How To Face A Coach’s Worst Nightmare

“I want to quit.” These words represent a challenge to the philosophies of coaches and programs everywhere. In this video, Gable and Coach Weber muse on the word “quit”, how to prevent quitting, how to react to an athlete who wants to quit, and more of the details associated with this daunting situation.



Daryl Weber: Let’s say you have a kid that is struggling and he comes up to you and says, “Coach I just want to quit.”

Dan Gable: Oh, boy.  First of all, he signed up for me not to quit.  I brought that up in a pre-practice talk or individually if he came up to me and wanted to be a walk-on.  I’m going to tell him, you’re not going to come right out and be a part of our team.  I’ll let you sit in the stands for 2 weeks and if you think you want to be a part after that, well then there’ll be a good shot.  If you’re there the whole time, if you got that discipline, then I would think that I’d probably let you on.  If we can let him on.  If he has the academics, if he passes the physical, if he’s doing all that. 

The bottom line is, I’d tell him, I don’t like the word quit, but you can’t quit if you’re going to come out.  He’s got to tell me that.  I want to hear it and that doesn’t mean he’s not going to.  If he stays those full 2 weeks or whatever or if you have a kid that has been there for 5, 4 years and this is his 5th year and he wants to quit, oh my god, that’s the worst yet.

You got to finish it.  Now, it’s happened and it does happen.  Almost all the time, almost every case, 99%, 100% of the case, every kid that ever quit on me told me later he wished he wouldn’t have quit.

Daryl Weber: Oh, yeah.  Same here.

Dan Gable: That’s what’s amazing.  I’m telling my grandkids, there’s no word even in the dictionary called quit.  They looked it up the other day and they found it and I said, not in my dictionary.  That’s the Webster’s.  Not in Gable dictionary.

Daryl Weber: That’s probably the hardest, as a high school coach, that’s the hardest thing for me to handle, is when you have a kid and especially if he’s been in the program a couple years and he’s got potential.  For whatever reason, they get hooked up with the wrong people and they end up quitting and I go to the very end and do as much as I possibly can.  When I was younger, I didn’t quite have it down, but I really try to preach religiously … When they’re in good spirits and all the [time 2:22], so that why they’re doing this. 

It’s not about wins and losses, it’s about development of character and just all those types of things, so that if somebody does come to me and wants to quit, it’s not, hey we need you to win the state championship or you need to do this to be the big shot on campus, there’s a deeper meaning there.

Dan Gable: No, you’re absolutely right.  There is a point that a kid crosses that he’s got to go.  There is a point.  That line’s a pretty tough line for me.  It’s hard to find, but it can happen.  If it’s something to do with life and death or whatever, something that’s really hurting the team, it’s one of those things that you’ve got to make sure happens.  Then they could come back too maybe.


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