Tip of the Month – June

Coach Monika Says…

Signs Of A Good Youth Coach

1. Help athletes to learn “life lessons” through sport


2. Listen to athletes’ thoughts and opinions

ids communication illustration

3. Develop a positive rapport with athletes


4. Support, encourage, motivate and inspire athletes


5. Work together to set individual and team goals


6. Help them to understand there is more to sports than just winning


7. Win and lose graciously (coach and athlete)


8. Encourage athletes to be the first to arrive and the last to leave the training


9. Show respect for officials and never interfere with judges/referees


Are Sports Under Moral Attack by Liberal Academics?

Academics Claim: Dodgeball Harms Student Players!

I was actually working on “gender and female coach mentorship” for the June Newsletter when I received this bizarre article over the Internet and US Fox News, USA. 

Yes, coaches, get this! The play/game and physical activity of dodgeball that many of us most likely played during our school years or in our neighbourhood is under attack although the game has been a gym class staple for generations. For some, it is the highlight of the day but for others, it is “an anxiety-inducing activity calling it legalized bullying,” according to UBC professor Dr. Joy Butler. No game seems to rouse the passions of reform-minded educational progressives quite like dodgeball, a team sport in which players throw balls at each other, trying to hit competitors, and banish them to the sidelines. 

Thousands of academics gathered in Vancouver, BC for the Annual Congress of the Humanities and Social Sciences, June 1-7. A trio of education theorists argued that dodgeball is not only problematic, in the modern sense of displaying hierarchies of privilege based on athletic skill, but that it is outright “miseducative.” Really? Dr. Butler argues that dodgeball also encourages students to aggressively single others out for “dominance and to enjoy that dominance as a victory.” What? According to Dr. Butler, the games children play in schoolyards are “famously horrible, if you stop and think about them.” Tag, for example, singles out one poor participant, often the slowest child, as the “dehumanized It”, who runs vainly in pursuit of the quicker ones. Capture the Flag is “nakedly militaristic.” British Bulldog has obvious “jingoistic colonial themes.” Red Ass, known in America asButts Up” involves the “deliberate imposition of corporal punishment on losers.” Really? Is this funded academic research or just an opinion?

Players are Human Targets?

Dr. Butler recounts the story of a girl in elementary school running to the back of the gym and hiding from her classmates to avoid getting hit. “She is being hounded, said Butler. What is she learning from that experience?” Butler believes the game teaches kids to avoid their classmates rather than engage with them and says there are alternative activities educators can opt for, activities that don’t teach kids “it’s OK to actually victimize other people.” Some American schools have even banned dodgeball, but Butler said the game shouldn’t be played in schools, and start paying attention to kids cowering in the back rather than catering to their classmates “with the loudest voices”, who take pleasure in “picking off human targets.”

Dodge Ball Equals “Murder” Ball?

Stephen Berg, an education professor at UBC Okanagan, said he grew up loving dodgeball – a game his teachers called “murder ball” – but “changed his tune” when he became an educator. “In schools we talk a lot about kindness, empathy, compassion, and citizenship,” said Berg, who finds those terms “go out the window” in the gym. “It’s almost contradictory to what we are trying to demonstrate in schools,” he said. Berg knows the anxiety that dodgeball can induce from his daughter. He said she is “a great human being but not that athletic”, and when she leaves a gym class after a game of dodgeball she “feels ashamed that she is not contributing.” Berg acknowledged that other kids love and excel at the game and that it is a chance to release energy, but he disagrees with the notion that kids should “suck it up or toughen up.” He said mental health is a serious concern these days for youth, and telling them to toughen up “just doesn’t fly anymore.” Berg agreed with Butler that a variety of alternative, more inclusive activities could be substituted for dodgeball.

According to Josephine Mathias, National Post, Canada (video): “These congresses are safe places for opinion writers, who masquerade as researchers to present an exchange of ideas in an academic bubble.” So, what is next? Attacking any sport we play? It is not enough that children and youth sports have to bow under pressure that a) everyone has to participate, b) there are no winners and losers, and c) everyone has to receive an award! This approach does not teach “lessons for life” as society has traditionally argued but it has resulted in a “coddled whiner” generation hovered over by “helicopter” parents who protect their children even to the point of College/University admission scandals to secure entry to their favoured school. Now, dodgeball is no longer a physical activity or game played in school gyms or schoolyards, but is a physical attack on teammates!


Let’s examine the nature of dodgeball: 

Modern dodgeball may be based on a game first observed in Africa about 200 years ago, where players threw rocks at each other with the aim being to injure and possibly even kill other players. Defending injured players while trying to retaliate taught teamwork, endurance, and hunting skills. Missionary Dr. James H. Carlisle saw them playing this game and returned to teach at St. Mary’s College, Norfolk, where he transformed the dangerous African game into a safer game with a leather ball instead of rocks. In 1884, Phillip Ferguson of Yale redesigned the game with a faster pace like modern dodgeball. In 1905, he returned to America and wrote the first official rules. American colleges started playing each other and the sport grew rapidly into what we now call dodgeball. 

