The final and most significant realisation that evolved through the production of Conscious Coaching is our own vision for the role of committed coaches and what it can become. Whilst this is foremost a book about the development of athletes in a sporting environment, its deeper objective is to illicit positive change within our society.
Is social reform the responsibility of the local football or basketball coach? Perhaps not formally and in most cases, not consciously, but the vehicle that sport provides and the influence a coach can wield add up to opportunities too valuable to restrict to a few innovative visionaries any longer.
Consider this: Each one of us affects the individuals we interact with every single day. The quality and quantity of that affect is not so much determined by our ‘coaching’ ability as by what we bring to the relationship as human beings (knowledge, principles, attitudes, mood, emotions, intentions) and the nature of the relationship itself (professional, intimate, enduring, momentary, superficial, open, inspirational, co-dependant). As individuals charged with intentionally influencing others, our responsibility to understand and optimise these interactions is great. To remain ignorant of their broader impact is both irresponsible and unacceptable.
We need not only learn to coach better, but also better understand the enormously powerful position sport holds within our society. As central figures within its functioning, it is time to realise that the choices coaches make can impinge on the lives of participants to a profound and sometimes staggering degree.
“An athlete I had just started coaching, who was 17 and had been playing for about a year, was helping out his school by coaching the junior girls team. He had NO coaching experience. After one of the first trainings he became a confidant to a 13 year old girl he had coached twice. She was terrified that she was pregnant and went to him for support and advice. In the end, it turned out that he was able to explain that you couldn’t get pregnant by kissing” – Alexis Lebedew
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