1. "When I was in middle school, we had a basketball coach who was notorious for his temper. He was talking once, and I was talking to my friend at the same time. He threw a basketball into my head and screamed, 'Platt, run the bleachers.'
"So I ran bleachers for the remaining hour of practice."
2. "I was a competitive dancer on my collegiate tour team. Our coach once made us line up by weight and cut anyone above a size 4 out of a routine because we were 'too big.' I was a size 6 and didn’t get to dance that number. We also signed a contract that we wouldn’t drink soda or alcohol, even if we were of legal drinking age.
"I’ve since gained about 50 pounds and have some lingering body image issues from my experience on the dance team."
3. "My high school basketball coach had been a coach for decades but had always moved around a lot. During our practices (where parents were not allowed to watch), he would constantly grab us by our shorts and touch us in sensitive places that were not appropriate. It was incredibly uncomfortable...
"Along with the awkward touching, he would purchase uniforms and backpacks 'on credit' without telling the school. He would put a player’s parent down as the person on the order, and several parents on the team were forced to pay for things they had not given consent for."
4. "I played high school volleyball, and during the summer, we were in the middle of a heatwave, and the field house had no air conditioning. We were practicing in 100-plus degrees. ... Our coaches refused to give us water breaks for a two-hour period just so we could learn how to 'push ourselves.'
"I don't know how anyone didn't die from heat stroke!"
5. "As a freshman swimmer, I entered into a sexual relationship with a senior swimmer. It was a positive experience for me; I felt respected by him, and we had fun exploring together. Everybody on the team, however, including our coach, was less than respectful. During the men's state competition, surrounded by the female swimmers who were in the stands to support them, I watched in horror as our coach used my sexual relationship in a 'pump-up' speech. Our coach publicly yelled at him to dominate in the pool so he could feel like a man and really dominate me in bed later. Our coach dangled me as a prize to try to amp him up to swim faster, and the entire team heard. Most of my teammates were horrified, but the meaner ones told me that's what I got for being a slut.
"I tried to pretend it never happened. I wish I had confronted our coach about it."
6. "I was the only female on the wrestling team in high school. Coach made me model the singlet in front of all the male members to see if the school would have to order female singlets."
7. "I was on the varsity swim team my freshman year in high school. ... My teammate wasn't doing a drill the way my coach wanted him to, so the coach threw a bench at my teammate.
"I quit the team shortly after."
8. "My high school softball coach got mad at us because we weren’t having the best practice. ... I have mild asthma that can usually be controlled without medication and hadn’t had an attack in several years, so I didn’t have an inhaler. Usually, when my chest would tighten badly, I stopped running and did slow breathing exercises. ... When I tried to explain to my coach that I couldn’t catch my breath, and my chest felt like it was closing on me, she basically said to keep running, or the whole team would suffer. I ignored her, and stood off to the side to try and catch my breath, all while she was yelling at me to get back to my sprints. The assistant coach took one look at me, and said, 'She needs to stop; she's turning purple.' The head coach got pissed, and said, 'Get off the field and go home.' So I walked the three blocks to my house coughing and wheezing horribly...
"...When I got home, my mom took me to the ER where I had to get an emergency breathing treatment for bronchial spasms. The doctor said I was dangerously close to having a full-blown attack. The next day, when I brought a doctor's note to my coach saying I couldn’t run and had to sit out of practice for a day, she rolled her eyes at me and said I was just being dramatic. Seriously, she was the worst coach I ever had."
9. "My college softball coach made our entire team duct tape our own mouths during an entire three-hour practice to 'teach us the importance of communication.' ... Turns out that one of our teammates was suffering some significant PTSD from a traumatic experience from her childhood involving someone duct taping her mouth.
"This coach also told us that 'seeing our family is a privilege, not a right' and that since we were on scholarship, she 'owned' us and could make us do whatever she wanted. I transferred not long after these instances. Lost a bunch of scholarship money but gained my mental and emotional freedom again."
10. "I was a sprinter in high school. I was pretty good until my health started getting worse: joint aches, nosebleeds, headaches, etc. But I kept going because I didn’t want to let the team down before our big meet. My mental health wasn’t great at that point either, and I was struggling with body image. ... I was still having pretty bad joint pains, so I told my coach that my knee hurt, and he asked me if I put on weight during the summer in front of all the other kids at practice that day. I thought I’d melt into the floor. I hated him after that and ended up quitting because he always picked on me, and a few of my mates told me he even used me as a bad example after I stopped coming.
"I go to the gym and run on my own now."
