The manager for the San Francisco Giants, Gabe Kapler, and Suzanne Sillett of Coaching Corps joined PCA's National Partnerships and Marketing Manager, Marti Reed for a great webinar conversation on sports, racial justice and how coaches can support their teams. It was an engaging conversation that provided numerous high-quality takeaways from our guests. Here are the top ten tips from this outstanding panel:
1. As a coach, you want to be flexible, empathetic, reasonable, and be someone who asks a lot of questions in order to understand a player's perspective.
2. Having each other's back on a team is so important. Not only for a role player on the bench but also for the star of the team. The best players are inclusive by asking for the opinions of everyone on the team, from the first batter to the last in the lineup.
3. "We need to ask ourselves, 'How do we use our platforms to make the most possible change?' That doesn't mean we don't have the responsibility of other action steps away from the field to do good work. But we do have this spotlight, we do have these cameras, we do have these reporters who do want to ask us about these instances after the game." - Gabe Kapler
4. "As a coach working with young people, it's really demonstrating and modeling that sometimes you have to be courageous and stand up for what's right. I think by modeling that I am able to support any kid from any background in the sense that I am trying to work with them and hear them and share with them and hopefully lead to demonstrate what I'm hoping is a better place for our team, our kids, our communities and our country." - Suzanne Sillett
5. You also have to be careful of players that aren't totally comfortable talking about these topics yet. You shouldn't force anybody to talk about topics they aren't fully understanding or forcing them to protest when they aren't fully comfortable with the potential backlash. Everyone is different and you have to be empathetic of that.
6. "Listen to understand, not to fix." -Suzanne Sillett
7. It is important to talk to your children about these topics in an appropriate, but effective way. Try not to filter and shield any information from your children. If you're feeling like you don't know all the facts, then that's fine. The most important thing is you do everything in your power to learn as much as you can so you can get it right in the future.
8. "Diversity is very important on a coaching staff. It is critically important when it comes to direction setting, decision making, policy setting, and things of that nature. We build a staff to reflect multiple perspectives."
9. "We want kids to see coaches they know they can become when they grow up, so they need to look like them and really need to aspire to that." -Suzanne Sillett
10. Constructive criticism is a valuable part of positive coaching. If you are always pumping a kid with positive feedback in the wrong moments then they won't buy it. It is helpful in their development to point out things they should be working on to improve.