Coaches Steer Teen Athletes In The Right Direction
Jan 18, 2016Posted by james
A new initiative in New York is aimed at educating teens about safe driving. The tie-in to athletics is that the program encourages coaches to discuss proper driving habits with their student athletes.
“Coaches Care” is a partnership with the Governor’s Traffic Safety Committee and schools across the state. As many of us know, coaches can have a significant and lasting impact on student athletes. We also know that first-time drivers require as much proper adult engagement that reaches beyond parents.
As part of the program, informational posters have been placed throughout the state’s schools. Coaches also received talking points to help generate the conversations that can dovetail with discussions about underage drinking and driving. These talks will lead to additional discussions about texting while driving and all the other distractions that can occur in a car driven by a teenager.
As another extension of the program, frank talk also will lead to discussions about a proper healthy diet to support athletic performance and open up dialogue about the substances – drugs, alcohol and steroids – that harm the body.
I know what it was like to be a student athlete with a driver’s license. I was on top of the world. I turned out okay and so did my teammates, but I am glad to learn that coaches now can be more engaged to provide our children with additional guidance as they get behind the wheel of a car.
Here are a few “Coaches Care” tips. I hope these are useful to those of you who coach our young athletes.
· Include every member of your team – players, coaches, managers, parents and fans – in the discussion to ensure not only a winning season but a safe one.
· Include information about adhering to highway safety laws in your team’s code of conduct. Explain the penalties for non-compliance. Secure buy-in and support from the school administration.
· Meet with team captains and assistant coaches to review the basics of driving safety and the text in the team’s code of conduct. Make it clear that coaches and captains will be expected to serve as role models.
· Attend a parent or booster club meeting prior to the start of the season to review the basics of driving safety. Stress that their sons’ and daughters’ safety, both on and off the field, is a priority.
· Regularly remind players and parents to make provisions for transportation if games or practices require driving between 9 p.m. and 5 a.m.