horrible velcro burns. This is not okay. The equipment was unsafe and I couldn't do anything about.
The coach should've stopped me from further pain.
*My coach used to have everyone sit in oversplits for five minutes without break. I'd always be crying because it was excruciatingly painful and I've never been the flexible type of person.
I'm more muscle than bones. But yeah. My body couldn't handle something like that and you'd assume if you're crying out of pain then your coach would let you stop. Or at least they should.
*One thing that took me forever to learn was that it's not okay for your coach to make you do a crazy amount of reps. Your body isn't meant to withstand vigorous repetition.
Doing a 100 backwalkovers in one day ends up hurting your back and hips.
Doing 15 laps of squat jumps around the entirety of something the size of a basketball court only ruins your ankles and knees. It's not okay.
If your body can't take something you need to stop and speak out.
Now here's the more emotional abuse aspect of things.
A big example of abuse in sports is when a coach ignores you. I had coach that used to refuse to talk to us until we fixed what we were doing wrong.
We weren't allowed to ask questions on how to fix it. We just had to do it. Which isn't our job. It's the coach's. They literally get paid to do that shit.
Favoritism also sucks. When a coach favors others over you it's extremely hard to progress your skills.
I ended up having to coach myself for two years since my coaches were too busy spending time on my teammates that apparently showed far greater potential.
Which is really stupid because once I finally got a coach that coached me I became one of biggest point earners on the team. It's kinda funny.
Anyways. That's my stuff. If your coach punishes you for speaking out against their bad practices or threatens to kick you out of their team go ahead and call safesport.
Or if you don't want to do that just leave the team. But I swear to god whatever you do don't let an abuser submit you to further abuse when you stand up for yourself. It's not worth it.
Take my word for it.
If you’re unsure about something or have questions regarding sport abuse, feel free to message me.
For more information concerning safesport violations please reference https://uscenterforsafesport.org/report-a-concern/