Sonia Ursu | Dear Coaches
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Dear Coaches


I want to thank all the coaches I’m currently working or have previously worked with.

I had something to learn from each and every one of them. Some of them helped me acknowledge and build on the talent that God gave me, some taught me what endurance and pain means, and others shadowed my passion and destroyed my confidence. In the end, this experience reminded me to look deep inside of me and never give up on myself.

I don’t know what other female athletes think about men coaching women at a professional level, but I do believe that is a very difficult task. It is hard to put up with 12 girls, 12 different characters, every day for 6 to 8 months in a year. Statistically speaking, we are more emotional than men. We have break downs, we go through that ‘time of the month’ and sometimes even have an attitude (deep down we all think we are princesses). I have a huge admiration for male coaches who can deal with these issues  in a pleasant manner. Of course, they will blow up from time to time and it’s fair enough because we are all humans and I totally understand that.

I can tell a lot about a coach. Not only by how great he is when he wins games, but also by his attitude when the team loses, the way he treats people – from the president of the basketball club to the gym janitor, or the way he acts when a player is injured. Every coach approaches tactics and basketball in different ways and your job as a player is to respect and adapt to it. I’m not a coach and at this point I don’t see myself one, but what’s clear to me is that this thing goes both ways. It is like being in a relationship. You can’t always give your best, be positive, shut your mouth and continue to give and give and not receive anything back from the other side. You get tired of it.

When I write these lines, I am not only talking about my personal experiences. I’m using this platform to speak for those who wish they could but can’t.

As you reach a higher level, many of the players lose their passion for basketball because everything starts to become a business. Unfortunately in this business, there are a lot of egocentric coaches who only think about reaching the ultimate goal and forget to consider the small details. I am aware of situations where coaches use their power to abuse the players, not physically but mentally and this is called workplace bullying. This doesn’t happen only in basketball, it happens in every sport. It’s sad to be part of a team when things like these happen. It’s even worse when you as a teammate remain silent because you are afraid not to receive the same treatment or worse, lose your job.

For all coaches out there, how would you feel knowing that one of the coaches is threatening, intimidating, humiliating your daughter or calling her names? I’ll tell you, probably you wouldn’t know because your daughter wouldn’t want you to be worried and wouldn’t tell you, but eventually you would sense it. But if you actually knew all of this, you would be furious. So, before you start mistreating a player, it doesn’t matter if she is 16 or 30 years old, remember she is someone else’s daughter.

Coaches are human and fallible but by accepting this job, they also accept the responsibility of developing greatness in those they teach. A coach must be a person of character. They must display moral courage, compassion, humility, respect, honour and integrity. A recent study concluded that coaches have more impact on young athletes than parents, teachers, school and religion. Probably the most influential figures in the life of an athlete. Their influence can continue long after the season and career ends.

If you are a coach and you are reading this, I hope you understand my message. The obsession for winning and success can sometimes blind us, hurt others and have a negative impact overall. It’s important to remind ourselves why we chose this job (whatever that is) in the first place, take responsibility and why not, take the opportunity and become an example for those around us.


Editing Credits: Alex



Vreau sa multumesc tuturor antrenorilor cu care lucrez sau cu care am lucrat anterior.

Am avut ceva de invatat de la fiecare dintre ei. Unii dintre ei m-au ajutat sa recunosc si sa valorific talentul pe care Dumnezeu mi l-a dat, unii m-au invatat ce inseamna anduranta si durerea, iar altii mi-au umbrit pasiunea si mi-au distrus increderea. Intr-un final, aceasta experienta mi-a reamintit sa ma uit in adancul meu si sa nu renunt niciodata la mine insami.

Nu stiu ce parere au sportivele cand e vorba ca un barbat sa antreneze femei la nivel profesionist, dar dupa parerea mea, este o sarcina foarte dificila. E greu sa ai de-a face cu 12 fete, 12 caractere diferite, in fiecare zi timp de 6 pana la 8 luni pe an. Statistic vorbind, noi femeile suntem multe mai emotionale decat barbatii. Avem caderi nervoase, trecem prin ‘acea perioada din luna’ si cateodata avem si capsa pusa (in adancul nostru toate credem ca suntem niste printese). Am o mare admiratie pentru barbatii care si-au asumat acest rol de antrenor si reusesc sa se descurce intr-o maniera placuta. Desigur, vor fi momente cand acestia vor claca din cand in cand si este acceptabil si de inteles, deoarece cu totii suntem fiinte umane pana la urma.

