"See It, Stop It: Tackling Abuse in Amateur Sports" Symposium
On June 16-17, 2021 we hosted our first-ever virtual symposium: See It, Stop It: Tackling Abuse in Amateur Sports. After conducting dozens of virtual and in-person events to raise awareness around abuse in sport, we have identified some key components in addressing this issue: basic prevention best practices, institutional accountability, positive team and coaching culture, and access to resources. With our “See It, Stop It” symposium, we faced these issues head on thanks to the incredible wisdom and experience of our featured speakers.
"Healthy, Positive Coaching"
– All right. Well, welcome back everyone. And welcome back to this amazing conference second panel for the See It, Stop It, Tackling Abuse in Amateur Sports. This is an amazing undertaking hosted by the Foundation of Global Sports Development and the Sidewinder Films. Make sure you go visit their website at the globalsportsdevelopment.org. And if you have missed the previous panel, I really strongly suggest that you go and listen to the recording, because it was very informative. And I mean there’s no other option when you have that quality of panelists on board, you can’t go wrong. You know, just like this one that we’re going to have coming up, which is on healthy positive coaching. And we’re going to look at how that is a super important, if not crucial part of ensuring that, everyone coming through sport will have a positive experience, and will find a safe place. And this is for you, the audience, whether you’re a coach and athlete, a parent, or an administrator, and we want to make sure you are empowered in understanding, recognizing, and being able to act if you see abuse, and also be more active and engage in the positive aspect of it and how we can grow a wonderful positive image for sport. And just as a little bit of logistics here, just a reminder that some of these discussions definitely can have an impact on people listening in, and they can trigger different emotions. And so, we want to make sure we share with you the number that you can call or text, which is the Childhelp’s hotline and it’s in the chat. So you can find it there 1-800-422-4453. Reminding you guys too tomorrow, last session of the day, full on, on resources, and so that’s going to be the place to be if you want to get the complete lowdown on national local resources, of course training, education and support resources. So, without further ado, let’s welcome everyone back once again, and welcome to our wonderful panelists, and speakers very quickly. My name is Rebecca Khoury. And I will be the moderator for this panel. I’m the founder of the Spirit of Trust, which is, a new initiative in its infancy stage. And our focus is, and will be to have survivor-led trauma, informed healing, holistic healing, for victims of abuse in sport. And it’s an absolute great honor to be part of this conference, and to share my next hour with all of you, and our next speakers. I will do a quick introduction. I know you guys read on them and about them, and some of you may know them personally. But just to make sure we get on the same page. So you’ve got Mr. Stuart Krohn, who’s an old American rugby player graduated from University of California, Santa Barbara, who spent 13 years playing professional rugby, I can tell you that that has to take a toll on a man’s body and mind. He traveled and played in France, New Zealand, South Africa, Hong Kong. You know, these are no small nations in the sport of rugby. And in 1999, decided to come back to the U.S, and start at an amazing school. He was one of the founding teachers at the Inner City Education Foundation schools in LA. You have to go look at this website. And it’s an impressive organization. And a few years later, of course, he developed the rugby program, because what is the rugby player going to do? And so through that program, he’s been empowering these kids and he’s led hundreds of them all over the world. I was just watching a video earlier, and I had to stop because I was like, “I’m going to be too emotional, when I’m going to talk about this, and then start crying. No.” So I’m keeping, I watched 20 minutes, I’m going to keep the rest for later today. But amazing stories. And, really, you can see that they touch the lives of these kids. And then you have Miss Lisa Finegan, who has joined him in this adventure about six years ago, and she’s Irish born. So you’ll recognize the accent, when she starts talking, you’ll see. And she is extremely accomplished young woman, young lady. And she has recently been named on the women’s player, the woman’s high-performance squad for team USA. She’s also a world rugby educator. That’s an important piece when you want to be a rugby coach. And she won the World Rugby Sevens coaching award last year. And just recently in LA, has been named a Wise LA Woman to Watch. And so I suggest you go do a little, soft Google stalking, and go check her out on all her social media. She’s very active, and is doing great things. And she’s been an educator with Stuart at the ICF schools. She’s extremely passionate, transforming lives. These kids, connecting with them, building trust, and making them amazing leaders through their experience in sport, positive experience in sport. And last but not least, we have a wonderful young woman, Grace French. She is the founder and president of The Army of Survivors, little tidbit. I spoke to Grace just at the very beginning, when this was just an idea in her head. I saw an article connected with her, and I was thoroughly impressed, on my first conversation. So, I’m sure you will be as well. And this is a few years later, so she has a lot of experience in her organization, which is amazing, not-for-profit whose main mission is to bring awareness, accountability, and transparency to sexual violence against athletes. And they’ve been quite active, and building their teams, so amazing organization. She will talk to us about their newest project, which is called Compassionate Coaching, very apropos for today. And their goal is to educate coaches, so they can be trauma informed. And she’s been working with a survivor rights and advocacy for the past several years, and she’s on various platforms internationally and nationally. And one of the most impressive ones to note, is definitely 2019 at the United Nations general assembly. She is also a current member of, this is very important a Title IX Advisory Board, for the honorable Elissa Slotkin member… Who’s a member, sorry of the US House of Representatives for Michigan’s eighth congressional district. This is an important task because this is, boots on the ground concrete impact that she can have, and I’m sure she has. So, this is who you have in front of you. And now, I’m going to zip it, and let you guys speak. So I will invite each of you to first, to break the ice, and share your perspective, and your experiences, basically what you’ve experienced as an athlete with your coaches. You know, so what are your coaching? What are coaching you experienced? And how has it affected you, et cetera. And so I’ll start with Grace, if Grace wants to take the lead on this and let us know. And then we’ll move on to Lisa and Stuart, if that’s okay. Yeah, perfect.
– That sound great. Thanks Rebecca for the introduction. And hi everybody, it’s so nice to virtually meet you, and thank you to Global Sports Development, for having me speak today. Like was mentioned, my name is Grace French. I’m a dancer, youth coach, I’m a marketing professional, an advocate, founder, and a survivor. But before I was all of those things, I was a girl living in the suburbs of Lansing, Michigan working toward her dream of becoming a professional ballerina. A game Red Rover on the playground at 12 dramatically changed the course of my life when I sprained my wrists. And my parents asked, did the logical, which was to ask around, for the best sports medicine doctor. And everyone said the same thing, which was to go see Dr. Larry Nassar. So from the age of 12 to 19, I saw him routinely. I was sexually abused at every appointment. I never questioned it in a single time. At 12, right around when the abuse started happening, I began to develop severe anxiety, I had concerns about my own safety, and it was linked directly to how I performed, as an athlete and in school. I thought that if I didn’t perform perfectly that, there would be devastating effects like the world would end, or my teammates would die. I had unexplainable headaches, and stomach aches, and fainting spells, and I had trouble breathing, in high stress moments, that my doctors attributed it to asthma. I had this irrational fear of doctors that I couldn’t explain. And I had difficulty like self-regulating, meaning I was overwhelmed easily, or would cry or freeze, in moments that should have been low stress. Those feelings would intensify when my coaches used touch correction without asking, or when our team had that had been established at practice was broken, or when expectations of me from my coaches and trainers suddenly changed without warning or communication. And I felt like my body was betraying me and my dream. In reality, my body was experiencing the trauma before my mind even understood it. So the way that trauma affected my body, started to affect my performance. And I ended up dropping out of a dance for the time being, because it was too emotionally draining to continue. Because the environments in which I was in, were not trauma informed, they were unable to assess the situation, react in a way, that would allow me to continue. So reflecting back, I realized that, if the environments had been able to recognize myself as a trauma survivor, and change the way that they interacted with me, I could have continued. And so, for me as a coach now, I try to inform the way that I communicate with athletes, and the way that I work with my dancers, in order to make sure that, if someone is trauma — is a trauma survivor, that I don’t offer more retraumatization, through the coaching that I do currently. So, that’s a little bit about me.
