No child should ever have to endure through the emotional pain that the sexual victims of Jerry Sandusky or Bernie Fine went through, yet the reality is that thousands of kids in the United States each year are put into compromising sexual positions by coaches and other adults involved in youth and interscholastic sports. I know, as I have personally worked with countless families, school districts, and youth leagues that have had to respond to such allegations. I also know that we have lagged terribly behind when it comes to providing appropriate training and oversight for coaches so that we can better protect children who sign up to play sports, not be forced to guard molesters from stealing their innocence.
To see how safe your child is and to quickly gauge how well your child’s youth sport league or school team is doing to protect kids from pedophiles, please take a moment to answer the following questions:
1.) Does your child’s youth league or school require a criminal background check for every coach that is hired? While it is true that more leagues and schools are doing this today, please note one very important related detail pertaining to background checks: If the perpetrator has never been caught before, he or she will easily make it past this threshold. What this means is that background checks are certainly important, but if you are relying on them to effectively weed out pedophiles you may have an over-inflated sense of their worth. Case in point – both Jerry Sandusky from PSU and Bernie Fine from Syracuse abused boys for over 20 years each, yet only in the last few months were they arrested.
If your child’s youth sports league or school does NOT have a mandatory criminal background check add 1 point to your score.
2.) Does your child’s Athletic Director or League Operator require ongoing professional training and development that includes training in psychosocial issues (i.e. appropriate boundaries, burnout, performance supplement abuse, etc.)? Most schools and leagues only require a minimal level of first aid training, unfortunately, leaving countless coaches nationwide with zero training in the interpersonal aspects of coaching kids. If your school or league is not teaching coaches about interpersonal issues, like hazing, it’s much more likely your child will eventually experience a problem that likely could have been prevented with just a minimal amount of psychosocial training.
If your child’s youth sports league or school does NOT have a mandatory professional training and development that includes training in psychosocial issues, add 1 point to your score.
3.) School Sports ONLY – Does your child’s school coaching staff comprise of at least 50% teacher-coaches? Most parents are surprised to learn that in most schools across America today over 70% of the coaches in the school are non-teacher coaches. What this means is that unlike the coach prototype found in schools just a generation ago, most coaches in schools today come from the community at-large, and while they might know the X’s and O’s of the sport they coach, it’s very likely that they have never had any formal training to work closely with kids. Teacher-coaches, on the other hand, have earned a college degree, been trained to work with kids, and are required to keep up with professional development to maintain their teaching license. Of course, this does not mean teacher-coaches are better, nor does it mean that they never cross the line with kids — but it does illustrate how important it is to know who is coaching your child and what training he or she has attained.
If your child’s school does NOT have at least 50% of it’s coaching staff also employed as teachers, add 1 point to your score.
4.) Has your youth sports league or school athletic department had previous issues in the last 10 years with pedophiles, sexual predators, or sexual molesters? In today’s technology-driven world, it’s not uncommon for pedophiles to share information in chat rooms and other private forums online, and leagues and schools that are easier to prey upon will often see a greater number of these folks look into trying to coach in the school or league.
If your child’s youth sports league or school has had at least one sexual molestation charge in the last ten years, add 1 point to your score.
5.) Is your youth sports league or school athletic department currently using Sport Success 360? Unlike other coach training courses, Sport Success 360 is the only training course in the world that includes dedicated training devoted to helping coaches create safe and healthy boundaries between them and the kids that they coach. Sport Success 360 includes many additional psychosocial training components and is designed to help train coaches to in turn help kids have the best, safest, and most enriching sport experience they can possibly have!
Subtract your points if your child is benefiting from Sport Success 360 in his youth league or school.
What your score means:
0 points: Your child’s sports league or school is doing an outstanding job of preparing its coaches to safely and effectively mentor kids. While it is still true that problems can occur, the odds are reduced dramatically by the measures your league or school has put in place.
1-2 points: Your child’s sports league or school is in great need of delivering timely, appropriate, professional training to its coaches, especially as it pertains to appropriate boundaries between coaches and kids.
3-4 points: Your child is participating in a very high-risk youth sports league or school athletic department. Check with your league operator or athletic director immediately about future plans for contemporary psychosocial training.
Sport Success 360 is the premier training course when it comes to helping coaches with the many unique issues they face in youth sports today, including developing successful, safe, and meaningful relationships with kids. Talk to your league operator, school athletic director (or other school administrators) about how you can implement Sport Success 360 today!
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