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Walinga on line between coaching and bullying athletes
In her interview with the Times Colonist’s Charla Huber, Royal Roads Prof. Jennifer Walinga says that it “It can’t only be about a gold medal" when it comes to high performance coaching.
Here is an excerpt:
Walinga mentioned a survey Athletes Canada conducted where 20 per cent of athletes reported experiencing sexual abuse in sport and a whopping 65 per cent of athletes reported psychological abuse. Abuse can never be justified, and with more than half of our national athletes being mentally abused, there is clearly a problem.
‘Youth sports have a lot of abuse and it comes from coaches, parents and even other players,’ said Walinga. ‘Abuse affects an athlete’s confidence and sense of self. This can occur when a coach bullies players, doesn’t allow them to do things other players can or criticizes the player’s size and shape.’
Walinga believes there’s a better way to ensure coaches can be tough, but fair and respectful. She wants coaches of all levels to have mandatory mentors and sanctioned training that involves a values-based approach to sport. Walinga is working on a research project where she studies high-performance teams and interviews athletes and coaches to establish how a values-based approach to sport and coaching is being leveraged for success.
‘It can’t only be about a gold medal,’ Walinga said. ‘We’re owning the podium, but we can do that and still be safe and ethical.’
Read the full story in the Times Colonist.