Soccer Coaching Blog | Professional Soccer Coaching Advice

Spot signs of bullying

David ClarkeThere is no place for bullying anywhere in life. If you are aware of bullying in your team you must address it immediately because of the wide ranging consequences for the individual and the team.

  • You should have a bullying policy at your club, but it is even better to deal with the problem before it starts.
  • Be aware that bullying can have small beginnings, so stamp out any minor indiscretions immediately.
  • Be a presence in places where groups can gather. Listen as you walk around.
  • Reassurance from a child can be quick, but don’t take a simple answer that the player is okay to mean that he is not under pressure.
  • Victims of bullying are often “easy” targets. In other words they have weaknesses which can be easily exploited, such as weight, lack of skills or communication problems. Don’t put them in compromising positions in training.

Recognise the signs

A bullied player’s behaviour changes especially if they become withdrawn or reluctant. They might stop coming to training for no reason or start making excuses not to train or play.

You might notice that they have stopped taking part in the banter with other players or has become the butt of their jokes. It might just be that they are left out and not passed the ball during games and exercises.

Don’t brush it to one side, it could be your child it is happening to. If you do recognise the signs make sure you either inform your club’s welfare officer or deal with it yourself by talking to the team as a whole rather than identifying individuals that may make the bullying worse.