– Wow, that’s amazing. Thank you. Thank you, Grace. That’s quite insightful, actually, yes. And, so, when you talk about that, we’re going to come back to the trauma effects, and then how you envision that, and how you envision reinforcing through this new program, right? And I think you’re going to connect the dots for us on that. Perfect, awesome. So Lisa, tell us about your not so long ago experience as a high performance athlete.
– Yeah, so, just even if I think back to people who had or individuals had such an massive impact on my life as a young woman, there were educators and coaches. And, you know, growing up in Ireland, I was provided … You know, I went to a great school, I was provided some great opportunities, and an equally amazing PE teacher who was just incredibly supportive, and had some incredible relationships, with all of her players and students. And as a multi-sport athlete, she coached me in multiple sports, and really made a huge impact on my life. So when I left Ireland to go to University in London, I continued to play international rugby. But it was when it was 24, 25, I actually met a mentor of mine, that I’m currently, I still speak to on a regular basis. And I was at a conference on the East Coast of America, and I walked into one of her sessions, her name is Emma Hayes, she manages Chelsea Women. And I remember being so incredibly inspired, by this woman, that I went up to her after the session, and introduced myself and I said, “I was just so inspired by how you led that session.” And she became a mentor, and a very good friend, and taught me everything from emotional intelligence, to how’d you get the best out of players. So, I think from my experience I was certainly, you know, I was impacted by two really incredible women, early on and understood what it meant to what an effective coach was essentially.
– Right, so leading by example.
– [Lisa] Yeah, of course.
– Yeah, Amazing story for that. That’s that’s great. And so, we will loop back in on that, and to connect it with what you’re doing today, and how you’re basically thinking these amazing things, and doing it with your kids, with your groups, that’s amazing. Thank you so much. Stuart, you want to go on? Do you remember your athlete’s experience?
– So long ago.
– Right? I’m kidding, I’m kidding. All right, Stuart please share, you have to unmute yourself, and then you can start telling us.
– As, you know, I was a multi-sport athlete from a very young age, and I started with swimming, because that’s what you could do, at the earliest age. And then, traditional American sports, basketball, baseball, football, that’s what I was exposed to, as well as spinning, and then swimming, and then like adventure sports, that you could do along the way. But I think, it’s interesting when you reflect back on your coaches, and when you have such a love of sport, and like Grace said they can impact you in any, which way. Because there you’re like, you love what you’re doing, you see them as experts in it. So it’s like, of course, you’re going to look up to them, and however they are. And as I’m listening to them speak, there’s a particular coach that I had, when I was 11. And, who just had a lot of self-belief in me, and he made me feel empowered. And I remember that, feeling empowered by that coach. And that’s stuck with me to this day. And then growing up, and doing sports starting then in school, and then traveling around the world, and then professionally, and that was really … I had like all different kinds of coaches. So coaches that were coach centered, that were very sarcastic, rough, expected everything from you, and weren’t really filling your emotional tank. And then I had coaches that like, totally inspired me. So, and they became like mentors, like Lisa was saying, they became mentors to me, and I wanted to emulate them. And right now what I’m doing with my life as an emulation of a great rugby coach passed away this year, George Simpkin who, is a New Zealand guy that went around introducing rugby around the world, particularly in Asia. And he was a great coach, a world cup coach. And I thought, George was a mixture of two different kinds of coaches. He was like, he gave a lot of tough love, and when things got tough, you could look in his eyes, and feel the steel, and it helped it helped you with your own resolve. So he’s helped me to have strong resolve, and to not give up, and get back up. But also just like he had so much, love and compassion for everybody on the team, and he had a vision of spreading it, so that’s what inspired me. When I was in Hong Kong, that maybe I could come back to America and start an inner city rugby program, and maybe it would have the same impact on those kids, that it’s had on me. And especially with the global aspect, traveling around the world, exposure, coming out of the community, and to different communities, and use rugby to bring people together, and teach life lessons. So, that’s what I’m doing to this day.
– Right, right. And, you talked about traveling the world yourself as an athlete, and how important it was to also connect that piece to the program that you have, because that’s an additional piece of glue that’s important. Right? But the difference in the cultures, and you know, learning like you said, life lessons, but in different contexts, and having people … I saw the beginning of that video, where that young lady recognized, and was seeing Fiji, and how it was similar to the Guyana that her parents were from. And so that’s an example … like that it could bring them comfort, but at the same time learnings, et cetera. So that’s really great, very important. So we’re going to of course come back to each of you, throughout this thing. And I wanted to go back to Grace, and to basically ask you Grace to … Because you’re doing this new program, right? You’re working on this compassionate coaching, educational program, and it’s all about healthy coaching, positive growth, trauma informed. Would you be able to share with us like your vision, of the coaching environment, do’s and don’ts? And doing that through your lenses of the survivor and the athletes, would that be-
– Good with you?
– Yes, definitely. So, I’m just a little bit going back to what compassionate coach is, and that program that we’re developing, we are working with leading researchers, psychologists, and evaluators from across the nation, in order to create this program. And we’re really thankful for the generous support of Global Sports Development as well, in partnership in creating the best possible program. So thank you to them as well. The course aims to create compassionate coaches, who are trauma informed like as mentioned, and support athletes who have experienced trauma, and then also work collaboratively, excuse me, with support systems of athletes to encourage physical and mental wellbeing. So by the end of the course, the coaches will have developed an action plan for incorporating trauma informed policies, and practices into their coaching. And I know that trauma informed can be a bit of a buzz word. And I hear from attendees, that there’s a little bit of a 50/50 chance of whether people understand what being a trauma informed coach is. And to us, it means realizing that most athletes we work with have experienced trauma, then recognizing the signs of that trauma, responding effectively, and adapting your coaching style to that trauma, and resisting retraumatization through that practice. So I implore this group to be really curious and not furious when you see athletes exhibiting signs of trauma, and that’s the first step, is really… Instead of taking negative behavior personally, thinking about what that behavior is telling you, and reframing that, the behavior is probably, or most likely not aimed at you, it may be a protection mechanism for that athlete. And it’s important to know also, that you don’t have to deeply understand that the trauma that the survivor went through, or that the athlete went through, in order to respond effectively. So, you don’t need to ask them what happened. You don’t need to know their story, in order to create an environment that’s okay, and not retraumatizing to them. So some of the other ways that I see that are sort of more effective, would be always working in pairs. This is helpful, in case there’s a power dynamic between a coworker or another coach that you don’t know about. Creating a predictable practice plan. So athletes know exactly what to expect, making sure that trauma survivors know, what is expected of them, all athletes know what is expected of them, perhaps through some sort of code of conduct, that’s enforced as well, so that they know, what they’re getting into, and they show up to practice, and there are no surprises around it. Because that, can trigger stress responses from trauma survivors, because their stress responses are over-reactive after experiencing trauma. And then another huge part, is really allowing for a team reflection. So making sure that you’re collecting feedback, and amplifying the voices of athletes, that you can assist in not only the processing for the athletes, but also in gathering that constructive criticism for your team and your staff, and implementing. I think action is super important with that. You can’t just have a feedback system, like that you don’t react to. So those are some of my big main points.
