Preventing Abuse in Sports – A Mental Game Perspective

I am very pleased share with everyone and to be a part of the Athlete Safety Alliance (ASA) training and education program on abuse in athletics. This organization develops online training programs and risk management services designed to protect athletes and sports organizations.

Over the past year the media have covered numerous abuse situations in sports with football being the most visible. Before this past Fall the Scott Berchman and his partners founded this organization as an educational and preventative approach to abuse in sports. Their programs are unique in that the messages come from coaches and athletes (as well as mental health and legal professionals) and are directed at other coaches, athletes and sports program administrators.

Their programs cover sexual, physical, verbal, emotional abuse as well as hazing. The videos are top-notch and professionally produced. The United States Olympic Committee has endorsed their programs and refer their member sports organizations to ASA for educational and preventative purposes.

I’m proud to be a part of that educational programming. Abuse from coaches can come in many forms and is not always the most obvious. The subtle abuses can be just as insidious and harmful to the emotional well-being of athletes. I address the broader perspective of how coaches – and sometimes even parents – are emotionally abusive in their efforts to “win”. I address the use and the abuse of social comparison, peers and peer pressure. I also address coaches public demeaning and verbal abuse of athletes, coaches breaking confidentiality by sharing private information with team members and more.

ASA is looking to interview – anonymously if desired – athletes who have been subjected to abuse by coaches. If you feel you have been in an abusive sporting environment – please contact ASA. Scott Berchman has assured me that if you choose to contribute to their work, you can remain anonymous.

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About Dean Hebert

I’m a mental game coach, author and speaker. I work with individual athletes, parents, coaches, and teams on sports performance enhancement. Beyond my academic post-graduate work in sports psychology - the psychology behind athlete performance – I am a certified Mental Games Coaching Professional (MGCP) and certified hypnotherapist. I’ve authored several books and hundreds of articles. “Coach, I didn’t run because…” (2008) is a seriously light-hearted look at making excuses not to workout and how to overcome them. “Focus for Fitness” (2009) and “Screw the Goals Give me the Donut” (2010) are two of my eBooks on mental game approaches for the everyday athlete. I wrote these because I believe that everyone can benefit from the powerful mental techniques that the world’s best athletes use. I have been cited in Runners World, Best Health magazine (CN), SWEAT Magazine, and the Washington Examiner amongst many other publications. I have been a featured mental games coach in Runner’s World and for the internationally acclaimed trail running resource - trailrunningclub.com. I also regularly appear on sports and fitness talk shows such as LTKFitness, Runnersroundtable and for more than three years I have co-hosted a weekly video series with Coach Joe English for Running-Advice.com. I specialize in mental toughness training. My clients include tennis, synchronized swimming, golf, race-kart, soccer, motocross, volleyball, MMA, cycling (road, off-road, time-trialist), running, duathlon and triathlon, basketball, football and baseball athletes. I have coached world-class athletes and athletes internationally. I have a passion for working with youth athletes and helping them apply mental game skills and techniques to all areas of life. Most importantly, my aim is to have people enjoy sports and life to their fullest through peak performances.
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