Coaches Urged to be Sensitive to Trauma-Impacted Players

Notre Dame, IN. (KMOX) – Young athletes are taking traumatic experiences with them to practice and games.  One group says a coach’s response can be critical.

 “A lot of coaches say, ‘oh that’s not my reality’ and yet the statistics will point to the fact that coaches likely are coaching on their team, kids who have experienced trauma in some form,” explains Kristin Sheehan, Program Director for Play Like a Champion Today Educational Series.
Sheehan was a guest on Total Information AM Sunday.  She tells KMOX more than 60-percent of 17-year-olds have been exposed to crime, violence and abuse.
( Click here to hear the full interview with Kristin Sheehan.)
Play Like a Champion Today has developed a program to help coaches be more responsive to athletes who have had traumatic experiences.  “Coaches can actually induce further trauma through their coaching.  Sometimes coaches have the mistaken belief that berating their athletes or pushing them very hard in a negative type of manner is motivational.”  Sheehan points out, disciplining a player who acts out may do more harm.
She says coaches should focus on having positive relationships with their athletes and concentrate more on development and team building than game outcomes.
For help on what to look for on your team and how to have a trauma-responsive coaching plan, click here for a link to the Trauma Responsive and Sensitive Coaching program on the Play Like a Champion Today website.
Play Like a Champion Today also offers a confidential email helpline staffed by a development psychologist – askdoctorcarrie@playlikeachampion.org
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