– Right, right, absolutely. Thank you, that’s quite concrete. I mean, I’m sure that the coaches on the call here, watching and listening are taking, like I just did, very extensive notes like this, this, this. Because it’s very true. It simplifies it when someone breaks it down for you, and as any good coach will know a plan, tends to give you a greater chance of success, and doing a perfect practice also increases your chances of success. So, this is knowing the information, and then how to digest it and use it. So, thank you for that. That’s great. So I’m going to go to Lisa now, because Lisa you know, because has been in this program for the past six years, and so coaching is now your everyday….your everyday life. And I think that the ICEF mission is a very amazing fit, with how you see coaching. And so how … You know, can you tell us about your own development? As a coach, how you’ve identified all of these crucial aspects that you’ve experienced as an athlete, and that you’re now finding yourself connecting in your new role as a coach within your new community?
– Yeah, so when I came over from London to LA in 2015, I actually came and joined the alumni team, which included a couple of our high school students. So I came over, and automatically joined a competitive environment as an athlete. So, it was completely different than what I do now. But it wasn’t a great amount of time to form and develop relationships as similar to what you would do in coaching. So that was my first experience. And, Stuart was the coach.
– So we went to nationals that year, and did well. And then, you know, fast forward six years later, I’ve had that experience of working collaboratively with Stuart too, to develop strong relationships, and safe structured, and supportive practices together. And yeah, I think developing as part of the ICEF rugby coaching team has been key, because of the mission. And it’s not necessarily, I’m sure and Stuart we’ll talk more on this, but it’s not about preparing, you know, hyper competitive athletes, it’s about developing leadership and building character, through wellbeing.
– Right. And you mentioned emotional intelligence earlier.
– And that’s something that when we talked, that’s something I noticed right away. Because, as we know, not everybody can learn and evolve, unfortunately. Or at least not at the same level of speed or understanding. And so, certain things, unfortunately, you have to be, and then you can expand on them. But, talk to me a little bit if you can, about your … How you see emotional intelligence? And how you bring that, to not just your coaching, but how do you then transfer that knowledge?
– If that makes sense.
– No, I know, I learned, I think, like I said, from a mentor, it was watching her, like Emma Hayes and how she used it at a high level.
– Used it with professional soccer players. And also through my own life experience, of having to, figure out life and relationships and situations where, you need emotional intelligence to, learning to communicate, or learning to listen, like be the one to shut up and listen. And actually as Grace mentioned, really carry, different ways that you can get on side with, the players that you’re coaching. And I actually noticed it really well this year. So I was in the classroom teaching virtually, through COVID. And I have five classes at the high school, and it was quite normal for some of the rugby girls that I coach, to stay after class. And I’m completely comfortable, talking about adversity that they were facing, challenges at home, stuff that was demotivating. And, I think emotional intelligence, they now realized through, I think just the trust that’s been built up over the last, number of years, that that’s something that you need to have to be able to connect with another human being, whether it’s men or women. And I think, emotional connection is key to that.
– Right, right, absolutely. No, exactly. Well, thank you. It brings I think a little bit more perspective, when people hear these different, as Grace says, you know sometimes these buzz words, but then, when we explain them with concrete examples, it connects better with people listening. And so now, if we go to Stuart, so you know, Stuart – rugby, it’s not ping pong. So, we’re going to assume that it’s a rough sport, because it looks rough when you look at it, being played on the field. And I’m going to assume that the training, it kind of connects with that as well. And so when you’ve experienced throughout your 13 years of professional rugby, but the previous years also, I’m sure as just training amateur rugby, how do you reconcile basically the friction between the old school coach, and what you’ve seen, and how you were brought up as the best player you could be. And then how you are now, you know this very positive, healthy, motivational coach? And so, how was your transformation, your evolution? You know, what are your key moments that you crossed? You know, tell us a little bit about, basically how you transformed from living the harder… The harder model… into becoming the new and improved a future model?
– Yeah, that’s an important point, because To realize the coach that you are, when you start out, just like the player you are, the person you are isn’t necessarily the coach you’re going to be, you know hopefully it’s not, that you’re going to grow. And I think everybody when we start coaching, we emulate those people that we really admired. So if there’s like that tough love, and that’s what they did for me, and I responded to it, then I’m going to give back that tough love, and think everybody is going to respond to that the same way. But, it’s like your previous panel said, and I think Grace might’ve meant, everybody’s different. Some people are responding differently, and sometimes you’re doing triggers, and kids are responding in a way, and you see that, and, you know I didn’t know why they were acting that way, you know? And, so like, the other thing is, like when you start out coaching, you want to be in control, you want to feel like you’re in control of the situation. So often being in control, is being controlling. So that’s, I think how I was as a younger coach, also as a teacher too. And then, you develop over time, and getting to know the community, getting to know the people, and learning more about what they’re experiencing, what they’re going through, how they’ve been coached in other teams that they’ve already been… What the coaching culture, and the player culture, is in the community that you’re in, because it’s not the same everywhere. It’s not there’s one American coaching culture, and that’s what we all do. It can change from sport to sport, from location to location, and just how the community works, as a community. So, there’s all these differences, and you need to be sensitive to that. So, I guess I was forced to be sensitive to it, in order to improve, if I wanted to improve. One big thing, I think the biggest first change, and I’m thinking about this now, was a book I read, from Rod McQueen, the great Australian international coach. This is another person who changed who he was from a coaching centered coach to an athlete centered coach. And he talked about changing his approach. He talks about doing it with his team, and he also talked about it for the company that he ran. And just empowering the people around you. So, first of all, like Lisa on this panel, like I was looking for a Lisa, it was a miracle that she came along. I was looking for a female rugby coach who was younger, and, you know, it was going to bring a wealth of experience, on with her. And that’s, who we found in Lisa, and it was really wonderful. So, she was transformative. So building out our team, and that I’m not going to be the center of it. So, now it’s having all these other assistant coaches, or kids that we taught. Some kids that we’ve known since elementary school, so now they’re coaching. So it’s another person too for the athletes to communicate with, and understand.
