The University of Northern Iowa and the Iowa High School Athletic Association have partnered on a new program that aims to help young male athletes better deal with their emotions.
According to the NBC affiliate in Des Moines, the new program, called Coaching Boys to Men, is a free and voluntary two-hour workshop that trains coaches with high school and youth athletes in all sports on how to approach subjects ranging from gender violence to bullying and hazing.
"It's a leadership program that teaches young people how to be responsible and hold your fellow teammates responsible and coaches to interact with players on those issue," said IHSAA Assistant Director Chad Elsberry.
Among other tools, the workshop provides play cards to help coaches with speaking points on violence prevention and how to spot situations that might occur in the locker room or on bus rides.
"Introducing and having these 15-20 minute conversations throughout the course of a season, for example once a week, at a team meeting or could be the night before the game,” said UNI Center for Violence Prevention Director Alan Heisterkamp.
Elsberry says he hopes the program helps those who take the course understand the impact of their words and actions. “If you start working with those young people in terms of language and words and that they do have meaning and impact on their community and fellow teammates and fellow classmates, it can make a big difference," said Elsberry.
The workshops will be held in different locations in Des Moines, Waterloo and at the University of Iowa throughout the month of October.