A recent article in the Chicago Daily Herald told of a coach who had abused a wrestler 40 years ago and to date, nothing has been done at the state level to help prevent it from happening again. This occurred in Illinois, and the Illinois High School Association has not yet put any guidelines in place. When asked about creating policies to prevent sexual abuse, the response from the IHSA was, “That is up to each school” (Chicago Daily Herald, 2016).
Our strong suggestion is, DO SOMETHING! Sitting around waiting and hoping that nothing inappropriate happens is not good risk management, it’s Russian roulette. Here are some good ideas that may help your youth sports organization:
- Create a culture of best practices for your organization. This could be in the form of a policy for travel and one-one-one interactions between coach and child.
- Be proactive. Don’t wait for something to happen. Screen your coaches to make sure you don’t mistakenly hire any pedophiles or convicted felons.
- Get your coaches some basic education. Remember, many youth volunteer coaches have little to no coaching experience. Give them a foundation for success.
Many organizations out there touch base on some of these issues, so go find one. Better yet, get your coaches trained at www.trustedcoaches.org. Here you will find a full array of offerings that will help to screen coaches and get them the training they need. Once a member, you will have access to our Coach Resource Center that can help your organization create your own set of “Best Practices” to help you prevent bad coaching and screen for violent predators. Just DO SOMETHING!