In order to be considered bullying, the behavior must be aggressive and include:
- An Imbalance of Power: (OK, this is obvious – the coach has more power than you do)
- Repetition: Bullying behaviors happen more than once or have the potential to happen more than once. (That means a single bad day does not = bullying (coaches are human too!))
- Hey fatso – you’re never gonna win lumbering around like an elephant.
- Hey, don’t cry like a girl.
- You think it hurts now?! I’ll show you what REALLY hurts.
- You’re obese – you better make weight!!! Or you'll be sorry!
- Hey everyone, look at Jimmy, he's gonna bring the team down.
- That was the worst match I’ve ever seen. Don’t you all agree? You should have lost those 16 pounds so you could have competed at the lighter level. How can you let down your teammates?
- Concussion? Whatever. You look fine. Look at your teammates getting clobbered and you won’t even go out there and give them a break?! Who cares what your doctor says – I’ve seen this a MILLION times. You’re fine.
- This one is pretty obvious….
· Drink lemon juice and cayenne pepper (what?!)
· Eat only 1 or 2 types of food – fruit / vegetable. No protein.
· Take protein supplements.
· No eating before competition.
· No drinking liquids before competition.
· Also without enough liquids in your system, you don’t have enough blood volume going through your heart – so then your heart cannot pump out blood effectively to your muscles and brain and all the parts of your body that need blood.
· Your body won’t be able to get rid of extra body heat and then you can get really sick from heat exhaustion or hyperthermia – and your muscles can start to break down and that protein from your muscles damages your kidneys to the point that you can need dialysis or die.
· Abusing laxatives to poop out everything in your intestines or water pills to squeeze all the fluid out of you like a wrung sponge, or making yourself vomit to get rid of fluid are incredibly dangerous as well, and make all of these situations even worse.
· Your bones will not be built properly and will be more likely to break. How about female endurance runners at very low body weight (so low they stopped having their periods – more on that later) that got stress fractures in their legs? They kept right on running, right on competing. Then the top part of their femurs slipped over the lower part as that fracture gave way while they were running. No joking.
· Poor nutrition will mess up those hormones that are taking you through puberty. The stuff that changes you from a boy to a man; from a girl to a woman. Guys will have less testosterone. For real. Girls will have less estrogen – and that makes the bones even less strongly built.
· During puberty into your 20’s you are building your bone up to the point that it will be its strongest. Then through the rest of your life, especially for females, your bone gets thinner and you are more likely to break a hip or a leg or a wrist. The more you have to start with, the better you are for the rest of your life. Build now or never! So bones are an issue now, and an issue later.
· Even if you correct all this stuff later, there seems to be a point that your body cannot catch up anymore to the growth it would have had if you had been feeding it what it needs all along. And scarfing a pizza and 6 milkshakes after 2 days of fasting plus competition is not going to help. Not to mention, that is not exactly fine nutrition either!
· OK, the problem here is that this called “disordered eating”. It can actually turn into an eating disorder.
· For more on those: <about bulimia> <about anorexia>
· You are learning your eating patterns now, so repeating an unhealthy cycle of binge / purge can stay with you forever.
· And that cycling actually may affect how your blood vessels function later in life; may cause higher levels of bad cholesterol and total cholesterol too. Both of which can add up to heart attacks and strokes later in life (more studies needed here, but a worrisome pattern).
One last thing....: Athlete’s Triad. Short and sweet. Female athletes that really take some of these behaviors to the extreme can have a trio of unhealthy problems. 1) disordered eating – or a full-blown eating disorder 2) osteoporosis (thin, weak bones) and 3)amenorrhea (no periods). OK, so I know you’re thinking now “Yay! No more periods! Who needs the Curse anyway?!?!” But there is a problem actually. Did you know that your periods and your bone strength are related? That’s right. Losing your periods due to extreme thinness or low body fat is a sign that your estrogen levels have dropped. And you need estrogen to build up those bones. So, low estrogen = weak bones (made worse by low calcium that is probably also going on in girls that avoid dairy like the plague to cut calories). So the message is – if you stop having your periods, or your periods get really irregular after they already settled into a pattern for you, you need to see your doctor, since that is not normal. And guys, you can have similar affects too (minus the whole periods thing, obviously) But definite effects on messing up bone building.