Dodgeball is a team sport in which players on two teams try to throw balls and hit opponents, while avoiding being hit. The objective of each team is to eliminate all members of the opposing team by hitting them with thrown balls, catching a ball thrown by an opponent, or induce an opponent to commit a violation, such as stepping outside the court. The sport is played informally (in schools and pick-up games) under varying rules, and formally as an international sport under rules that vary among international governing bodies, such as the World Dodgeball Federation (WDBF) and the World Dodgeball Association (WDA). The National Dodgeball League is an organized league in the United State.

Duane Wysynski, Head of Dodgeball Canada is coming to his sport’s defense in the National Post: “Inclusion is at the very heart of Dodgeball.” Asked in an interview, he had this to say (citation verbatim by Schloder with some modifications, June 4, 2019):

…For some, the word might trigger painful childhood memories of being pummelled with a ball by the most sadistic kid in your class while your gym teacher looked on. Others might think of the 2004 not-Oscar-winning movie Dodgeball. It’s a bit of a source of amusement in the community because our community is actually made up of a lot of people who have moved into our sport from more mainstream sports where they didn’t necessarily feel included… 

Q: The nature of the sport is to smash balls into your opponent’s body, right? 

…No, I wouldn’t say that’s the nature, to smash balls. Yes, you do throw balls, and the object of the sport is to hit people and to get them out. However, it would be like saying that the nature of hockey is to lay someone out with a hard check, or the nature of football is to hit a crushing tackle. Teams that rely on brute strength are not going to be successful, because trying to overpower someone with a direct throw is almost always going to result in a catch. Our sport focuses on teamwork and strategy. Hitting someone in the toe or picking them off on the hand is always going to be a better way to get an out than to go at someone really hard with the ball. The balls that we use in competition, from youth to high-performance competition, are foam balls. So, they are specifically designed to not cause a lot of pain. It’s difficult to look at any sport and not see that part of the point of the sport is to win or to get better or to improve yourself. What we try to do with dodgeball is, especially for youth, we focus on the aspects of teamwork, strategy, of fellowship within the game, of communication on the court. Winning becomes kind of secondary at that age. I compare it a bit to when you start playing something like Tim Hortons soccer. You don’t even keep the score because the objective isn’t to get the kids to be extremely complex on the field with their footwork and to score a lot of goals. But it’s introducing them to the core mechanics of the sport. It’s introducing them to the athleticism of the sport…

Q: But the concern is that it picks on kids. A lot of the complaints are about the weak kid in school or some kid that gets bullied ends up being victimized in this game. Is that the reality?

…No. I think again it depends on how any sport is taught, how is it introduced. I actually received an email earlier this morning after the reply the rebuttal to the post was printed. The comment was from someone who was in her 50s, and she said one of the things she liked about dodgeball was every little mistake wasn’t put on display. Since there were six balls and there was a lot going on, if she made a mistake it wasn’t on display as opposed to when playing baseball, and it was obvious when she was at the bat if she could or couldn’t perform… (Wysynski, 2019, June 5)

“The world needs more dodgeball not less of it”

David Staples, Post Media, Edmonton, Alberta commented on the dodgeball attack. (citation verbatim by Schloder with some modifications, 2019, June 5). He argues that:

1. Dodgeball is the most democratic of sports

…For a sport that is supposedly so bad, folks sure love it, according to an online poll. A variety of us can at least adequately play dodgeball, which is much more than we can say for most other sports. You don’t need to be rich to excel at the game; don’t need expensive equipment or lessons. No one practices this sport much, unlike most school sports, and everyone is on similar footing starting out. Athletic children do have an advantage but tall or strong ones do not necessarily triumph…

2. It is important to carefully weigh risks

…The game involves lessons on risks and rewards. Rushing to grab a loose ball, or catch an opponent’s throw and thus eliminating him/her are skills entailed in the game. In other words, “hustle”! On the other hand, if a player pushes too intensely, the attempt to scoop or catch the ball can lead to elimination…

3. The best things in life are free

  … The game teaches us about Fun we can have without spending much money. The sport is cheap, cheap plastic balls but it gets the children running, jumping, sweating, and laughing. Where else can you find such “bang for your phys-ed buck?”…

4. There are smart and safe ways to channel powerful human instincts

…The genius of dodgeball is that it is safe but also satisfying.  It is a clever pantomime of the primal activity of hunting. Children get to play act as being both predator and prey, but without any bloodshed. It is important that this is the aspect of the game which seems to offend academics. They argue that is a moral problem because it encourages students to aggressively “single out others for dominance and to glory in the victory of a kill.” How did we get to the point where harmless play-acting is classified as a moral problem? The academics are confused. They inappropriately inject social justice thinking into the realm of games and play, and thus fail to grasp the innate safe-but-satisfying allure of the game, which is so enticing that even indolent children “married” to their video games can be persuaded to play…

