League of Fans Announces Campaign to Promote Humanistic Coaching Education Programs
Ralph Nader announced today that his League of Fans project is beginning a campaign calling for coaching education programs that promote humanistic coaching styles as an antidote to today’s autocratic coaching norm — which continues to predominate at all levels of sports. The announcement came in conjunction with the release of the League of Fans’ third report from its Sports Manifesto. The report is titled, “Sports World Needs More Humanistic Coaches.”
“We’ve been conditioned in this country that coaches – from the pros down to our youth leagues — have to adopt a Vince Lombardi coaching style: treat athletes inhumanely, and motivate them by force and fear,” said Nader. “That notion is archaic and barbaric. Our sports culture needs to evolve from the dark ages and transition to more humanistic coaching styles that enhance the overall sports experience for athletes while still striving to win games.”
Ken Reed, sports policy director for the League of Fans and author of the organization’s Sports Manifesto, said the commonly held belief that coaches need to be the stereotypical no-nonsense, kick ‘em in the butt, drill sergeant type of coach to be successful is a myth.
“The research shows that if you find a task fun you’ll perform better,” says Reed. “Studies link happiness and satisfaction with higher performance. The belief that coaches need to scream at players and treat them in a degrading way to win is not true. Sadly, it’s an ingrained part of our sports culture. If coaches in this country took more of a democratic and humanistic approach to coaching we would have fewer athletes dropping out of sports in their teens and happier, more satisfied athletes at all levels.”
Nader said John Gagliardi, the very successful head football coach at Saint John’s University in Minnesota, should be a model for all coaches, not Vince Lombardi or Bobby Knight.
“John Gagliardi is the winningest coach in college football history and one of the most humane as well,” said Nader. “He doesn’t carry a whistle or yell and scream. He has almost no physical contact in practices during the week, so his players are healthier and ready to play on Saturday. No blocking sleds, no wind sprints. His practices are limited to 90 minutes. Players love coming to practice and almost all of them graduate. He develops his athletes in a holistic, democratic, and humanistic way — and his teams win. He’s a positive example of what’s possible in the world of coaching.”
Reed said the problem of overbearing, sometimes tyrannical, authoritarian coaches is especially troublesome at the youth sports level where a win-at-all-costs (WAAC) mentality hinders the development of the whole child.
“Research has shown that a mastery approach to coaching gets the best out of athletes,” said Jim Thompson, executive director of Positive Coaching Alliance and author of the book, The Power of Double-Goal Coaching: Developing Winners in Sports and Life. “I am very supportive of League of Fans’ effort to eradicate win-at-all-cost coaching, especially for high school and youth athletes.”
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Sports Forum Podcast
Episode #17 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: Talking Sports With Legendary New York Times Sports Columnist Robert Lipsyte – We chat about Lipsyte’s amazing career and some of the athletes he covered and got to know well, like Muhammad Ali, as well as his relationships with fellow sports journalists like Bob Costas and Howard Cosell.
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Episode #16 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: Andrew Maraniss: Outstanding Author of Books That Focus On the Intersection of Sports, History and Social Justice.
Episode #15 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: Talking Sports Psychology with Dr. Tim Rice. We discuss the growth of sports psychology at all levels, the positive impact that a number of high profile athletes have had by opening up, and the importance of everyone involved in sports caring for the whole athlete, mind and body.
Episode #14 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: Making Sense of the Injury Pandemic in Major League Baseball – Gary McCoy is a strength, conditioning and high performance coach who has worked with several Major League Baseball organizations.
Episode #13 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: A Conversation With Long-Time MLB Exec Dan Evans About What’s Right With Baseball and What Could Be Better – Evans is a former general manager for the Los Angeles Dodgers and is currently a consultant for Go the Distance Baseball, which owns the Field of Dreams movie site.
Episode #12 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: A Fun Chat With Dan Gutman, Author of the Baseball Card Adventure Series for Kids
Media"How We Can Save Sports" author Ken Reed appears on Fox & Friends to explain how there's "too much adult in youth sports."
Ken Reed appears on Mornings with Gail from KFKA Radio in Colorado to discuss bad parenting in youth athletics.
“Should College Athletes Be Paid?” Ken Reed on The Morning Show from Wisconsin Public Radio
Ken Reed appears on KGNU Community Radio in Colorado (at 02:30) to discuss equality in sports and Title IX.
Ken Reed appears on the Ralph Nader Radio Hour (at 38:35) to discuss his book The Sports Reformers: Working to Make the World of Sports a Better Place, and to talk about some current sports issues.
Sports & Torts – Ken Reed, Sports Policy Director, League of Fans – at the American Museum of Tort Law
League of Fans is a sports reform project founded by Ralph Nader to fight for the higher principles of justice, fair play, equal opportunity and civil rights in sports; and to encourage safety and civic responsibility in sports industry and culture.
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Ken Reed’s Author Page on Amazon