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How To Help Youth Become Their Best: A 6-Step Framework

by Dr. Joseph Carlini


Administrators, teachers, coaches, and parents are all interested in the success of youth in their care. They share a common desire to see participants in school, athletics, and clubs succeed. And success has a rather simple definition…to accomplish something. Because of its simplicity, success can represent numerous meanings and create confusing interpretations.

Success can be tangible and measurable through statistics, grading, and scoring systems, and intangible and unmeasurable through life skills, special roles, and emotional growth.

Success can be immediate through a single event, competition, or performance, and delayed through the course of a season, year, or school career.

Success can be individualized through personal achievement and collective through group performance and cohesiveness.

Whether through school, sports, or clubs, all youth and adolescents deserve the opportunity to experience a positive, authentic, and genuine relationship with success regardless of the stakeholder’s personal conceptions. 

The COTISE Model is a solution that provides any stakeholder the framework to teach, coach, and develop youth and adolescent students, athletes, and club members with meaning and purpose. The cornerstones of the model are represented in six themes: communication, ownership, team, individualism, self-advocacy, and empowerment. These are the critical assets that will prepare our youth and adolescents to become global ambassadors and world leaders (or do we say …prepare our youth to become their best). 

The COTISE Model was named after a geometrical figure which is basically two lines running closely parallel to each other that never cross. A cotise perfectly describes the stakeholder-individual relationship in experiencing success. Administrators, teachers, coaches, sponsors, and parents must allow an individual to learn and experience the six themes on their own path, while traveling parallel in support and presence, but never interfering or interjecting. 



Open the lines of communication and invite conversation. Everyone has the right to be heard. Model and promote healthy and respectful 2-way conversation. Conversations are intimate and meaningful because a concern exists. Treat each conversation with passion and care. Be mindful of the lens that each individual sees through.


Embolden individuals to develop critical thinking skills to make decisions. Allow opportunities for the freedom of choice to occur. Challenge individuals to champion their actions and decisions through accountability. Reflect together in celebratory experiences or consequences of growth.


Praise selflessness and altruism. Create the narrative of being one functioning unit. Build up every piece of the whole with equal and caring attention. Commend each individual’s value, contributions, and sacrifices. Feel triumph and failure together. Acknowledge and share negative, self-fulfilling thoughts so they can be reconstructed into positive motivations.


Encourage individuals to be who they are. Celebrate the uniqueness, personality, and identity of each individual. Highlight the positive traits that complement the team. Find opportunities to let individuals express themselves within a team environment. Inspire exploration and self-discovery. Synthesize the collection of personalities to create a memorable one-of-a-kind team.  


Develop the courage and fortitude in individuals to share needs and express feelings. Applaud the bravery it takes to initiate difficult discussions about sensitive topics. Commend individuals for standing up for themselves with passion. Encourage and educate healthy and positive strategies for peaceful and appropriate self-advocacy.


Trust and believe in individuals. Instill the confidence and strength needed to face adversity head-on. Place individuals in situations where victory or failure will occur. Witness grit. Allow the struggle to transform into resilience. Applaud and praise individuals who problem solve and conquer challenges.

Dr. Carlini has been involved in public and private education for over 20 years as a teacher, administrator, and coach. His professional education and experience have led him to become a valuable leader and resource in the field of education and athletics.