Dealing with the “Unhappy Camper”

This post was originally post at Coach Dawn Writes and republished here with permission

How should you deal with the player that is unhappy? This is tough but necessary work.


By Dawn Redd-Kelly, Head Volleyball Coach at Beloit College.

Maybe they’re not happy with their playing time.  Or perhaps you’ve asked them to play a position and they’re not happy with that change.  Or it could be that you have an athlete who is being a bad teammate and you’ve had to call them out on that behavior.

Whatever the origin, correcting an angry athlete is tough, but necessary work.  How should we do it?

  • If you are worried that your conversation will be misrepresented, don’t meet with your athlete alone.
  • The tougher the conversation, the more notes will be required to keep you focused on the task at hand…correcting a specific behavior. You don’t want the convo to turn into discussing the five other things your athlete is upset about.
  • Listen intently. A contrite athlete should receive a different talk than an unrepentant player.
  • Don’t allow that athlete to throw their teammates under the bus. You’re talking to them.  If others are in need of correcting, you’ll talk to them separately…stay focused.
  • Have a goal for the meeting. What does the player need to do in order to resolve the issue and regain your trust or proper standing with the team?

We work with young people who are just learning to manage their emotions in productive ways.  It’s our job to show them how to be responsibly upset and to correct improper behavior if it appears.


Are you tired of walking into practice and seeing lackluster effort from your players?  Have you had it with trying to get your female athletes to care about the team as much as you do??

Click here to find out more about Coach Dawn’s eBookMotivating Female Athletes

Comes with a FREE PowerPoint presentation called Guarantee Your Success: Using John Wooden’s Pyramid of Success To Increase Your Team’s Cohesion.

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