As a coach, you have an important responsibility to your players. Every word they hear influences them, and they are looking to you as a role model. Bullying and harassment frequently occur outside the classroom or on athletic fields. Part of your responsibility as a coach is to erase an unacceptable dialogue that is disparaging and harmful to youth. The goal should always be to provide a safe, respectful, positive, and competitive environment for all athletes.
Coaches can help create an environment of inclusion by teaching their players to:
- Always give the same level of respect to everyone.
- Never tolerate derogatory or belittling language between athletes.
- Listen and display empathy to all athletes.
- Respect any assistive devices, such as canes or wheelchairs, and always ask before moving assistive devices.
- Remember that some disabilities may not be easily noticeable and can be hidden, such as dyslexia and Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder.
- Be considerate of the modifications to the game or the extra time athletes may need.
- Games, and sports in general, are to be played for fun.
This article was provided through the Positive Coaching Alliance partnership with USA Baseball.