5. Authority figures don’t always get it right

…For a long time, headshots were allowed in the game. One could slam the ball into the opponent’s face, which would eliminate, humiliate, and harm the opponent. Some teachers may still allow this but they are wrong now. The lesson here is not that dodgeball is bad, it’s that sometimes authority figures get the rules wrong. In the case of the current debate, the professors are the authority figures. As educational experts, they have the power to influence physical education curriculums for provinces or states. In this case, the danger is that they are being listened to and that schools move forward eliminating an engrossing and healthy physical activity. If this should happen not only dodgeball but other sports will be banned, which widens the gap even more among children. On the other hand, parents who know the many benefits of sports and competition surely find schools or private programs where those values are still emphasized, thus preparing their own children for the robust team play and complex competition of the real world. On the other hand, public schools swept away in misguided socially engineered attempts to reduce imagined victimization won’t prepare students. They will instead “coddle” them – a recipe for failure…  

My reflection on Dr. Butler’s hypothesis

If her arguments have any base at all then any contact sport is oppressive! Take Canada’s favorite past time game of hockey. NHL playoff games recently showed players running into backs of opponents, smashing them into boards, hitting them on the chin and head, and causing concussions. According to Coaching Canada NCCP and Ethical Decision Making and Rules of Fair Play: That is intent to harm! Is it oppressive play, degrading, and dehumanizing? How about CFL and NFL Football? A caucasian linebacker tackling a black receiver, or vice versa – is that now racial oppression and dehumanizing a race? How about Boxing? How about Wrestling? How about Karate and Judo?

Canada’s ParticipAction advertisements regularly on television encourage 45-60 minutes of daily activities for children and youth. Dodgeball can represent all the values discussed with supervision and control by the teacher/coach, in my opinion. The actual issue, however, is that being ejected from the game does very little to enhance children’s physical fitness or activity – unless of course they really “hustle” to avoid such happening! There are enough problems to encourage increasingly overweight and obese children to move regularly. Many Elementary schools lack quality physical education programs, and in most cases, those programs do not even exist! “Free Time” on the school playgrounds usually resembles a “zoo” where children run, shove and push, kick and hit each other! Is that not disrespect for classmates and dehumanizing or bullying? Dr. Butler, have you visited school recess lately in BC schools? 

Many Elementary Schools have removed so-called wall bars because of complaints that they were too dangerous and children could “slip and fall.” Wall bars are safe and have multiple uses if instructors are trained appropriately. In my Calgary neighbourhood schools have removed playgrounds and all equipment! It is too dangerous! Really? Instead of standing around and chatting while sipping from tumbler coffee mugs teachers ought to lead some activities. But that is too much to ask! If the inclusion of trained physical education teachers were to be mandatory there would not be issues in programming. Teachers usually have one-semester of physical activity course experience offered by many education departments, and therefore are not qualified! Nevertheless, the government continues to promote ParticipAction without substantial practical leadership action.

Physical Literacy has been promoted in Canada for a number of years. Balyi, Way, and Higgs (2013) publication: “Long-term athlete development. A guide to developing a philosophy of sport for life; training frameworks; a consistently successful organization” has served as the basis for the Canadian Sport4Life approach with the annual national symposium held in Gatineau, Quebec. Children, adolescents, and adults are encouraged to engage in physical activity with the “Womb to Tomb” approach to foster life-long health, physical and functional well-being. The notion that a game like dodgeball or any other sport activity could be dehumanizing takes away the notion that physical engagement, recreational and competitive sports are played to determine the better-skilled participant, which should motivate the lesser skilled to improve their abilities. 

Growing up as an athlete, who was identified by the age of 12 years for specific sports (swimming and athletics) was based on my involvement in multi-sport recreational activities, providing the opportunity to measure my skills against others. Never in my life have I felt humiliated – instead I pushed myself to do better, get ahead, and strive for excellence!

I strongly suggest that these academics get acquainted with German classical literature and philosophy on the “Nature of Play.” In his “Letters on the Aesthetic Education of Man” German poet, philosopher, physician, historian, and playwright Johann Christoph Friedrich von Schiller (1759-1805) writes: “Man only plays when in the full meaning of the word he is a man, and he is only completely a man when he plays.” “Man is never so authentically himself than when at play. Jean-Paul Charles Sartre, French philosopher, playwright, novelist, political activist, biographer, and literary critic (1905-1980) states: “As soon as a man apprehends himself as free and wishes to use his freedom…then his activity is play.”

By the way, I refuse to replace the usage of “man” – meaning universal mankind – as cited in the original quotes with the “politically correct madness” of using nouns and pronouns that are now saturating our society! The quotes stand as written during those years of enlightenment! 