– But you’re clearly building a succession plan.
– Exactly, I’m building a succession plan, but it’s also building a team. So that to realize when we’re talking about students, when we’re talking about traveling, when we’re talking about challenges, the season, COVID, it’s a group discussion, it’s an ongoing discussion. So that together, including with the athletes, the high school athletes, we’re making decisions together. And that they’re empowered to know that, you know, in the film that you’re watching right now, when we’re going through Fiji, and rugby is really rough. So talk about an interesting culture. Like in Fiji, they just play very aggressive rugby, they love it. You know, that full body, physical expression, is an honored thing, and you have to meet it. But at the same time, they’re like the most compassionate loving people, simultaneously, so you’re experiencing these things at the same time. We’re getting crushed on the field, and now they’re making us dinner.
– Yes, and they’re putting flowers around your-
– Yeah, exactly. Music, singing, dancing- we love you! And we’re going to play rugby now, watch out.
– And after one of those games, I was talking to Lisa about it the other day. And the girls were pretty shocked. They had the shock and awe experience. And I went to the captain and I said, “What do you think? Do you want to play this next game? Do you think the girls are up for it?” And the captain said to me … Who’s now joining our team, she just graduated from Cal, a couple of weeks ago, she’s now coming on board with us. But as a captain in high school, she said to me, “I think the girls have had too much right now, and they need a break, I don’t think they’re up for it.” And at the time, I was thinking, hmm, she’s not being tough enough, she needs to be tougher on the kids. I didn’t say that to her, what I did was I listened to her, which showed a lot of growth for me. ‘Cause normally I’d be like, “Nah, get your jerseys on, and go out there and play, tough it out.”
– But I was like, “I’m going to listen to her.” I raised her to be this … I didn’t raise her, I encouraged her-
– To be a leader, and to have a voice. And she had the courage to tell me, “I don’t think we should go out, for this next one. You know, I don’t think the girls are ready for it. Like they were traumatized, from the previous game.”
– Yeah, yeah.
– And when I look back on it now, and me and Lisa would have talked about it a lot at the time, and ongoing. When I look at it now, it was like that captain has such a strong voice right now. She became the captain of Cals Woman’s rugby, now she is a captain. And I think that was part of it, was like listening, like really listening. Even at times when you think like, I don’t know if I agree with that, but Lisa has a strong opinion about this, or the captain, or the students have a strong opinion on it, got it, that’s part of my evolution. Okay, I’m going to trust them, and we’re going to go forward with this, because they’re being strong about it. And, I often think, they’re probably smarter than I am. So, I always-
– Well, you chose them.
– for them.
– You chose them to be with you, and you wanted to strengthen your team. And so now you have to let go a little bit, and let them make that decision, and then, yeah.
– Exactly. And to build that community of trust. And like, somebody in this panel wrote about, how do you talk to coaches? Well, you talk to them. Like I need to listen to the parents. You know, like that’s part of getting to know the community. Now they’re not telling me how to run the coaching sessions or anything like that. But they’re letting me know about what their kids are experiencing. You know, how they’re growing, how they’re dealing with the season. I want to listen to that, because they might give me something that’s going to make for a better community. They often do. And just by listening, you’re building community, because as long as … As soon as people feel like they have a voice in what’s going on, then they’re empowered, and it’s our program you know, it’s ours, we’re building it, we’re shaping it, this is who we are. So, building that culture, that’s been the biggest growth.
– Exactly. Yeah, no, that’s great. And then I see like Grace shaking your head, and nodding, like yeah. The voice is important, and connecting the community together, and getting everybody’s information, et cetera. Lisa, did you have something you wanted to add to that? To that specific thing?
– Well, I think Stuart mentioned everything, yeah.
– Okay, I thought I saw your hand go up, sorry. All right. So, basically, we listen to your experiences, and how you’re building your team here, and Grace’s project on this compassionate coaching. But you know, the theme of this conference is, you see it, you stop it. And so, at the end of the day, prevention is key. Because prevention will stop it before it happens, right? So then we don’t have to deal with it. Fortunately, we’re not yet at this stage where, we just focus on these amazing prevention things, and then everything’s hunky dory amazing. But, and so, I think I want to tackle a little bit, the other part of see it and stop it, which in my view is, the response, and the crisis response, and the adjudication, and the dealing with this stuff. So, how do you report? How do you adjudicate? How do you sanction and how do you service victims? So, you know, basically, from Grace’s point of view, if I can ask Grace to share with us, what do you think should be in place, you know, in addition to this positive healthy coaching environment to ensure a safer place? I know that you have a ton of stuff to say about that. So, you know, go all out for us.
– Well, I don’t know if you have enough hours for this.
– Well, exactly. Okay, let’s keep it in a very effective list for the audience.
– Yeah, so I’ll try and hit as many points as possible. So just to give context to that question, I wanted to talk about a global study that was recently done in 2021, that found that 61% of athletes reported having experienced one form of emotional abuse, at least once in sport, 37% of athletes experienced one form of physical violence at least once, and 13% of athletes experienced one form of sexual violence, at least once. So there is an incredible opportunity for us to be able to not only prevent, but also to respond to the survivors who are coming forward with their stories. And, overall, the last statistic that I would like to share is that, 69% of athletes felt that their best interests weren’t at heart, of sport. And I think that’s heartbreaking to me, because sport is supposed to be positive. It’s supposed to help you grow as a person and a career, but it’s also this amazing experience that we all get, like it’s part of humanity. So, taking a moment to let that sink in, right now, there’s so much opportunity for reform. And realizing and acknowledging that the child, and the human, should always come before the athletes, and everything that we do. So I think prevention is key. But I think, what we should also be taking note of is accountability. So how do we create systems, and processes, and policies, that are in place already that address, how an athlete reports? And how the institution responds to a report? That should be written. That should not be something that is just hearsay, or something that was mentioned once. That needs to be written down in policy, as well as the repercussions, for not following that policy. The next thing that I really want to stress is education of athletes. There’s a recent study by Child USA that found that over 90% of athletes, did not understand where to report, if they experienced anything harmful in sport. And so, that fact blows me away because although we have all these statistics of 61% experiencing emotional abuse, they don’t know where to go, when that happens. So having-
– Even if it’s a reportable event?
– Exactly. So giving them the education and the language to use in order to report. So, I guess two points, first to Rebecca’s point. The language to use in order to report, is super incredibly important, that education part. But then second, where to report? How to report? That should be a process that’s written out. That should be a process that’s an education moment. Annually, every couple of years for those athletes, so they understand where to go. If they do experience something, based on those definitions that you have written out. And then if somebody does not follow the process for when they do receive a report, then there should be accountability for those people as well. So, I’ll stop now. but I could continue.
– Yes, no, no, it’s a great start. Definitely, putting things in, I like to call them buckets, and they’re also all connected, right? So have the process laid out in documents, accessible, implementable, the right people to educate. So people know what they’re looking at, where to look at, where to go, all that stuff, super important. Simple thing, you know, not bring surgery. And yet 90% as you say from that Child USA study, not knowing where to go, or even maybe what to report on. So, lots of work to do. And so I want to then pass that on to Lisa. So internally, at ICEF, do you guys have this kind of organized remedy, you know, recourse, how are you organized, when it comes to that? So –
– So, ICEF wide there are mandatory trainings, that we have to do in advance of the academic year, every year. And, I think even with ICEF rugby, we try and build a culture, that is safe, and structured that supports like Grace mentioned earlier kind of predictability. So that supports kind of growth and learning of our players on the field. And then also, I think the relationships as well we place a huge focus on developing strong relationships, so that if there are students that are experiencing, or experienced trauma, that they do feel like they can approach us to have those conversations. And I actually, this was a couple of years ago, I read an incredible book by Bruce D. Perry, it was called “The Boy Who Was Raised as a Dog”. And it inspired me to find out more, because I didn’t feel like I was getting enough information on … There wasn’t enough information. So, we actually brought over a fantastic woman from Boston. And her name is Megan Bartlett, from We Coach. And she provided this outstanding training on trauma informed coaching and teaching. And outlined ACEs, outlined trauma, and outlined the kind of the effects on the brain, and the strategies and tools that coaches and teachers could use. And also a lot of our alumni coaches were involved as well with ICEF rugby. So, again, it’s yeah, providing the education, and then also the tools and strategies to use, in the classroom and on the rugby field.
– And this is education for not only the coaches, and the people around the coaching, but also the kids, the athletes.
– Yeah, yeah. So we had physical education teachers, we had that coach rugby, we had the high school coaches, and we had alumni coaches all involved, yeah.
– Okay, and let me ask you this. So, as an administrator, you know, myself in a sport, and sports organization, do you have at the school, and within all your schools a way where, if there’s an issue, if someone sees something, they can stop something? And so, do they know what rule they should follow? And, who they could go speak to-
– [Lisa] Yeah, yeah.
– When those types of things that Grace mentioned, the policies-
– That’s in their-
– That’s in their-
– Schools, yeah, that’s .
– Okay, okay. And that’s you educate on that as well?
– Yeah, as part of the Summer Institute every year, –
– I see.
– It is incredibly important that everybody completes-
– to be ready for it.
– Yes, yes. No, that’s great. And so, you know, moving on now to because you’re very community oriented and I’ll ask Stuart this question because you have multiple, I understand there’s multiple actual physical buildings right? You have multiple schools. And so, there has to be a sense of community that’s even greater, when it comes to the response, to the crisis response. You know, we heard from the panelists earlier today, and they’re from the Avalon Healing Center in Michigan. And what they do all day every day is, they’re there for victims of sexual abuse throughout everything, not just a sports specific thing. So, in the community Stuart, do you guys have, like external partners, kind of memorandum of understandings with, I don’t know the local police station, and maybe the prosecutor’s office, or maybe — the center, a crisis response center for sexual violence, and things of that nature. Like, did you guys create what they call a coordinated community response?
– Well –
– Or not yet?
– Well, we do because we’re as schools. As schools we’re-
– You have to have..
– We’re mandated to report. I’ve done that, I’ve had to do that in the 22 years I’ve been working here, I’ve had to do it numerous times. So, it’s just something we have to do with social services. There’s like a pathway to follow, it’s…
– We’re not the only ones doing it. It’s manifesting itself in the classroom, and drama, and you know, performing arts and everything. It’s coming out when something triggers it, it comes out. We have a really… We started and embraced the MIND program at all our schools three years ago. So we’ve improved our counseling at all the schools. So there’s sort of this pathway that they can follow. And then if it becomes more, like they need more than what we’re providing, then we can help-
– The families or the students to what they might need. So there’s like a whole kind of social services, side to things.
– I see, I see.
– But that’s really interesting like about getting the students more informed on these issues? So that’s something we instituted, a few years ago. So, and Lisa’s a part of that, we provide training for the kids. And it might be instead of a practice that day, where we’re working with a sports psychiatrist that comes in. We’ve done different things, we’re working with it each year to provide different opportunities, for the kids to be more aware of like the whole social element, and what they might be going through. And, also like becoming more empathetic to each other, and more supportive of each other. Because you never know what kids are experiencing, and what they’re currently going through. It might be homelessness, it might be abuse, it might be suffering from some tragedy that happened within their family, that they’re not openly sharing. So, that’s something as a school we’ve worked … As a group of seven schools, we’ve worked hard, to provide more support for students to, you know-
– Right. More support.
– But something that you have to do, and it’s surprising, because I coached for quite a few years before I came here, and I never had to deal with the amount of things, and the kind of things that I’m dealing with now. Like incarceration, like murder, like different forms of violence, abuse, things like that. So, you grow in your ability to, I don’t know, be more sensitive to the situation-
– Yes of course.
– And triggers that might set things off.
– Oh, and I think knowledge is power. And, information helps you, and you never know how you’re going to react to something you don’t know or don’t understand. So the more information you have, the more knowledge you gain, it cannot go wrong. Yeah, you know, there’s a lot less chances of a negative impact being over here, with more knowledge, than a negative impact with zero knowledge. And so let’s put all our chances on our side, and then let’s increase the knowledge sharing, and the information sharing. So, like you say, they were better equipped. And it’s very important what you mentioned about, being the athletes around each other. There’s multiple studies out there that talk to abuse in sport. And that also reflect on abuse between teammates.
– And that’s a non-negligible-
– Right, right.
– It’s really non-negligible item. And when we look at the big tough sports, the boys team sports mostly, with the hazing going insane, like in the military model, you know, that’s a big thing to watch out for, and to make sure that there’s limits and lines. And so, before we go into the Q and A, and I’m looking at the time, and I’ve been told that I can extend a little bit to, about by 15 minutes. So, we’re just going to go … You know, that next question that I want to ask was, about actionable change, and the implementable community oriented and trauma informed programs Because we know the statistics, we talk about them all the time, it’s been harped on over and over again, and I’ve been saying this for a great number of years. Okay, we got it. Yeah, there’s a problem. Now, what do we do? And how do we do it? And you guys are amazing, because you’ve already started this thing. But I’m going to start with Grace to see what her thoughts are on, how do we transform the lessons into action? You know, so Grace, if you want to kind of wrap up your thoughts for that, that’d be great.
– Yeah, so I think firstly, I want to emphasize taking the accounts our own responsibilities, to hold our communities responsible. We have the power to create accountability. And one voice really does create that change. So, taking on that responsibility yourself, to be that person who spear heads responsibilities of those environments in which you live, and work every day, to create better environments for those you serve, and those athletes, those children that you serve. And second, I think it’s really talking about trauma informed. What does that mean? Actually defining it, really diving deeply into how you can create better environments. And one of those ways, is through the compassionate coach program. So, if you are interested in learning more, feel free to go to our website, thearmyofsurvivors.org sign up for our newsletter, we’ll be sending out more information about it, as we pilot in the next couple of months here.
– I must do for sure. Great, great point. thearmyofsurvivors.org right? Grace?
– Correct, yes.
