To The Coach That Called You A Quitter

By Victoria Sananikone, Editor In Chief

Photo from Physical Living

There will always be that coach who belittles their athlete(s). Athletes have been called every name under the sun along with nasty phrases barked at them in an attempt to dictate their submission. “You’re a slacker.” “That piece of sh*t over there…” “Idiot.” “You suck.” “You’ll never be good enough.” Even if these insults inspire a deeper work ethic or cure a mental block, they hurt to some degree. However, there is one word that stings worse than a slap across the face, a word that seems insignificant, but holds the greatest amount of disrespect in its letters: ‘quitter.’

In the realm of athletics, the word ‘quitter’ is always dripping with malice; one will say “they’re a quitter” or “she quit” as if they’re driving a spear through someone’s heart. Why is it so shameful to cease participation in something? The universal understanding of the word ‘quit’ or ‘quitter’ is immediately associated with weakness. People assume that you don’t possess the stones to finish something to the end, when in reality, ‘quitting’ is simply letting go of something that you can’t handle anymore. Some coaches can’t seem to wrap their head around this concept, let alone the state of their athlete’s mental health. They are so power-driven—lusting after points, fiending for the next win—that any sliver of noncompliance from an athlete will paint a target on their back.

To any athlete whose coach called them a quitter: you are so much more than that. You have handled all that you can. Choosing to step away from something that you can no longer handle, whether that be physically or psychologically, does not make you less valuable than anyone else. You are not what they say you are. You have come so far. You are not a quitter because you failed a lifting rep and cannot do another. You are not a quitter for sitting on the sidelines during practice because everything in life is just too much. You are not a quitter if you leave a team due to overwhelming toxicity. You are not a quitter if you refuse to stay at a table where respect is no longer being served by your coaches.

To any coach who called their athlete a quitter: how dare you. How dare you disrespect your athlete’s decision to walk away. How dare you disregard the work they have put in up to this moment and their dedication to the team and sport that robbed them of so much mental and physical tolerance. You should be ashamed to call yourself a coach; you don’t deserve that title—a title to abuse, to hurt. Your athlete will remember every word and phrase spat in their face, every cry for help that you did not answer, and the audacity you had to refer to them as a ‘quitter’. Is your ego truly so fragile?

24 thoughts on “To The Coach That Called You A Quitter

      1. What is honorable about leaving a toxic environment that x person helped create

        “lusting after points, fiending for the next win“ is a fun point cause that’s what a coach is supposed to do. Why would they make their team worse if x athlete isn’t as good as the others?

      1. Journalism is the production and distribution of reports on current events based on facts and supported with proof or evidence.

        1. That’s a great definition and you’re right. Check out the rest of the McKendree Review and you’ll find that not all of our articles are about current events with facts.

    1. It is very clearly an opinion piece which is journalism. The fact of which you don’t comprehend makes me question your education at McK (if you are an actual student here).

  1. I’m not sure this is an appropriate article to write about. No coach has ever forced a student to compete, it’s always been the decision of the athlete. And, many coaches are at the top of their game, you can understand why they’re going to push an athlete who has given up on their own team.

      1. And it sounds as if you are pretty biased as well. Obviously this happened, and the coach did not take a very professional stance when it did.

        1. The coach probably made a professional decision at the time and so and so didn’t really like the decision.

          1. Likely so, as is very often the case, right? But should the coach have dwelled on the athlete quitting or just “walked it of”. We may not always agree with how others act, but we can control how we respond.

  2. For everyone that is upset about this article; you have never been disrespected by a coach and it shows. Athletes letting go of a sport due to toxicity of a team or coaches is nothing to be shamed over. It shows where priorities lie of putting yourself before some half-assed excuse of a “coach” or “team.” The author didn’t make this about one specific coach or team but on behalf of athletes who have dealt with this. Get over yourself.

    1. Completely agree! I have seen this at various levels in multiple teams across many sports.

  3. It sounds to me like your focus is on the athlete quitting and not on the coach’s reaction to them quitting which is what I got from the article. Of course you also appear much more aware of the circumstances that may have prompted the author to write this piece. Regardless of what inspired the words, the actions of the coach were the problem. Individuals quit many things for many reasons, all of which are extremely personal and what they feel is the best decision for themselves at any given time. Right or wrong. Coaches should be professionals and always act as such, regardless of how they feel about an athlete’s actions. My initial interpretation from reading this article is that was not how things went down. Granted, there are always 3 sides to every story.

    1. I hate it when the comment I was responding to gets deleted!

  4. I hope this gets figured out. Coaches should be pillars of inspiration, not create a toxic environment. I understand pushing to get your full potential but sometimes people do go too far.

  5. To me, this sounds like an article that was written by someone who quit. While it is perfectly acceptable to quit (stop/end), ending on the wrong terms can be the reason for shame. Many athletes compete all through their four years and then stop. Wouldn’t that be considered quitting too? As they are essentially leaving, or ending their career. With a team that has hosted you for the past 4 years; coaching giving up their time, trainers tirelessly helping injury’s and team boosting moral, doesn’t it seem fair to give back just once? If quitting means denying someone the chance to compete, then I think that person should feel shame, don’t you? I think the term quit really depends on the circumstances. I know for a fact, that any head coach is going to push, but NEVER abuse their athletes. While this is an opinion piece, any writer should know, the tone should be conversational, not a bias rant. So to the editor in chief, I think you need to re-evaluate your stance, and not passive aggressively write about very controversial topics.

  6. So what exactly was the reaction that you’re referring to? I don’t understand what the coach did other than not give you what you wanted

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