Brean, J. (2019, June 5). Dodgeball isn’t just problematic, it’s an unethical tool of ‘oppression’: researchers. The moral problem is that dodgeball encourages students to aggressively single others out for dominance and to enjoy that dominance as a victory. National Post, Canada. Retrieved June 5, 2019, from  https://nationalpost.com/news/dodgeball-isnt-just-problematic-its-an-unethical-tool-of-oppression-researchers

CBC Radio (2019, June 11). Profs took aim at dodgeball. Now the head of Dodgeball Canada is fighting back. Retrieved June 14, 2019, from https://www.cbc.ca/radio/asithappens/as-it-happens-thursday-edition-1.5173769/profs-took-aim-at-dodgeball-now-the-head-of-dodgeball-canada-is-fighting-back-1.5170657

Mathias, J. (2019, June 21). Oppressive dodgeball, racialized skiing and other dumb research. Comment Nation: It’s not helpful to treat dodgeball as the next battle in the never-ending quest for civil rights for all. National Post, Canada. Retrieved June 21, 2019, from https://nationalpost.com/opinion/josephine-mathias-oppressive-dodgeball-racialized-skiing-and-other-dumb-research

Paplauskas-Ramunas, A (1968). Development of the whole man through physical education. An interdisciplinary comparative exploration and appraisal. Ottawa, ON, CAN: University of Ottawa Press. 

Schloder-Sublette, M. E. (1975). Natural movement as the essence of man. Journal of the Arizona Association of Health, Physical Education, and Recreation. Spring 1975, 8-10, 20-21.

Staples, D. (2019, June 5). How dodgeball can help, not harm, students today. The Calgary Herald, A9. Retrieved June 5, 2019, from https://edmontonjournal.com/business/local-business/david-staples-the-world-needs-more-dodgeball-not-less-of-it

Watson, B. (2019, June 4). ‘Legalized bullying’: Stop playing dodgeball in schools. Retrieved June 5, 2019, from https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/british-columbia/dodgeball-dangerous-stop-ubc-professor-1.5161403

Wysynski, D. (2019, June 10). Don’t pick on Dodgeball. It’s no more ‘oppressive’ or ‘problematic’ than any sport. National Post, Canada. Retrieved June 10, 2019, from https://nationalpost.com/opinion/duane-wysynski-dodgeball-is-still-an-emerging-sport-but-has-inbuilt-potential-for-teamwork-and-inclusivity




Tip of the Month – May

Coach Monika Says…

Questions For Head Coaches At The End Of The Season

I found this post by Chris Fore (November 19, 2018) quite helpful for personal reflection on the seasonal performance of both coaches and athletes. Although the post originally is directed at team sport and players, I modified the Title and applied it to both, team and individual sports. I adjusted the terminology (example: players/ athletes, competitors; games or matches won or lost/events, competition, time standards; game/competition strategy; spouse, etc.).


Your season is over. Part of you is sad, but part of you can now take a deep breath. You can go home a little earlier, hug your spouse and kids a little more, and maybe go see a movie during the weekends!

But you should also take some time to reflect on the season, in order to make your program better. Watch a film on Saturdays to see how your team played Friday night/your athletes competed on the weekend. Now it is time to evaluate how you did leading the troops. Proper season ending evaluation helps your program improve. Coaches who constantly evaluate their leadership move their program constantly forward in the right direction. Those who fail to do so take their teams/athletes backwards. Spend time now to evaluate your program with the following questions. Get others involved to help you grow.

1. Did I do a good job managing the staff?

In my opinion (Chris), this is the most important part of your job as a head coach during the season. Managing your staff is paramount to success. Was the chemistry of the staff good weeks 1-10? How could you better manage them next year? Take notes now.

2. Did I do a good job managing the players?

Second to managing your staff is managing the athletes. Keeping the chemistry – team sports or individual sports – moving in a positive direction is a challenge. If the chemistry improved throughout the season, you did a great job. If not, why did that happen?

3. Did we increase the morale of the program this year – did it decrease?

Program morale can make or break a season, and thus make or break the competitive season. Obviously, winning “cures” a whole lot of morale issues and losing magnifies the bad parts. If morale of the program did not increase this year, what do you need to do to get it back now – not just with the athletes and coaches but also parents, administration, and the community at large.

4. Did we overachieve or underachieve this year?

The scoreboard/competitive results tell the story every time, and during the season. We all want to overachieve. If you underachieved this year, how did that happen? Figure that out now, to fix it this offseason.

5. Did we stay focused on the overarching goals of our program?

Those fancy sayings on those posters and websites, the “expected school-wide learning results” guide our day-to-day actions. Were those goals carried out this year or did they fall by the wayside?

6. What do we need to focus on during the offseason to make this program better?

This question can usually be answered by addressing the biggest struggle of the season. 

7. Was there any point during the season that I lost control? If so, how did that happen, and how do I avoid a repeat in the future?

This is critical to the future of the program. If you lost control, did you regain the trust/respect of your athletes? Is that negative atmosphere still lingering? If you did lose it, why did that happen? Spend time diagnosing this to help you in the future.

8. What was the major weakness with our coaching staff, and how do I need to fix it?

If your team/athletes struggled in one area that seemed to be a major weakness, can it be fixed by coaching? Sometimes a staff member needs to be let go in order for the staff to get better.

9. If married – did my spouse feel that I made appropriate and quality time during the season?

This might be one of the most important questions here! Avoid being another coaching divorcee statistics – there are too many now these days! Have the discussion with your spouse. Ask them, and be ready to listen. Avoid defending yourself – just listen. Asking the question can go a very long way!