– All right, thanks so much. Excellent, excellent. No, it’s important, knowledge is power. And so, Lisa, tell us what … How do we do more? How do we implement more and continue your growth, over at ICEF?
– And I think it it’s very similar to what Grace mentioned. I think it’s so important to understand the community that you’re serving. So when I came over from London, I had to, do a lot of research. I had to, myself and Stuart where were working together, but I had to read, I had to find out what was culturally appropriate, what was… and ensure cultural sensitivity exists. And then, almost assume that every child or participant in your group has experienced, or is experiencing some sort of trauma and approach the situation from at lens. And I think just, you know, just having the perspective of that trauma informed issue right now is important.
– Right, it’s huge. And, you mentioned a little bit in your previous comments, and I didn’t go back on it. But just to make sure the audience picked up on that, you were talking about the impact of trauma on the brain, the impact of the adverse childhood experiences, which is the ACEs. And as I told you guys you being in California, are extremely lucky to have a surgeon general who lives in breathes ACEs basically, and which is the short for Adverse Childhood Experiences. And there’s amazing resources out there the ACEs Aware, website and they do webinars, and they’re training the entire medical community in California. So, that that’s going to have a very big impact on treatment, on understanding issues. You know, Grace mentioned at the beginning. I had these inexplicable reactions, and pains, and headaches, and I’m like, “Yeah, they’re explainable.” But you know, she didn’t know, and the people around her didn’t know But they are explainable. And so, I think what you guys are doing introducing the ACEs knowledge, and the ACEs training, and, basically the entire holistic trauma informed approach is key. It’s going to be … It’s a game changer. It truly is a game changer. I’m so excited to see how you’re going to see that. And, if you’re going to be able to tell us in a year, or in two years, how you’ve seen the impact happen. And, so I’ll ask Stuart, do you have anything to add from Lisa’s perspective in terms of what you guys should be actioning in order to continue your positive growth?
– No, just, I really enjoyed listening to what Grace and Lisa had to say about that. And I’m in complete agreement with them And just like something Grace that you have to … I mean, I’m going to give you an example. I do I to have … Like I have a child who’s playing competitive sport. And you think everything’s changed, but things haven’t changed that much. And you’re going to encounter in every sport like as a culture she plays softball in Southern California, it’s incredible. Softball in Southern California is like rugby in New Zealand. It’s so competitive, from an early age. And they’re going for those D1 scholarships, and they’re out of school and they’re into clubs. So we’re in the clubs sports scene, which is a whole another animal, and a whole another discussion on the changing of what sport’s about in America, especially for youth. And when they get into that culture, right? Which is very old school again, and those people managing those clubs, and they run it the way they’re going to run it. That’s often why they’ve left the little league, or other league so they can have their own run it. And we’ve seen, experienced abusive coaching that was going on, within the team that my daughter was in. And, it’s just finding the courage to speak to the coach, speaking to the league as a whole and not putting up with it Like that’s not acceptable, and it might be to somebody else’s daughter. Like there might be abuse to somebody else’s daughter, and people don’t know. Well, maybe this is acceptable, I want to be a part of this team. This is the path. No, it’s not acceptable. And you can speak up, and if they’re not … First of all, that person needs to grow, maybe they are, but there’s something there and they need to grow as a coach, and nobody’s ever told them, or they haven’t been told it enough. But I can say that as a part of myself, you know like people are telling you, ” No, it’s too much on the sideline. You’re too much on the sideline.” You’re thinking, well, this is what motivates my kids. I know them better than other people do. But you keep getting comment from people, like it’s not working, that’s not the right approach for our children. For me, it was seeing myself on film. Honestly, it was seeing myself on film.
– [Rebecca] Sure. And then when I saw myself, and I didn’t like what I saw, and that was a game changer for me. That’s not the coach I want to be. Or that’s not the coach who I thought I was.
– Yeah, that’s a really good piece of Intel. Grace, you need to take note of that. Compassionate coaching, practical training, do a film, and then assess your performance as a coach. Yeah, okay.
– Another coach told me that. He told me to watch myself on film, and he said that’s what he had been doing. He would just, getting himself filmed at practice. He told me that’s what in New Zealand, that’s what they were doing with a lot of coaches. Filming and showing it back to the coaches, and then you really see who you are
– When you train, you have a huge part of the training is do the videos, especially when in individual sport. Do the video, and then analyze every single freaking thing you do.
– Yeah, and do a lot yourself.
– And you analyze everything, you analyze yourself, and then introspection is really good. So, I think that what you just mentioned is an amazing segue into this very important question that we need to have your take on, which is, where’s the line? How would you describe that line? The invisible one? That is just between the tough coaching, and the abusive coaching methods. So maybe we can start with Grace on that, if you have something to tell us.
– I’m sure you do.
– Yeah. Of course I do.
– Of course.
– Simple to me, is that tough coaching did not cause trauma, or retraumatization, and abusive coaching does. And I think as coaches this becomes scary, because it’s a little bit unknown. Like what we don’t quite know exactly what is going to cause trauma, what’s going to retraumatize. But that’s where that line of communication is so important and key with those athletes is having that open feedback, having that time of reflection, making sure, and adjusting as you go. I mean, we’re not perfect. And there may be times when we do trigger athletes, or we do retraumatize on accident, it’s important to address it, to figure out how you’re going to, not do that again, and adjust.
– So talk to your athletes, understand them better, understand if there are triggers, and what motivates them. And that’s a good discussion that-
– You can pick up with my friend I connected you with the other day.
– [Grace] .
– He’s the man. So Stuart … Or Lisa, sorry, I’m going to start by Lisa and telling us, your view on that line, between tough coaching, and abusive coaching? I think that’s an important question.
– How I see myself right now, is my role as a coach, over the years and how I’ve developed. And it’s really about enriching the lives of your participants and of the players that come through ICEF rugby. And there are different approaches that you can take. And it’s up to you to figure it out how to … I think there was a question earlier, I think Darren asked, How do we get the best out of the players or athletes?” And it’s figuring it out. and it’s trying out different styles, and it’s observing best practice, and it’s seeing what works, what doesn’t work with different people. And luckily, when you have that that culture that’s created, and the foundation is there, that will support the development of socially, emotionally intelligent participants. And then, on the rugby field as well.
– And that’s really interesting because you talk about individual styles, and differences. But you’re in a team sport, and that wouldn’t be the automatic people say, “Oh, it’s a team match.”
– Yeah, I think … One thing that I have learned is, and this is from Emma Hayes. She actually considers her players on the field like different types of cars, you know, a Ferrari might need more attention-
– Yes, oh, I love it.
– A Ford Focus, might need, you know, … She said she didn’t have some of her players numbers in her phone, so she would just leave them. So there are … And that’s what I meant one, with different approaches. And I think that’s what I’ve learned a lot more this year as a result of like, there’s more need in the community now. And that you did that social and emotional connection with another … With some of our players is key as well is to facilitate their learning and growth by giving them tools to self-manage, and giving them tools to self-regulate.
– [Rebecca] Right, right.
