For Coaches: How to be Trauma Sensitive & Responsive in your Coaching
Young people today are exposed to a variety of situations that may induce trauma.
Play Like a Champion provides the following information to help coaches understand trauma and to respond to trauma and its impact on today’s youth. This page includes several downloadable resources for coaches on this critical topic.
Many coaches might think they do not have athletes who have experienced trauma in their lives, but the statistics point to large numbers of young people experiencing challenges that can induce trauma. Look at these statistics on trauma and the types of trauma that are experienced by young people:
Once coaches are aware of the prevalence of trauma in young people, they can learn how to recognize common behaviors in athletes that may manifest following trauma.
The most important point is for coaches to recognize that they can and should do something to help athletes with trauma. Coaches can be responsive in a number of distinct ways. Please take advantage of these techniques:
Review these documents and be prepared to recognize and respond to trauma as a coach of youth or adolescents. These techniques will make you a better coach and assure the athletes on your team have the best experience possible.
Additional Articles, References and Resources
Edgework Consulting. Sport for Healing: The Case for Sport as a Medium to Foster Healing from Psychological Trauma. (2019)
Bergholz, Lou; Stafford, Erin; D'Andrea, Wendy. (2016) Creating Trauma-informed Sports Programming for Traumatized Youth: Core Principles for an Adjunctive Therapeutic Approach
Edgework Consulting and Up2Us. Sports, Sport & Trauma Playbook
National Center for Mental Health Promotion and Youth Violence Prevention, Childhood Trauma and Its Effect on Healthy Development (July 2012)
JAMA Pediatrics, Violence, Crime and Abuse Exposure in a National Sample of Children & Youth (May 2013)
Kilpatrick DG, Saunders BE. (1997). Prevalence and Consequences of Child Victimization: Results from the National Survey of Adolescents. National Crime Victims Research and Treatment Center, Medical University of South Carolina
Finkelhor, David; Turner, Heather; Ormrod, Richard; Hamby, Sherry; Kracke, Kristen (October 2009). Children's Exposure to Violence, a Comprehensive National Survey. Office of Justice Programs Juvenile Justice Bulletin.
Bell, C.C. & Jenkins E.J. (1993). "Community Violence and Children on Chicago's Southside." Psychiatry, 56 (1): 46-54.
Building Resilience in Children and Youth Dealing with Trauma, Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services
Resources from the Substance Abuse & Mental Health Services Administration
Do you coach or parent a young athlete who you suspect has experienced some trauma? Dr. Carrie Hastings, Psy.D. is available to answer your questions through a CONFIDENTIAL email helpline. Email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
*Dr. Carrie Hastings is a licensed, clinical psychologist based in Los Angeles, CA and is an independent consultant supporting PLACES. No contractual, therapeutic relationship exists with those who exchange emails with "Dr. Carrie." Feedback will be offered as it relates to current literature and practice, but no formal treatment is to be provided. Both Dr. Carrie and Play Like a Champion disclaim any liability directly or indirectly related to any email discussion.