Chris Fore has a Masters degree in Athletic Administration. He is a certified Athletic Administrator, and serves as an Adjunct Professor in the M.S. Physical Education – Sports Management program at Azusa Pacific University, California.


Sleeping Habits & Their Effect on Sport Performance


General well-being not only means being physically active but also taking care of the body to achieve active living, overall health, and quality of life. Humans cannot survive without the proper amount of sleep. Sleep disturbance and lack of sleep lead to more significant consequences than just dark circles around the eyes. No concealer can hide that damage!

Research Findings:

Sleep behaviour is an important determinant of health and wellbeing, with impacts on neural development, learning, memory, emotional regulation, metabolic health, and cardiovascular health. The results of an 2019 Alberta survey show that 71% of Albertans report meeting daily sleep recommendations, 25% rate their sleep quality as fairly bad to very bad (Alberta Center for Active Living).

The study by Yusuf et al. investigated the effects of a night of sleep deprivation on cognitive and physical performance in university students. They found that sleep deprivation is common among university students and has been associated with poor academic performance and physical dysfunction. The findings show that reaction time and vascular response to exercise were significantly affected by sleep deprivation, and indicate that acute sleep deprivation can have an impact on physical but not cognitive ability (Yusuf, et al., 2017).

More bad news for those who struggle to get enough sleep at night. According to a study published by Tracy White, Stanford Medicine, January 26, 2019, sleep deprived people suffer performance loss. Lack of sleep definitely affects our performance the next day, and probably for a longer period of time than we might expect. Among the findings: Two consecutive nights of less than six hours could leave you sluggish for the following six days. Researchers also found that staying up an extra hour, even if followed by a full night’s sleep, is correlated with slower performance the next day. But going to bed an hour earlier than normal has a negligible effect.

Sleep deprivation is linked to addiction to electronic gadgets, which has become a modern health issue. More and more researchers point to the fact that children and teens do not get enough sleep. In fact, this may even apply to coaches – I might add – as many of us stay up late to take care of administrative duties, updating records and statistics, and planning training sessions…and then we feel the “absolute” pressure to check our gadget before going to bed!

Knowing the benefits of sleep is one thing but getting enough of it is another. People feel wearisome and exhausted. While we adults (coaches) “clutch our morning java”, children and adolescents are too tired to function in the morning and in the classroom. Less sleep has a tremendous impact on movement and reaction time in learning gross motor and sport skills and ultimately sports performance. Moreover, lack of sleep leads to fatigue, which in turn impedes any physical activity, training, and competition.

Disease Prone, Obese and Depressed

The brain uses sleep to recover and reduce metabolic waste products. This process cannot be finished without or too little sleep. The result: memory, accuracy, and concentration are affected. In addition, the immune system follows the same course as it uses nightly rest for its recovery. If that cannot happen the system neglects its functions, leading ultimately to infection and sickness. The level of the hormone Leptin, which regulates hunger and metabolism, is lowered, hunger and craving set in even though there is no actual need to eat. We not only tend to eat more but also more unhealthy food such as donuts, chips, candy, etc. leading to an increase in overweight and obesity as people take in more food as needed.

Lack of sleep has been identified as a negative factor, compromising the immune system, eventually causing the body to store extra fat, and increasing the risk of acute injuries. For that very reason, sleep experts recommend that children and teens need to establish and maintain regular sleeping patterns to get adequate rest in order to function properly. Coaches should do the same to maintain overall health and their functioning ability.

Here is what happens: Using TVs, tablets, smartphones, laptops, or other electronic devices before bed delays the body’s internal clock (circadian rhythm), suppresses the release of the sleep-inducing hormone melatonin and makes it more difficult to fall asleep (see previous Leptin).

Most North American adolescents are said to operate in a constant state of “jet lag” as they need about 8.5 to 9.5 hours of sleep a night. Some researchers even recommend nine to ten hours of uninterrupted sleep! Yet, very few get that! Even if they do go to bed on time, most children and teens find it difficult to fall asleep at a decent hour. Prior to adolescence, most children are asleep naturally around 8 or 9 pm, according to sleep specialists. However, puberty changes a teen’s internal clock, delaying the time they start feeling sleepy, often until 11 pm or later.

Many children also pursue individual activities such as private lessons and other structured activities outside school. Coupled with scholastic and social demands, increasing every year, many feel tired, both physically and mentally. Thus, for a variety of reasons sleep often becomes neglected, and as a result sleep deprivation occurs. In addition, attitude/mood adversely affect performance in the classroom and of course sport performance. Therefore, the phase of “deep” sleep is critical. Researchers point out that as little as 20 hours of sleep deprivation can have a negative affect on cognitive and fine motor skills as well as proprioception – for example, the sense of balance of sleep-deprived students and the ability to shift weight with their eyes closed is more likely off or critically affected.

Research Findings:   

Learning and memory: Sleep helps the brain commit new information to memory through a process called “memory consolidation.” According to studies, people sleeping after learning a task did better on tests later on.

