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Shane Speaks: Take 5, Take 10, Take 20-Stretching the Coaching of Young Athletes

There’s been a shift in the realm of Hollywood and celebrities as of late. With accusations and apologies coming right and left to & from big names like Kevin Spacey, Morgan Spurlock, and Louis C.K., it’s finally happened: the famous and the rich at the “tippy top” of the roller coaster finally get the gut check they needed.

This is a pivotal moment, in that kids and young students that look up to those industries see that punishment and consequences apply to everyone. Hopefully, this will ultimately trickle down from the fancy lights in Hollywood to the gridiron of colleges, the work environment, and the high schools across the U.S. I’m not saying that every single person that commits sexual assault or some form of abuse gets away with it in these establishments, but what I am saying, is that there will be better education in preventing these types of situations and encourage those who haven’t spoken out to do so.

Well, it turns out there are several organizations devoted to educating high school athletes; one of these organizations works on preventing “relationship abuse, harassment, and sexual assault.” Some high schools are even devoting time during their athletic practices to talk about these tougher issues. “Coaching Boys into Men” is one example of a national organization taking part in this movement. It is one that teaches young male athletes about each of the points I mentioned above. This particular organization has reached beyond America’s borders to nations like India and South Africa.

“Coaching Female Athletes” is another program that encourages empowerment among young female athletes in addition to education about abuse in relationships. According to the Young Adult Abuse Prevention Program (, “40% of teenage girls, ages 14 to 17, know someone their age that has been hit or beaten by a partner.” Here too, some high schools have devoted practice time to address these concerns.

It’s been one of those things that everybody knows, coaches can talk to students in a way that teachers and maybe even guidance counselors can’t. Television shows present a heightened sense of reality in relation to storytelling. Friday Night Lights for instance includes a football coach, Coach Taylor, that is at the center of every one of his athlete’s lives. Yes, how could he possibly have time to manage a football team, be constantly involved with his family, and also be involved with his players’ lives constantly.

Like I said, heightened sense of reality. However, the essence of fictional Coach Taylor is what’s present among many coaches. They have an influential impact on their players, one that extends beyond the classroom and the field.

Clearly, the recent celebrity accusations have shifted the paradigm for the better. With Larry Nassar being sentenced to 175 years in prison for years of sexual abuse, it seems more than ever we should support and encourage organizations like these to educate and prepare young athletes should they ever encounter assault or abuse. To you coaches, should you want to pursue in educating your athletes during practice or the classroom, can visit these links and receive the resources you need.


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