Coaches & staff lead workshops for female athletes

Peyton Donaldson, Assistant Entertainment Editor

This spring, Girls Varsity Soccer Coach Hayley Howe organized leadership workshops for female athletes in order to build engaging conversations.

As of February 24, Coach Howe has led and constructed workshops for younger female athletes to expand and bring more awareness to necessary discussions.

She explained, “Most of my education as a female athlete has been through trial and error. They say experience is a great teacher, but learning lessons as a teenager can be difficult without healthy channels. As an adult, I try to be the coach I never had, so these workshops are a way to provide a safe environment for players to have guided discussion on topics like abuse, body image issues, and leadership.”

These workshops emphasize nutrition, confidence, self-care, and becoming positive influential leaders on and off the field. All contribute healthy and positive attributes to these young female athletes.

It is vital to bring all perspectives for better clarity and recognition. Other staff members, such as School Counselor Tenecia Crawford, Varsity Girls Lacrosse Coach Laura Seifert, and School Nurse Stacey Quigg, will communicate and take part in these conversations.

Ms. Crawford said, “There is a need for our female athletes to feel safe and empowered in their chosen sports, and with that, we present information on how to establish boundaries for their own protection and safety. When you’re not aware of certain situations, you tend to become a victim to the predator.”

These teachings bring much attention to young athletes and are ways to approach situations to build a solid and loving community through sportsmanship.

Ms. Crawford added, “I want the female athletes to establish their power and know that they are strong, brave, and heard.”

Many of these discussions involve crucial and fundamental information to recognize specific interactions with coaches, such as how to avoid certain situations, how to handle these situations, and what to do when a teammate or peer is involved. Reporting and understanding the relevance of significant events are essential to all athletes.

The skills taught can be used for any outside or non-school related instances. During the workshops, athletes are provided with explanatory and instructional scenarios with strategies to oversee these instances, such as “Learning the ABCs,” which stands for Awareness, Boundaries, and Communications.

Senior Elise Robinson commented, “In every situation, I have learned to trust my gut and to surround myself with people I genuinely trust and don’t have a weird feeling about.”

Many athletes left with an open mindset and plan to apply their knowledge to manage and control boundaries on any topic necessary.

Junior Julia Ward added, “These workshops will let me know what is abusive to me towards what is actually helping me improve athletically and in school.”

Not only is it imperative to understand these workshops, but it is important that student-athletes feel comfortable speaking with and fostering a strong team of female leaders in their community to help, guide, and support them.

Coach Howe explained, “I think these workshops will provide a sense of community and awareness. So many times, we think we are alone in how we feel, or we lack the courage to ask questions to our parents, coaches, or another trusted adult. Having teachers and counselors guide athletes through scenarios and share strategies should open the door to having these important conversations.”

The workshops started piloting with the girls varsity teams and are in a trial period, but organizers are hopeful to facilitate interactions and communications seasonally and towards a male audience in the future.