– ‘Cause that’s what’s going to … Those are the the essential coping mechanisms that you need as a human to function, I think. So you’re either adding to their trauma or you’re not. And you’re being intentional about how you’re supporting. And like I said, individual players or a team as a whole.
– Right, right. No, I love that. That’s the talking about the transferability of the skills. And so many people say, “What you learn in sport, leadership through sport, then you can become this thing.” Yeah, that’s great. But if you have it done the right way, if you know how to translate, and use that, and actually transform it into the real world, right? And so, I think those are really important pieces to repeat. I’m going to repeat, you said self-manage, and self coping, and self-regulation, basically giving the tools, and empowering these athletes into having these coping mechanisms, so they can then use that in any area?
– On a regular basis as well, you know?
– [Rebecca] Right, right.
– And then part of our rugby practices, we do it all the time, in different ways. And when I was teaching virtually, I had an intentional SEL check-in with students. And it was an opportunity-
– Social and Emotional Learning check-in, yeah.
– So it was an intentional part of their day that they could, like, if there was something on their mind that they could respond to a question that required reflection, engagements.
– Right, right.
– Because you don’t provide that intentionally time for students, or players, or whoever you’re working with to share, then they don’t have the opportunity. So they have everything on blank, it’s going to boil all over at some point.
– Right. Right. And that’s really interesting, because I’m looking at the comments now at the same time here, hang on. And, I’m seeing some some comments on this tough coaching. So, Darren mentioned, “Tough coaching, I thought was old school. And so, making them do those sprints, and not working hard in practice, and basically giving them yelling a little bit, et cetera.” Yeah, and JP, so Jean Paul making comment here. I think that’s interesting. Basically saying, you don’t need to have so much structure in coaching, you have to let it also, if I’m understanding right, the adaptability to the uniqueness of the individual, and what works for them, and what doesn’t work for someone else. And I thought, my experience as an athlete, I’ve seen that, between coaching men and women, there was a huge difference. You know, you couldn’t criticize too much the women, they were already hammering themselves on their own, no need to add, but the boys were very different, and the motivation, they needed something a little bit more extroverted and you saw the girls were completely different as well. And so it’s that uniqueness that you talk about but back in those 90s, 2000s when we were athletes, our coaches were not necessarily adapting to that. It was more like, this is the square, I’m going to put you in here, and this is how you’re going to do this. So Stuart, do you have something else to add between what Grace and Lisa said to add to this, defining or recognizing that line? Or how do you differentiate tough coaching to you know?
– Every coach is different, and you have to be true to yourself. So, I mean, you’re going to grow, and you’re going to develop, but you have a character, and character traits, and that you expect an athlete as a dancer, as a performer, as you know anything. And you have to be true to yourself, even though you’re going to grow. So the way I coach is very different from the way Lisa coaches, but we’re coaching together. What’s interesting about our program though, is like, Well, I’ll send Lisa over to coach the boys. So like our kids are used to being coached by women and men in rugby, which is really awesome. That’s transformational for the group. And that’s something that they really love about it, is because the girls team and the boys team, they travel on the bus together, they go on tour together. We create like this big co-ed unit. So, and just all of us are different from each other. So, that’s something that’s recognizable and acceptable. I want to say something about what Grace said is that, you’re going to have moments where maybe you got triggered, some kid triggered you, and then you lose your temper, and you feel like it’s like, they’re doing it all the time. Why is this happening?
– Like you’re children, they know .
– Exactly, exactly. So I think without being abusive, and being open to communication, you also need to give yourself grace. That’s the one thing I wanted to say to the panel. Like the one thing I wanted to give away, is that I’m not the coach now that I was 20 years ago. And that also, I need to give myself like, Look, abuse is not acceptable at any level. But you have to give yourself grace and room to grow. You’re going to make mistakes, just like the kids are going to make mistakes.
– Right, right.
– You’re creating that environment where it’s safe to make mistakes, that’s how we grow. It’s safe for the kids. You don’t want them so tight, that they’re wound up. And we’re all going to mess up in the game, that’s what happens. And then we have, you know, successful moments.
– A debrief.
– Yeah. And then afterwards, as a result we do reflection sessions. It’s something that we often do. So that’s where the kids are talking about it. But as a result of COVID, we trained every Tuesday and Thursday the entire school year for most of it was online. And then, we trained the last day of school. And we started during COVID, at the end of our online workouts, we would have a reflection session, and there would be a subject, and every kid would speak to that. And oftentimes it was light, and sometimes it was serious, the election, what was going on, you know everything that has been going on, COVID. Different things that these kids are … Maybe that’s the place where they’re going to talk about it., because they might not be talking about it, at home. So it became a safe place for… Like, everybody looked forward to the end of training, where everybody, we would go around and we’d popcorn. And everybody would say something, even if it was a small thing or something. And then, you know, kids are more expressive, over time. And it’s just become a habit, we kept it going once we got back to live training, I don’t know if we’re going to keep it in next year after each session, but it just became therapeutic for us to be able to, not for everybody, for the coaches, because we were all dealing with the trauma of this year that we’ve been going through, and so much. So, people can communicate with each other safely, is just a vital thing.
– [Rebecca] Huge, huge, yeah.
– Yeah, and like that’s coming from a guy who was a really tough coach and was used to, you know … So we’re not going to be the same people that we were so long ago, the players aren’t going to be the same at the end of the season, I’m not going to be the same. We’re all going to be touched by a journey, that we share together.
– Right, exactly. You have to come with that open mind, open heart, and then understand that it’s a journey. The destination is really further along.
– I mean, that’s the really big point Rebecca though, is like why are we doing this coaching? Is it to make a … Are these kids going to become like ballet dancers for the Met? Or are they going to become good human beings, that have this wonderful experience? Hopefully, through their teenage years, because most kids and girls in particular quit sports, because they no longer relate to it, it’s no longer fun, and usually because the expectations of the coach or the parents do not meet the expectations of the girls. I can talk about anybody. They might be the best player on your team and maybe they will dance for the Met. But the main reason when they’re 14 year old, that they’re there, is because they want to make friends with somebody else, and have a positive social experience. And through those social experiences, that’s how they grow emotionally and socially, right?
– Right, right.
– Rather than they become a professional athlete, or they become a lawyer, or a great parent, or a good friend. The longer we keep them in sports, the better they’re going to grow, when we have the attention of that growth. So that’s our role is to keep the kids active, and keep them involved. Not wanting to-
– [Rebecca] Keep them motivated, right? You have to-
– Keep them motivated. Filling their tank.
– [Rebecca] Keep them motivated. Yeah, exactly.
– That’s . Emptying your emotional tank through the session, or we fill your emotional tank through this session.
– And we have to at it that way, that practice that I just had was that motivational, are they coming back? Are they looking forward to the next one? Or are they walking into practice like with dread in their eyes, because we’re going to be punished, or we didn’t play well, and now we’re going to do, like somebody mentioned sprints, that’s the worst. Like sprints, I mean, we’re, we’re doing sprints because we want to be fitter. ‘Cause we want to-
– Sure, sure. Yeah, yes, yes.