11. "Years ago, I swam for my collegiate team. ... We went to an away swim meet, where we had to stay a night in a hotel. ... At one of our practices after the meet, our coach sat us all down to talk. He said housekeeping from the hotel called and found marijuana paraphernalia in one of the dresser drawers. My coach said he didn't know who it was, but he warned us if he found out, they'd face disciplinary action. My coach had the room assignments. ... The hotel manager would have most definitely told him whose room it came from. The swimmer didn't get in trouble because he was one of the best on the team. If it had been me or another swimmer, they would've been kicked off the team.
"I lost respect for my coach that day. You have to treat all your teammates fairly, not just the ones who are the best on the team."
12. "I played college softball and started every game my freshman year. I was one of my coach’s favorites. I looked up to her because she had a wife, and I came from a very Christian family who didn’t support me being a lesbian. I confided in her, and she was a mentor to me. We lost a lot of good players, and my sophomore year started terribly. She went on a rant after we lost, saying how she 'used to say the n-word' and asked all of the players who were POC why we hung out together (she is a white woman, I am Black). She then benched me because I wasn’t carrying the team like I was supposed to and berated me in front of everyone. She was yelling at me, cussing at me, telling me I wasn’t good enough, and that I made the most scholarship money on the team and needed to do better. She said this in front of the whole team and coaching staff, and I lost my love for the sport that day.
"I quit a season after that (she tried her hardest to take my scholarship away), and I’m still dealing with the damage."
13. "During pre-season in high school, my soccer coach was pissed that we lost a scrimmage and we weren’t winning the ball in the air. So at our next practice, he had our goalie and assistant coach punt the ball from goal to the half line. We had to head the ball and weren’t allowed to let the ball bounce on the ground. I was only a sophomore on the varsity team, so I took this very seriously. However, with the threat of running looming over me, I wasn’t heading the ball properly. You’re supposed to head the ball at your hairline, but I headed a few too many on the top of my head. At the end of practice, we were told to line up to start running; however, I felt like I was going to throw up.
"I remember going to sit on the bleachers and waking up in the ER with a concussion."
14. "I was a varsity tennis player in high school for all four years. During my junior year, I started taking antidepressants and gained a significant amount of weight because of that. Well, because I gained a lot of weight, my coach decided that I was not thin enough to wear our usual tennis uniform (skirt and tank top), and they made me wear sweatpants and sweatshirts every single match no matter the weather."
15. "One year in high school, my health nosedived. I was going to loads of different doctors to figure out what was wrong with me, bouncing from one prescription to another, and in pain every day. I was also burned out from school and bullied badly, and it honestly felt like I was at rock bottom. I explained this to my coach and kept coming to practice, doing my best to keep training and improving as an athlete even while my body was shutting down. Added to the fact that I was only eating 1,000 calories a day (WHILE training twice a day, six days per week) because my coach told me to lose weight. My performance suffered considerably that season, but I thought my coach was understanding. Turns out she insulted me and mocked my health issues behind my back TO MY TEAMMATES, telling them I didn't deserve their support because I was making up my pain for attention; she did this for TWO MORE YEARS.
"Her resentment and mistreatment really damaged my mental health. Thanks, coach."
16. "When I was in high school, my cheerleading squad went camping at a nearby college. It was in the middle of summer in North Carolina, so it was super hot and humid the entire time we were there, and the dorms we stayed in did not have air conditioning. Toward the end of camp, a social activity was planned for the campers. We were allowed to dress up, and it was expected to be a fun time to allow us to recharge and cool off after several days of three-a-day practices. Three friends from my squad and I decided we wanted to look nice and took our time getting ready for the social. We ended up getting there 10-15 minutes after it started. At the end of the night, we went back to our dorm where our coach was waiting. She berated us for being 'late' to the social and forced us to do dozens of push-ups outside in the heat while she sat in a chair in front of us, with her feet up, eating pizza.
"This is the same coach who would also tell us to not eat and that the feeling of hunger was a good thing because it was our bodies eating all our fat. Luckily, this coach only lasted a year before being let go for embezzling fundraiser proceeds."
17. "My husband's high school football coach forced him to play his senior year with a bum knee. He got accepted into a very prominent Ivy League school, but the coach would not let him take a break. He would wrap his knee to the point of not being able to bend it at all, like layers and layers of tape to make it as stiff as possible, because my husband was the captain and all that. During the second-to-last game of the season, my husband got tackled. His knee popped out of the tape, and the fall took out his shoulder, too. My husband was in tears, but the coach took him back to the locker room and tried to tape it up and pop his shoulder back in so he could KEEP PLAYING. This ruined him for life. He still has issues with his shoulder to this day (he got surgery on his knee).
"His parents couldn't do anything because the coach would lie his ass off, and it was my husband's word against his...so sad. He lost his scholarship, too."
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