Metabolism and weight: Chronic sleep deprivation may cause weight gain by affecting the way our bodies process and store carbohydrates, and by altering levels of hormones that affect our appetite.

Safety: Sleep debt contributes to a greater tendency to fall asleep during the daytime.

Mood: Sleep loss may result in irritability, impatience, inability to concentrate, and moodiness. Lacking sleep can contribute to a reduced desire to do activities one likes to do.

Fatigue: Too little sleep can also leave one too tired to do the things one likes to do.

Cardiovascular health: Serious sleep disorders have been linked to hypertension, increased stress hormone levels, and irregular heartbeat.

Disease: Sleep deprivation alters immune function, including the activity of the body’s killer cell. Sound sleeping patterns may contribute to fighting off cancer.

Signs and Symptoms of Sleep Deprivation
  • Early fatigue during physical activity or training
  • Unexpected emotional responses
  • Negativism, pessimism, sadness, mood change, stress, anxiety, anger, frustration
  • Inability to solve problems, lack of critical thinking or decision-making
  • Decrease of alertness and focus during physical activity, training or competition/ Game
  • Slower recovery from injury
Suggested Strategies to Improve Sleep Pattern

So, how can children and teens get enough sleep, given the fact that their internal clocks aren’t cooperating? Here are suggestions:

  • Using a log to monitor the sleep pattern (download log below)
  • Developing and maintaining regular sleeping habits, and follow a regular, relaxing bedtime routine
  • Getting 8-10 hours of sleep per night is ideal, according to sleep experts
  • Identifying strategies to maximize the benefits of sleep
  • If insomnia is severe and chronic and sleep disorders exist (sleep apnea, restless leg syndrome), a sleep specialist should be consulted
Making Sleep The Priority

Develop and maintain regular sleeping habits: Follow a regular, relaxing bedtime routine – make it consistent with regular steady sleep and wake-up routines (at the same time)

Falling asleep: within 20 minutes of going to bed and waking up without an alarm most likely indicates getting the right amount of sleep

Establishing a sleeping habit/routine: Based on research, 10 pm bedtime and 6 am wake up time seems to be an optimal schedule for both physical and psychological recovery as well as wakefulness during the day

Setting sleep pattern: Estimate personal sleep needs by experimenting over a few weeks

Sleep deprivation: Falling asleep immediately upon “hitting the pillow” and always needing an alarm to wake up indicates sleep deprivation

Daily naps: Take a daily nap if sleep deficiency is apparent but keep it short (less than an hour)

Missing sleep: “Catching up” on missed sleep on the weekend is not a healthy practice – it actually throws the body clock off even more

Unplug: Getting rid of stimulation – it’s a good idea to turn off all    electronics about an hour (or more) before bed, including television, loud   music, laptop or computer, smartphone and iPod and/or leave outside the bedroom

Late night socializing: Frequently interferes with establishing and maintaining healthy sleeping patterns

Keep it dark: Light-tight blinds, shades, and window coverings help set the   right environment for sleep

Ambient light as distraction: Glowing or flashing clock or other light from electronics can also interfere with a solid night’s sleep

Use light as an advantage: Dim light tells the brain that it is time for sleep, and bright light says it’s time to wake up – keep lights dim for 30 to 60 minutes before bedtime, and use lots of bright light upon awakening

Keep it cool: Lowering the thermostat in the bedroom to 65 to 68 degrees  helps to fall asleep faster and sleep more soundly

Experiment: Keeping it on the cool side is better for sleeping than being too hot – experiment with the temperature or amount of bed covers

Keep it quiet: Nothing can cause more sleep disturbance than noise. If living in a noisy location – near traffic, airports, or noisy neighbors – use earplugs to create silence – white noise may also be helpful, such as a fan

Eating Habits: Healthy nutrition and exercise regularly

Hygiene: Practice good body hygiene such as regular showers, brushing teeth, etc., and change bed sheets regularly (1x per week)

Using Sleep To Improve Sports Performance

Identify strategies to maximize the benefits of sleep: athletes are able to optimize training and competition outcomes by identifying strategies to maximize the benefits of sleep.

Increasing Sleep Time: several weeks before a major competition or game/match

Getting Daily Exercise Time: outside training. This should be used as a “balancing act” to the regular training routine (use walking, cycling, stretching, etc. to induce sleep faster). While there isn’t necessarily an optimal time, some people report that exercising before bed makes them too energized and alert: therefore, experts recommend allowing 6 hours between the exercise session and bedtime. This could be difficult if training sessions are held in the early evenings.

Adapting to an Upcoming Travel Schedule: Consider if time zone changes or early competition/game starts are necessary. In order to adapt the body to respective changes, this should be adhered to at least one week prior to departure. Otherwise, insomnia upon arrival at the travel destination can become a real problem.