Pot spune multe despre un antrenor. Nu numai de cat de grozav este atunci cand castiga meciuri, ci si de atitudinea lui atunci cand echipa pierde, felul in care trateaza oamenii-de la presedintele clubului pana la omul care face curatenie in sala, sau felul in care se comporta atunci cand o jucatoare se accidenteaza. Fiecare antrenor abordeaza tactici si baschetul diferit, iar munca ta ca jucator este sa respecti deciziile lui si sa te adaptezi. Nu sunt antrenoare si in acest moment nu ma vad una, dar ceea ce este clar pentru mine este ca acest lucru trebuie sa vina din ambele parti. Ca si cum ai fi intr-o relatie. Nu poti intotdeauna sa dai tot ce este mai bun din tine, sa fii pozitiv, sa te abtii de nenumarate ori si sa continui sa tot dai, sa dai si sa nu primesti nimic din partea cealalta. Obosesti.

Cand scriu aceste randuri, nu vorbesc doar despre experientele personale.  Folosesc aceasta platforma sa vorbesc in numele celor care ar dori s-o faca si nu pot.

Pe masura ce avansezi la un nivel superior, multi dintre jucatori isi pierd pasiunea pentru baschet deoarece totul incepe sa devina o afacere. Din pacate, in aceasta afacere, exista o multime de antrenori egocentrici care se gandesc doar la atingerea scopului final si uita sa considere micile detalii. Sunt constienta de situatiile in care antrenorii isi folosesc puterea pentru a-si abuza jucatoarele, nu din punct de vedere fizic, ci mental iar acest lucru se numeste abuz la locul de munca. Acest lucru nu se intampla doar in baschet, se intampla in orice sport. Este trist sa faci parte dintr-o echipa unde se intampla asa ceva. Este chiar mai trist cand tu, in rol de coechipiera, ramai tacuta de teama sa nu primesti acelasi tratament, sau mai rau, sa iti pierzi locul de munca.

Pentru toti antrenorii de pretutindeni, cum v-ati simti stiind ca unul dintre antrenori va ameninta, intimideaza, umileste sau batjocoreste fiica? Va spun eu, probabil nu ati sti deorece fiica voastra nu ar vrea sa fiti ingrijorati si nu v-ar spune, dar in cele din urma veti simti. Dar daca ati sti toate astea de la inceput, ati fi furios. Asadar, inainte sa va ganditi sa tratati rau o jucatoare, nu conteaza daca are 16 sau 30 de ani, amintiti-va ca si ea la randul ei este fiica cuiva.

Antrenorii sunt umani si imperfecti dar acceptand aceasta slujba, ei accepta si responsabilitatea de a dezvolta potentialul celor pe care ii invata. Un antrenor trebuie sa fie un om de caracter. El trebuie sa arate curaj moral, compasiune, umilinta, respect, onoare si integritate. Un studiu recent a demonstrat ca antrenorii au un impact mai mare asupra sportivilor tineri decat parintii, profesorii, scoala si religia. Probabil cele mai influente figuri din viata unui atlet. Influenta lor poate continua mult dupa sfarsitul sezonului si al carierei.

Daca sunteti antrenor si cititi aceste randuri, sper ca intelegeti mesajul meu. Obsesia pentru castig si succes ne poate orbi uneori, rani pe cei din jur si in general poate avea un efect negativ. E important sa ne reamintim de ce am ales aceasta slujba in primul rand (indiferent care este ea), sa ne asumam responsabilitatile si de ce nu, sa profitam de ocazie si sa devenim un exemplu pentru cei din jurul nostru.

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    • sonia ursu
      Posted at 05:08h, 08 August

      If you are a coach and you are reading this, I hope you understand my message. The obsession for winning and success can sometimes blind us, hurt others and have a negative impact overall. It’s important to remind ourselves why we chose this job (whatever that is) in the first place, take responsibility and why not, take the opportunity and become an example for those around us.

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Sonia Ursu