5 Common Reasons Why Players Get Cut And How To Easily Avoid Them

5 common reasons why players get cut and how to avoid them

We’ve gone to the chalkboard and narrowed down an extensive list to the five most common reasons why players get cut from teams and how you can avoid them.

Getting cut from a team is clearly not an easy thing to handle. Depending on who you are and how you handle adversity, it can be a terrible experience that can cause you to question if you want to play the game anymore. But, the reasons why players get cut from teams may not even be their fault. 

Sometimes, it just comes down to a numbers game – meaning that someone had to be let go. As much as they would like to (as long as you character and attitude are in tact), coaches can’t keep every player. Rosters widdle down and the cream rises to the top. 

And, you can increase those odds of being the cream as long as you have your character in tact. We’ve provided a list of 5 common reasons why players get cut and the remedies you can use to easily avoid them. 

Lying to coaches and teammates

lying to coaches reasons why players get cut

One of the most cut and dry reasons why players get cut is because they simply are not truthful with their coaches and teammates. They make excuses and lie to try and save their hide. Coaches see these types of players coming from a mile away. At first, coaches want to give players the benefit of the doubt.

Eventually though, the lying starts to compound and creates a tangled web from which they cannot escape from, the lying athlete’s true colors start to reveal themselves. Once a liar’s behavior is seen, it’s pretty obvious to everyone around them except themselves. Liar teammates are usually the first to go and they always wonder why.

To make sure that you’re not one of these liar teammates that becomes one of the reasons why players get cut, all you have to do hold yourself accountable and tell the truth. It’s not rocket science.

Yes, it’s going to be painful at the start because you have to face the consequences. But, it’s better than walking around with a dark cloud over your head as you try to remember your compounding lies.

An old coach of mine used to explain to me that telling the truth is like ripping off a bandaid.

It’s painful at first, but you expose what is underneath the band aid to be what it truly is. Instead of exposing the truth, liars tend to put another band aid on top hoping that the wound will just disappear. Even tough the band aid is light, once you continue to add them everyday to cover up the wound, they start to be uncomfortable and weigh you down.  Don’t add another band aid, just rip it off and tell the truth.

Being late for team functions

being late reasons why players get cut

Another former coach of mine had a rule for his players:

“If you’re 5 minutes early, then you’re 10 minutes late.”

If you show up late to any team functions, you need to realize that it’s one of the reasons why players get cut by coaches. Excuses or no excuses – it just doesn’t matter. Coaches don’t care about traffic, if you’re sick, if you were filling up water bottles, or if you had to see the team doctor before practice. None of that stuff matters to them because in their eyes, if being a part of the team was important to you, then you would have made time to make it your number one priority.

Being late shows a lack of commitment and communicates to everyone around you that what you’re late for isn’t a priority for you. You’re telling your coaching staff and teammates that the team wasn’t enough of a priority for you to leave 5 minutes earlier so that you could be on time.

So, if you don’t want to be painted with that brush, make sure that you show up to anything AT LEAST 15 minutes early. When you do so, you’ll always be on time. You’ll communicate to everyone around you that you care so much about being a part of the team that you come in early just so that you can be a part of it.

Arriving early for team functions will be hard for you to adjust to at first, but you’ll start to see why it’s so important. Plus, you will avoid one of the most common reasons why players get cut at the higher levels of competition.

Being selfish

being a selfish teammate reasons why players get cut

One of the most obvious reasons why players get cut from teams is because they put themselves before the team. Being a selfish teammate means that you don’t care about anyone else except yourself. You don’t have the time to put your teammates first in your own mind because you’re out there to “get yours”.

In your own mind, you’re only there for a short time before you move on, so why should you care about everyone else?

Well, the reason why is because your character determines what your reputation is going to be. If you want to put yourself first and be someone who constantly takes from the program, then don’t expect your coaches to give you gleaming reviews when recruiters call and ask about you.

Instead, abide by this rule. Think of your team as the bank and you’re the customer. If you don’t put anything into the bank, then your resources are going to run out quickly. In order to be able to withdrawal from the bank, you need to be making deposits by helping out your teammates, treating everyone in the program with respect, and by putting in the extra time after practice so that you can become better.

Pick up after yourself in the locker room and the weight room. Make sure everything is in order before you leave. What you put in it is what you’re going to get out of it. If you keep continuing to take instead of give, you’re going to see that you’re not going to get much out of your experience. 

Being lazy or having a poor work ethic 

poor work ethic reasons why players get cut

One of the easiest decisions a coach can make is cutting a player because they have a bad attitude or cutting a player because they can’t perform. Talent is king, but it’s always overshadowed when you don’t work hard. To quote Steve Prefontaine, “To give anything less than your best, is to sacrifice the gift.” 

Coaches don’t respect players who don’t work hard, and their teammates feel the same way too. That’s because when you have talent to play the game, everyone around you sees that as a gift that you’ve been given. And, when you don’t apply yourself as a talented player, everyone around you sees that as a slap in the face.

Coaches can’t understand why you would choose to not apply yourself because playing sports is the opportunity of a lifetime. When you choose to have a poor work ethic, you spiral down and eventually lose any respect you’ve had from your peers and coaches. Everyone around you just starts to think that “you just doesn’t get it”, which means that you’re not fully aware of the ability you possess and the opportunity you have.

Athletes who have a poor work ethic are never aware because they’re too self-centered and self- absorbed to understand that they’re wasting their opportunities in life.

They fail to realize that EVERYONE at the highest level works as hard as they possibly can.  Day in and day out they give it everything they’ve got because they’re professionals.

Simply put – if you have talent but you have a poor work ethic, don’t expect to last long at the higher levels. It’s just too serious and too much of a business for people to hold your hand along the way.

If you think working hard isn’t a big deal because you have enough talent to skate by, you’re dead wrong. Working hard is one of the three things that you can control in life. If you pay the game with hard work, don’t expect it to pay you back.

Having a bad attitude

having a bad attitude reasons why players get cut

Another one of the most obvious reasons why players get cut is because of their toxic, “me first” attitude. Your attitude is one of three things that you can control in life. And, if you don’t have it in check, you need to change it immediately or you can consider yourself gone. 

It doesn’t matter how much talent you have when it comes to having a bad attitude. Coaches don’t want nothing to do with a player that has a bad attitude because they bring the life of the team down into the dumps. Teams win championships based on their mentalities.

If you have a negative “me first” mindset that always claims to get “screwed over” from coaches, you need to take a look in the mirror. It has nothing to do with the coaches and everything to do with your attitude.

As a coach, when you see a player bounce from program to program because they “weren’t given a fair shot”, it raises red flags. It shows that you’re all about yourself and can’t adapt the way that past coaches have wanted you to adapt. And, it shows that you’re uncoachable.

Instead of pointing fingers, start to point thumbs. Realize that you’re not the “end-all be-all” to the sport. There’s millions of players who played the game before you to make it what it is today. You’re not going to be the one defining player who reinvents the sport. Swallow your pride and put others first or you’re going to develop a reputation for being a selfish teammate. 


As you rise up the ranks in the competitive sports ladder, it’s important to understand that the intangibles are the differences between having a long and prosperous career versus “having a cup of coffee” before you get cut.

Now that you know 5 of the most common reasons why players get cut, you need to work on yourself so that you can avoid them.

Instead of being a problem, you need to be a solution. Always give more than you take from the program that you’re playing for. And never, never be an energy vampire.