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Three Steps Coaches Can Take When Athletes Get Into Trouble Off The Field

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Heather Woody, a 2017 Double-Goal Coach® Award Winner, coaches for the Iowa Speed Track and Field club. Woody and her coaching staff serve about 220 athletes, mostly residing in or near Iowa City, but some arriving from two hours’ driving distance. “Anybody can be a part of this,” she said. “We don’t care if they’re fast. We don’t care if they’re talented. We just want kids to do things that are healthy and positive."

Woody outlines three steps a coach can take to handle a student-athlete who has gotten in trouble or misbehaved. The first is to approach them and talk about what happened while reminding them that being on the team is about being a good teammate, picking each other up, and being in a safe environment. The second step is to approach them and say, "We had this conversation, why are you doing it again?" After another conversation happens, it is important to remind them that they are better than whatever it is they did. The last step is to get a parent involved in the conversation.

Woody emphasizes that a coach should never degrade a student-athlete. It is crucial to stay positive and remind them that they are all in it together. It is important to, "ditch the assumption that they don't want to behave. They do, they just lose it sometimes because they are kids."