Posted by: joshjasper | August 20, 2009

Roosevelt Middle School

Yesterday afternoon marked the beginning of our Coaching Boys Into Men and Coaching Girls Into Women programs within the Dubuque School District.  (check out the boys program at:  I had the opportunity to train 25 middle school coaches yesterday on the program that focuses on empowering coaches to be role models for their young athletes.  We talked about how young men and women must redefine what it means to be a man and a woman in today’s society in order to realize true violence prevention.  I shared with the coaches about the power of capitalizing on teachable moments.  For example….

During a time out at practice, Jennifer, a freshman for the tennis team, is walking alone across the gym floor toward the east entrance.  She’s known to the guys to be attractive.  Some of your players notice Jennifer and start howling, whistling, and making inappropriate comments.  You notice that she is uncomfortable and perhaps a little scared, but she holds her head up and continues through the gym.

“What would you do coach?”  I must say, I was very impressed with the answers that the coaches at Roosevelt Middle School provided yesterday….they got it to say the least.

We had a great conversation about what girls learn at a very early age in regards to being objectified, having to be passive, and too often not given the opportunities that boys are afforded.  A number of the coaches provided excellent examples of how they can counter this negative messaging throughout their sporting seasons.  After the presentation, one of the coaches pulled me aside and shared the concern he has about being a football coach and how so many of the practices teach hitting.  He was concerned that the hitting they learned on the field would leak off the field as well.  I was able to share with this coach how through this program we would be able to teach his athletes the difference between what takes place on and off the field.

It really is incredible the influence that coaches have.  They are coaching so much more than the X’s and O’s.


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