Alberta Center for Active Living (2019, January 14). The 2019 Alberta Survey on Physical Activity. Edmonton, AB, and SIRC, January 29, 2019. https://www.centre4activeliving.ca/our-work/alberta-survey-physical-activity/

Alhola, P., & Polo-Kantola, P. (2007). Sleep deprivation and cognitive performance. Neuropsychiatric Disease and Treatment, Vol. 3(5), 553-567. October. Turku, Finland. Retrieved, April 30, 2019, from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2656292/

Harvard Education: Healthy Sleep: Consequences of Insufficient Sleep. Retrieved April 30, 2019, from http://healthysleep.med.harvard.edu/healthy/matters/consequences

Mah, C. (2007). Extra sleep improves athletes’ performance. Annual Meeting of the Associated Professional Sleep Societies. June 14, 2007.

Mah, C. (2008). Extended sleep and the effects on mood and athletic performance in collegiate swimmers. Annual Meeting of the Associated Professional Sleep Societies. June 9, 2008.

Mah, C. (2009). The study shows sleep extension improves athletic performance and mood. Annual Meeting of the Associated Professional Sleep Societies. June 8, 2009.

Mah, C. D., Mah, K. E., Kezirian, E. J., & Dement, W. C. (2011). The effect of sleep extension on the athletic performance of collegiate basketball players. Sleep, 34(7), 943-950. July 1, 2011.

White, T. (2017). Sleep deprived suffer performance loss, according to a new study. Scope. Stanford Medicine. Retrieved April 30, 2019, from https://scopeblog.stanford.edu/2017/01/ 26/sleep-deprived-suffer-performance-loss-according-to-new-study/

Yusuf, P., Lee, A., Raha, O., Pillai, K., Gupta, S., Sethi, S., Mukeshimana, F., Gerard, L., Moghal, M.U., Saleh, S.N., Smith, S.F., Morrell, M.J., & Moss, J. (2017). Effects of sleep deprivation on cognitive and physical performance in university students. Sleep Biological Rhythms, Vol. 15(3): 217–225. Published online 2017 Apr 13. Doi: 10.1007/s41105-017-0099-5. Retrieved April 30, 2019, from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5489575/

Tip of the Month – April

Coach Monika Says…

Five Effective Leadership Practices

February 11, 2019: The Canadian Olympic and Paralympic Committees stated, “they stand for ‘sport free’ harassment, abuse and discrimination of any kind” after a CBC investigation reported more than 200 coaches in Canadian Amateur Sports have been convicted of sexual offences over a 20-year period, and the list keeps growing!

March 27, 2019: Long time National and Olympic Coach and Program Director in Canadian Track and Field has been suspended by Athletics Canada in the midst of a sexual harassment investigation. His club reprimanded him twice before in 2016. Despite the ban he continued to train his athletes in December 2018 and January 2019 in California. The President of the club in Ottawa was also suspended because he failed to take remedial actions!

April 3, 2019: Canadian women’s soccer calls for change. In the Under-20 national talent pool twelve players are backing allegations against the coach (2007-2008). Accusations: experiencing abuse, manipulation, inappropriate behaviour, sending sexual messages, lewd comments about player’s wet and sweaty jerseys, and rubbing player’s thighs. Have you ever wondered about excellence in coaching and leadership qualities? 

What makes a ‘great’ coach? 

…The goal of great coaching is to guide, inspire and empower an athlete or team to achieve their full potential. A great coach, thus, should also be an exceptional leader. A leader has the ability to unify a group of players and make them committed to a single purpose…

What about coaching qualities?

Here are some key qualities that distinguish a good coach from a great coach:

  1. Leadership: The goal of great coaching is to guide, inspire and empower an athlete or team to achieve their full potential.
  2. Knowledge
  3. Motivation
  4. Knows the Athlete
  5. Consistency
  6. Effective Communication Skills

What is leadership?

  1. Vision
  2. Motivation
  3. Serving
  4. Empathy
  5. Creativity
  6. Thoroughness
  7. Managing
  8. Team Building
  9. Taking Risks
  10. Improving

What is effective leadership? 

…Effective leadership includes strong character.

Leaders exhibit honesty, integrity, trustworthiness and ethics. Leaders act in line with how they speak, and earn the right to be responsible for others’ success in the company. Strong leadership involves clear communication skills…

Canada’s National Coaching Certification Program (NCCP) offers the Module  “Coaching and Leading Effectively” in its coach education/certification program. According to the Canadian Coaching Association:

…The five leadership practices of exemplary leadership and the ten leadership commitments, “the behaviours that serve as a basis for learning to lead” are presented below. Although there are five practices, there is no linear sequence in their practice though leadership requires practicing all of the following behaviours to various degrees at different times. 

1. Model the way

  • Clarify your values by finding your voice and affirm shared ideals
  • Set the example by aligning actions with shared values

2. Inspire a shared vision

  • Envision the future by imagining exciting and ennobling possibilities
  • Enlist others in a common vision by appealing to shared aspirations

3. Challenge the process

  • Search for opportunities by seizing the initiative and looking outward
  • Experiment and take risks by constantly generating small wins and learning from experience

4. Enable others to act

  • Foster collaboration by building trust and facilitating relationships
  • Strengthen others by increasing self-determination and developing competence

5. Encourage the heart

  • Recognize contributions by showing appreciation for individual excellence
  • Celebrate the values and the victories by creating a spirit of community

Coaches need to foster their skills to coach and lead effectively to provide their athletes with the same skills to deliver clear messages and explanations when communicating with each other. 


