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How to Help Athletes take Criticism

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In addition to being a broadcaster and the founder of Beam Queen Bootcamp, Sam Peszek is an Olympic Gymnast. As an elite gymnast, she was part of the gold-medal-winning American teams at the World Artistic Gymnastics Championships in 2007 and was later on selected as a member of the U.S. Olympic team in 2008, helping the team to a silver medal. At UCLA, Peszek became a 17-time All-American, the 2011 and 2015 balance beam champion, and 2015 all-around co-champion. After retiring in 2015, Peszek was hired as an announcer for the Pac-12 network and went on to found Beam Queen Boot Camp in 2017.

Melissa Rinehart is the Head Women’s Gymnastics Coach at the University of Denver and coached the team to a 2021 NCAA Big 12 Championship. Rinehart was a gymnast at the University of Florida from 1989-92, going on to coach in 1993 at the University of Florida and then the University of Michigan from 1994-98. Since 1998, Rinehart has been coaching at the University of Denver leading the team to five team appearances at the NCAA National Championships. In 2021, she led the University of Denver to their first ever Big 12 Conference Championship.

As both a star athlete and tenured coach, Pat Fitzgerald has a unique perspective on drawing the line between competitive conditioning and abusive coaching. As a linebacker for Northwestern from 1993 to 1996, he compiled numerous awards including being named Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year twice and the Big Ten Medal of Honor. He returned to Northwestern in 2001 serving as the linebackers coach and recruiting coordinator. In 2006, Fitzgerald was selected as the head coach and has since led the team on to win two BigTen Championships in the West Division. He was also selected as Big Ten Coach of the Year in 2018 and received the Bobby Dodd Coach of the Year Award in 2020.

In this video, all four panelists provided valuable input for coaches on how to help athletes receive criticism.