Young people need access to resources that help them make smart decisions and commit to a bright future. Having access to a trusted adult — a mentor, coach, counselor, or even a non-parental family member — can make a big difference in the decisions young people make about sex.
Parents can be the last people whom teens want to talk to about sex with, but trusted advice from someone with life experience is a valuable asset.
It’s important to create an environment where young people can ask questions without judgment. Sex education in a classroom can be an intimidating environment for students to ask questions in front of their friends. Young people instead can be more honest in a one-on-one setting.
So, it’s important for trusted adults — like coaches — to be available to answer those questions. Here’s why:
Coaches are already mentors for many young people, especially boys.
A lot of athletes respect and admire their coach, and young people typically have a very close relationship with them. Coaches are at a different level than other adults in young students’ lives; they’re not their parents or their teachers, and they help kids be better at the sport they care about. That’s why many young people look up to their coaches and view them as mentors — this especially goes for boys.
Being a mentor is one thing, but being a good one takes a lot of hard work and dedication to having good character and morals. Coaches are often the ones that a lot of young people talk to about difficult subjects when they don’t want to bring their parents into the picture, so coaches should be comfortable with answering sex-related questions and be equipped with accurate information to give their athletes.
Coaches also have the opportunity to teach boys about more than just sports. Coaches can teach players a lot of life lessons that stick with them even after the season is over, so why not teach them some sex ed too? This can especially be beneficial to boys because of the stigma of locker room talk.
Stereotypical locker room talk can have a negative impact in many boys’ lives and teach them inaccurate things about sex, consent, and responsibility. Being aware of this as a coach, talking to players and giving them accurate information can turn the negative locker room talk into something more productive and positive. This also is beneficial because it gives players a man-t0-man conversation from a person they look up to and respect.
Coaches still need the sufficient resources to teach sex ed successfully.
A lot of schools double PE teachers and coaches as health teachers, and oftentimes the classes end up being useless because the coaches weren’t provided with the right kind of information to teach the class. Many parents aren’t fans of PE teachers being health teachers, and while sometimes that can end up negatively, if the teachers have sufficient information then the classes can be impactful.
Coaches have a great opportunity to teach students accurate information about sex because they are already mentors in many of their students lives. If they have the right resources and the facts, then sex education can be successful in helping young people make better decisions regarding their health and bodies.
With that being said. coaches don’t have to know all the information. They just need to teach with the right attitude and connect teens to the right resources. Here are some helpful resources for coaches and teens: