Unfortunately, after learning about being cut, sometimes players make mistakes by having negative reactions, poor body language, or by talking terribly about the team that they were just cut from.  As an athlete that was cut and traded multiple times, I want to offer my best advice to up-and-coming athletes on how to handle being cut from a team correctly.

When you sign up to play sports in any competitive capacity, you run the risk of being cut. Being cut from the team that you’re trying out for is a disappointing experience, and to find out that you’re not wanted by a team after you’ve given it everything you’ve got can hurt.  It’s even more disappointing when you feel great about the effort you have put forward and think that you have a legit shot at making the team that you’re trying out for.

Being cut, traded, released, how ever you want to label it, sucks.  It’s not a fun experience and can leave an athlete feeling embarrassed, confused, or down right defeated after they have poured their heart and soul into trying to make or stay with the team.  However, there are two ways in how to handle being cut – one of them is with class and grace, and the other is with disgrace.  Below is our guide in how to handle being cut from your team with class so that you can not only handle it the right way, but how you can use it to your advantage.




#1 – It’s Not Personal, So Don’t Take It Personally

Being cut from a team doesn’t mean that you’re not worthy enough to be there.  It just means that the fit isn’t right at the moment. No matter how much you want to be right about WHY you were cut, don’t try to figure it out. It’s not worth your time or energy, so you just need to move on. You aren’t the first player to be cut and you certainly will not be the last. So, understand that being cut is the nature of the beast and its a learning opportunity for you to handle rejection.

There are thousands of teams and coaches out there in your sport – Don’t get down on yourself because one, five, or even ten coaches feel that you’re not the right fit for their team. Coaches get things wrong all of the time, and just because you’re not the type of player that they’re looking for, it doesn’t mean that your not going to be valuable to another team

#2 – Be Professional & Have Class

If you want to know how to handle being cut, you have to remember to be professional & classy when the news drops. When finding out the news, be sure to refrain from reacting as much as possible.  Questioning the coach’s decision or having a boisterous reaction will be a negative reflection on your character.  You may be thinking: “Who cares? I’m not playing for them so why does it matter?”  Let me tell you – it does. Coaches talk about players a lot, especially their character.

I have personally seen players have opportunities lined up with other teams by the coaching staff that was cutting them because the coaches wanted to help them out.  Those opportunities were squashed on each occasion because the player was completely unprofessional and attacked each coaching staff’s character.  You never know how the next door is going to open, especially when it comes from the assistance of the person that’s letting you go.

Instead of being a brat, have a good attitude.  Yes, you were just dealt some terrible news, but its not an excuse to act immature. Whenever you have the chance to build upon your character in moments like this, always take the high road.  Shake each coach’s hand, thank them for the opportunity that you gave them, and move on to the next step.

Don’t speak negatively about your experience and always show that you’re mature with good body language. Coaches always remember players with class and players that are immature. Put yourself in the former so that when you cross paths with them again, they will give you a glowing recommendation.

#3 – Ask For Feedback (If You Can) & Don’t Question Their Decision

If you have the opportunity to find out what you can improve upon from the coaching staff that has decided to part ways, it may be a good idea.  It’s always a great opportunity when you can receive feedback from others about the flaws that they may potentially see in your game.  Some of the feedback may be something that you do that you may not even be aware of.  Maybe you need to work on your foot speed a little more, or your poor body language, or maybe you need to develop your confidence in your game.

Whatever the coach’s feedback may be, make sure that you write down what they told you so that you can go back and remind yourself about the areas that others think that you may be lacking in.  Keep it in a journal and go back to it from time to time to keep yourself humble.  If anything, as you make it up the ladder and continue to grow, you will appreciate how far you’ve come and the progress that you’ve made.

#4 – Use It As Motivation To Prove Them Wrong

The two greatest motivators in life are success and rejection. Are you pissed because you got cut and think you should have made the team? Good – Use it as motivation. Had enough of everyone passing up on you? Good – Use it as motivation.  Sick and tired of being told “thanks, maybe next year”? Take that rejection and use it to spark your new progress.

Whenever you’re faced with character building moments in your life, you need to double down on yourself and do the right thing.  If you’re tired of being on the wrong side of the cut list, then you need to have some grit and apply yourself.  Start practicing like you’re obsessed and become a student of the game.  When you start to get complacent, ask yourself this one question: What did you do today to become better than the other 10,000 athletes out there that want the same thing as you do?

#5 – Get to Work, Especially On Your Flaws

Now that you have feedback on why you were cut from the team, Continue to work on the areas of your game that coaches think you are lacking in so that you can become a well-rounded player.  If you’re going to try out for that team again, it will speak volumes if you work on the things that the coach is telling you to work on and come back for the next tryouts with those areas of your game in tact.  It shows that you are mature and coachable, which are the types of players that coaches love.

Don’t just work on your flaws for a week or a month.  You really want to sit down and digest what you’re being told and find a plan of action to fix those flaws.  If you’re told you’re too slow, then you need to get faster.  IF you were told that you’re too weak, then you need to get stronger.  If you were told that you’re too skinny/fat, then you need to gain/lose the weight.  If it’s something that specific to your sport that you need to work on, then you need to find a coach or mentor that will help you in working on your flaws.

The main lesson you need to take away in starting the process of working on the flaws of your game is to remind yourself that all of it is fixable.  You just have to come up with a plan and put in the work to fix those flaws, but that decision is totally up to you.

The “How To Handle Being Cut” Life Lesson:

Sometimes we need to have people be brutally honest with us.

You never want to burn bridges with any coaching staff because you never know when you will cross paths with them again. Throughout my years of coaching, there were players that I simply wouldn’t have back because of their unprofessional actions when they learned that their opportunity wasn’t with our team anymore.  Also, there were players that I brought back for a second chance because I was impressed with their character when they learned the bad news.

The most important thing that you take away from being cut is you understand that things weren’t meant to be for a reason.  Coaches don’t always get things right. They’re human too.  You just need to understand is that being cut is an opportunity to learn how to handle being cut and the adversity that comes with it, and then coming back stronger than before the experience.

Take the criticism and learn from it. Apply yourself and become better.  Then, when the next time your name is called, go out there and crush it.  Everyone gets knocked down, but the successful ones stand up after they’ve been kicked down and take another shot. Remember that every player has a different path, focus on the improvements that you need to make in order to become a better player, and take action on bouncing back. That’s how to handle being cut from a team.


“It’s not whether you get knocked down. It’s whether you get back up.”

– Vince Lombardi