Your kids will likely listen to the advice of their coach more than they will to their guidance counselor. And, one day, for better or for worse, your kids will probably remember their coach more than their high school principal. Let’s use this influence to our advantage. We need to train coaches to inspire your kids’ physical, emotional and social development to positively shape their future.  

Understanding trauma

We must understand the potential coaches have to be mentors for our youth, particularly when it comes to kids who have experienced difficult upbringings. Trauma may seem like a word that doesn’t apply to your kids, but it can affect youth in all socioeconomic circumstances.

If we are going to ensure that our nation's youth remain healthy and resilient, we need to engage all adult influences to be part of the effort.

Symptoms of trauma can stem from a build-up of overwhelming circumstances or from a single event that induces fear or anxiety. Think about it: how many youth in America are facing exposure to drug or alcohol abuse, bullying, gangs, truancy, dating issues, difficult home lives, loss of a loved one or exposure to violence? Ignoring the reality of trauma isn’t going to help it go away.

The power of exercise

But we can intervene now and your kid’s coach might hold one of the most powerful tools for doing so. Growing research on trust (and trust-based relational interventions) suggests that children who have someone to turn to when confronting difficult decisions are more successful at coping with stress and trauma. If your kid already trusts their coach, then why not give coaches the tools to use this trust to help them navigate the difficult decisions they encounter throughout their teen years? Plus, your kid’s coach adds one more healing element to the trauma equation: the power of physical activity. Research shows that physical activity may be the greatest contributor to stress-relief because it activates critical hormones that bring balance back to the brain.

If we are going to ensure that our nation's youth remain healthy and resilient, we need to engage all adult influences to be part of the effort. One of the greatest influences on your child is their coach. Let’s work together to ensure every coach receives training that can help them develop meaningful relationships with our children.