by Eric Oslund
The ISD Leadership Academy is having a special guest on Friday, Feb. 3, in the Elk River High School Zabee Theater at 6 p.m.
Rob Miller, a member of Proactive Coaching, will be speaking with a number of high schoolers during the day about what the role of a student athlete is, as well as the characteristics of a captain. Then, later that night, he will be hosting parents and coaches to talk to them what their roles are in the kids’ sports.
“Studies have shown that kids listen to coaches more than they listen to parents and sometimes teachers because we’re also spending so much time with them, sometimes more than the parents are,” said Jennifer Bartlett, Elk River gymnastics coach and the one whose idea it was to put on this event. “So we want to make sure that we understand, as a whole, what our impact is on these students and how we can make a bigger difference in their lives. Positive reinforcement. Still have structure and leadership, but have that respect of what’s your role. I’m the coach, you’re the athlete, you’re the parent and respect each one of those. Everybody has a phenomenal role to play that can impact a student athlete positively or negatively.”
Bartlett has been watching Proactive coaching on Facebook, and reading their pamphlets they provide for a while now, and has been incorporating their teachings into her own leadership program. She said that it has re-energized her as a coach, after doing it for 25 years, and it really reiterated why she does what she does.
Another reason why Bartlett and so many others feel events like this are important for parents and coaches to attend is because it can be a way to help change the culture that has been developed among youth sports. There have been multiple times where she has gone to an event and heard parents talking down about a child for the other team, which is not what youth sports should be about.
Instead, she believes everyone should be supporting the kids on both teams as they continue to play the sports they love.
“I know we can’t change a culture overnight, but I know we can plant the seeds,” Bartlett began. “There are just some really bad stuff going around in youth sports right now… we should be cheering with each other and not so much ripping on the other school, ripping on other coaches, ripping on other athletes.”