Coaching Association of Canada (2019, March 3). Email to M. Schloder.

Coaching Association of Canada (2019, March 3). How to be a better leader: Five effective leadership practices. Ottawa, ON: #CoachToolkit.


Karstens-Smith, G. (2019, April 3). Soccer women call for change. Twelve players back allegations of abuse by coach. The Calgary Herald. Sports, Section B11.

The Canadian Press (2019, February 11). COC says “safety of all is its focus.” The Calgary Herald. Sports. Section B1.

The Canadian Press (2019, March 26). Track club officials suspended. The Calgary Herald. Sports. Section B1.

Why Us ?

Shape Young Athletes
By Having FUN!


Physical Literacy For Children And Youth
Through Fun, Fitness And Fundamentals

Available NOW! – Instant Download or 2-Disk Set

Watch the preview video below!

You will be astonished over the athletic accomplishments of these young athletes’ strength, flexibility, balance, etc.

Click here to purchase your copy today!

 Dr. Monika Schloder Welcomes You To The Home of CoachingBest

Your one-stop for Coaching Tips, Training, and Information for the Athletic Coach

Years of teaching and coaching experience in several sports have provided me with the ability to understand the physical, mental, and emotional requirements for developing beginner to elite level athlete in several sports. The ‘knack’ to analyze sport movement, in essence, detect errors and then develop creative corrections and drills to improve, maximize, and optimize performance – no matter the sport – is one of my greatest assets.

Dr. Monika Scloder, Summer Swim Camp- Turku, Finland

Professional Activities:

  • DVD Production: Swimming; Developing Physical Literacy; Athletic Training
  • Learning Facilitator, Canadian National Coaching Certification Program (NCCP), having educated nationally and internationally over 26,000 coaches to date
  • Certified Alberta NCCP Coach Developer (2016)
  • Speaker at International Congresses, Coaching Symposiums, and World Clinics
  • Master Coach in Residence, 1991-2004, for the Los Angeles based 84 Legacy of the Games (former Amateur Athletic Foundation or AAF), program developer for Inner City Minority Youth Education and Leadership
  • Author: Coaching Manuals in Swimming and Soccer
  • Co-author “Coaching Athletes: A Foundation for Success”


  • Alberta 2008 Coach of the Year
  • Recipient of 14 International Teaching and Coaching Awards
  • 3M Teaching Fellowship Award for Outstanding Teaching at Canadian Universities
  • Recipient of numerous Teaching Excellence Awards, University of Calgary

At CoachingBest.com we offer sport consulting and coaching education to organizations worldwide with an emphasis on current issues, physical literacy, athlete development, performance analysis, and improvement

Visit our Website CoachingBest.com for ‘Tips of the Week’ and sign up for the free Monthly Newsletter

Dr. Schloder has developed a series of Training DVD’s to help Coaches and Athletes
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ASCA Workshop Conference and Presentation

Happenings from November

With Coach Rebecca Atchley – Dr. Schloder was an External Committee Member for Rebeca’s Masters Project Dr. Schloder’s Workshop Presentation

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Conference Photos

Happenings from September

Latest Happenings!!

 Dr. Monika Schloder at the ASCA World Clinic for Swimming, Jacksonville, Florida, Sept 8, 2014 Presenting at the 4-hour Work shop “Dry-land School for Age Group Swimmers” Coaches participate in her workshops… they don’t just sit!

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Back Arch Demo

Coach Schloder in Istanbul, Turkey Swim Camp , June 9-15

Underneath the swimmer to demonstrate the back arch position after the Back Crawl start. Not too many coaches can do this perfectly!

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Developing Physical Literacy

This highly acclaimed presentation was given by Dr. Schloder at the Canadian Sport for Life Summit (CS4L), which will be available as a movie version. Watch for the up-coming DVD: ‘Physical Activities for Children and Youth. Fundamental Movement Skills in the Pursuit of Excellence and Well-being.’

View page »


  1. Michèle Boutin

    Dear Dr. Schloder,

    We are a small competitive swimming club in Beaconsfield, Quebec, Canada.
    We are interested in purchasing your DVD+Booklet called Fly Away but it is not available on your online shop.
    Could you please let me know how we could purchase it?

    Best regards,

    Michèle Boutin
    Beaconsfield Bluefins Swim Club

  2. Augusto Acosta

    I love your work!

  3. Kim Cox

    Super new front page on your website, very informative.

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Tip of the Month – June

Coach Monika Says… Signs Of A Good Youth Coach 1. Help athletes to learn “life lessons” through sport 2. Listen to athletes’ thoughts and opinions 3. Develop a positive rapport with athletes 4. Support, encourage, motivate and inspire athletes 5. Work together to set individual and team goals 6. Help them to understand there is …

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Are Sports Under Moral Attack by Liberal Academics?

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