– Be stronger not-
– You’re doing it-
– Because we’re being punished, because we didn’t do well. Or any form of, you know … Yeah.
– Well, because that crosses that line. The line of … You know abusive coaching-
– In the practice, or in the feedback, and the debriefs, or on the field of play, it’s about psychological abuse, or physical abuse., ’cause that’s really all that can happen in those instances. But it’s that repetitive, and it’s like using the completely insane things of dehydration, or zillion pushups, or run around the track, like you’re going to fall in, and then there’s kids who die. So, you have to be intelligent and smart. So, I think that I really liked how you guys all had like a little different way to address that, and to define it. And, I think that at the end of the day, that line does not… You don’t want to cross that line, because you are going to focus on building the people up, looking and doing that check-in of that social, and emotional thermometer or barometer, like where are they at and refilling their tank, and being there for their growth in a positive way, giving them skills that they can transfer into into real life. And that’s that to me is as concrete, because you know you guys are right there on the ground. So you’re using concrete terms and concrete actions, because that’s what you do, you’re transforming it. This means these actions, not these actions. And I think when John Paul here mentions, more geared towards caring coaching, the passionate coaching that process oriented, rather than the very astringent and in a box coaching. And that marries well with what Grace and her partners are going to be working on in that compassionate coaching education. So, we’re coming to the tail end of the…. session and of the panel. We, we did go a little bit over, but I was told that that was okay, ’cause we’re the last panel of the day. So that’s always, you know … This is the nice spot to pick, note to self. So I don’t know if you, if Grace, or Lisa, or Stuart if you have something that you want to say, like to wrap up, and have a conclusion, like a little bit of a summary statement, Grace if you have something, I’ll let you guys do that, and then I’ll just end it for us.
– Yeah, I think my summary would be empowering athletes to have their own voice using education as a tool to allow those athletes to have the resources that are needed in order to report, and to create accountability in your organization. And then really, understanding the power that you have, as an educator, as a coach, to create those positive environments and to recognize, respond, and resist retraumatization in the venues that you work in today. And, thank you all for coming, and connect with us on our social media for The Army of Survivors.
– Thank you Grace. Thank you. Lisa?
– Yeah, so just to reiterate what Grace mentioned earlier, I just feel as for me professionally, I just feel so connected to the kids when I view my role as enriching their lives, in whatever way that I can. And, that just happens to be as an educator and as a coach. And then, also I think Darren asked, getting the most out of athletes, I think because I’m a current athlete myself. One of the things because I’ve been in classroom, and this year has been … I’ve seen myself as kind of an inspiration for the players and the girls that I coach to do whatever it is that they want to do, whether it’s playing on the field, playing at the highest level. And I see your most empowered when I’m playing. So, that automatically, something that you want to share, and encourage as well. So, yeah, it is a privilege to be in a coaching position, and as an educator, and I’ve learned and grown a lot, as a result of specifically and most recently with trauma informed coaching. And it’s definitely something that I consider regularly, and how I approach situations and conversations, because it’s hugely important.
– Well, yes, yes, thank you. That’s awesome. Stuart, do you have a little conclusion for us?
– Yeah, just like, I was a little apprehensive about, you know, being a part of this panel, because it’s so sensitive subjects, it’s like it’s deep. And I often feel like a like a bull in a China shop when I’m dealing with stuff. And, I’m just like, I want to … But I’m really big on like, get involved. If you care about youth and you want to have an impact, like do get involved with coaching, it’s so rewarding, especially when you’re done playing, or even when you still are playing. It’s just the most rewarding thing to see children grow. That’s the best part of being a teacher and being a coach, is watching them grow. And if you’re lucky, you’ll get to know them when they’re adults, and see that growth, and then you see them sharing with others, that’s the beauty of it. Like that happened for me, like that happened for the others on this panel, that we’re sharing, what we’ve learned along the way, and it’s really, really important, that kids are involved in different activities. That’s how they grow, that’s how they enjoy life. And then they turn those passions, that they had for those … That they had when they were young, and they can be passionate in life afterwards, about other things, that they can move that passion forward. So not to be afraid to get involved, you know get involved, but you’re going to grow as you get through it. So, I guess I keep repeating myself. So that’s what I wanted to say.
– No, no, a actually you don’t, you’re adding new things every time. And, I think it’s great. You guys touched on, all the important things. At the end of the day, being a coach is, not only a privilege I think Lisa, but also a huge responsibility. And you have to take this seriously, and you have to learn, and educate yourself. You have to understand the people you’re working with, the environment you’re in. You have to learn about yourself, and be constructive, the same way that you want to be for the athletes you have in front of you, and with you, you want to be, and you must be for yourself. And so continuous education, learnings, growth, et cetera a huge thing, and very important to keep that going. And so, I want to thank you very much for your time, and your thoughts, and your knowledge. Most importantly, your expertise with your lived experience. This is really very valuable. And, that’s something that I know we want to put a lot of emphasis on when it comes to our organization with the Spirit of Trust is, the lived experience expertise is tremendously important, and it’s like gold. And you need to understand that, learn from it, and and have more of it. So, I just want to wrap up and let the audience know, first of all, thank you so much for taking your time today. If there was any questions that came up in the chat, that were not answered, I know that the team at the foundation has kept a record of that, and that we’ll address those questions, either tomorrow or if there’s any other way to do that. But my understanding was that tomorrow at the last session, all the questions unanswered will then be resolved. So, thank you so much for everything. And, tomorrow join back at I believe it’s the first session. 11:00 am, a great session. You talked about accountability for enablers and institutions. This is the panel to listen to. You’re going to hear a Professor Amos Guiora, from the University of Utah. He’s a lawyer by trade. He’s an author, wrote a book called the Armies of Enablers. And his next mission in life is to bring accountability to enablers. You know, those people who retraumatize you, because they don’t want to deal with your issues. Yeah, those guys. So, he’s an amazing person. And he will have also with him, Jonathan Vaughn as a former NFL player and survivor, talking with him. And the last session at 12:15 Pacific time, with the resources. Thank you so much. And everyone have a great day.
- Grace French – President and Director of Communications & Research for The Army of Survivors
- Coach Stuart Krohn – Director of ICEF Public Schools’ Student Leadership Academy, Rugby, and Sailing and member of the SoCal Jewish Sports Hall of Fame
- Coach Lisa Finegan – Rugby Coach and Teacher at ICEF’s Public Schools
- Moderated by Rébecca Khoury, MBA – Founding Director of The Spirit of Trust, President & CEO of the MAKO Corporation
Every coach knows we are more than just “coaches.” We are mentors, educators, friends, and strategizers. A coach can be one of the most influential people in a young athlete’s life. How we respond to athletes in times of stress can totally shift their outlook for the rest of the practice, game, or even season. There is a fine line between tough coaching and abusive coaching.
Including positive, trauma-informed coaching techniques in our playbook can be transformative in team culture. Athletes on our teams may come from troubled backgrounds or have traumas that can impact their well-being and athletic performance. This session explores the concept of positive coaching and provides techniques and tips on how to build positive team culture.