Tip of the Month – October

Coach Monika Says…

Bad Posture and Lower Back Pain

It is the most common cause of job-related disability and a leading contributor to missed workdays. In a large survey, more than a quarter of adults reported experiencing low back pain during the past 3 months. According to medical information, about 80 percent of adults experience low back pain at some point in their lifetime in Canada and the USA while 83% suffer from back pain in Germany (Das Neue, Medizin, p. 50). 

Moreover, children and adolescents are complaining increasingly about lower back pain, which experts contribute to ‘bad and/or slouchy’ posture, increase in watching TV, playing video games, use of smartphones and tablets, and lengthy computer involvement. Researchers in the UK and Spain loaded up 50 students with book bags of varying weights and found that backpacks create poor posture and subsequently back issues. Athletes may complain about lower back pain, traced to prolonged use of their tech gadgets, incorrect exercises or training procedures, and by swimmers using extensive kickboard action, and/or overtraining in the butterfly stroke (lower back).


Equipment: mat or floor

Specific Exercise Focus:

  • Body and head awareness (body position and movement – positional alignment-body incline in supine, head-centered, arm extension on the floor, legs bent, feet flat and forward) 
  • Balance and control (weight distribution – head, shoulders, back, extended arms, hands, palms, feet; control of incline position, body position)
  • Strength (body position and movement – spine/core, hips, buttocks, thighs, calves, ankles, feet, prolonged held position)
  • Flexibility, suppleness (body position and movement – trunk, hips, pelvis, groin, front of thighs, lower part of legs, feet)

Start Position: Assume supine position on floor (on back), legs bent, feet close to buttocks, together and flat, arms relaxed at sides by body, back aligned

Action: Assume Start position, tighten the core, using full arm support elevate hips/pelvis to incline position, shoulder to knee alignment, head centered, maintain positional alignment, hold 8 counts, lower body to floor, 8 repetitions, and relax 

Finish: Supine position, legs extended, feet together, pointed toes, arms relaxed at sides by body, and relax 

Exercise Variations: 

1. Same Exercise: extend leg to vertical, alternate flex-point toes, repeat, opposite leg

2. Same Exercise: extend leg to vertical, alternating legs

3. Same Exercise: extend leg to vertical, bend at 90-degree angle so lower part of leg is parallel to floor, hold 4 counts, lower leg

4. Same Exercise: perform the exercise with elevated feet on a selected platform (mat), large medicine ball or Physioball

Note: All exercises can be used as part of Warm-up, Cool-down and/or Conditioning program


Das Neue (2019, #38, September 14). Unser Rücken geht zum TÜF (our back goes to TÜF*], p. 50. Hamburg, Germany: Bauer Vertriebs KG. Das Neue. 

Schloder, M.E. (2018). The Kalos exercise collection. Calgary, AB, Canada: Arête Sports. Website: www.coachingbest.com

Schloder, M.E. (2017). Developing physical literacy through FUN, fitness, and fundamentals. Calgary, AB, Canada: Arête Sports. Website: www.coachingbest.com

Schloder, M.E. (2016). Ballet for Athletes: Modified exercises for cross-training. Calgary, AB, Canada: Arête Sports. Website: ww.coachingbest.com

*TÜF is the German TÜVs = Technischer Überwachungsverein [Technical Inspection Association] are German businesses that provide inspection and product certification services

Why Are Tweens Leaving Youth Sports? – Part I

Children and Youth Are Not Professional Athletes OR Miniature Adults

It is important to understand not only the reasons children and youth participate in sports but also the reasons for their dropout. As early as 1988, researchers estimated the annual dropout rate at about 35% though some dropouts participate in another sport (example: swimming to soccer) while others leave the sport completely (Gould & Petlichkoff, 1988).

According to a poll from the National Alliance for Youth Sports around 70 percent of kids in the United States stop playing organized sports by the age of 13 because “it’s just not FUN anymore.” In 1990, the Athletic Footwear Association (AFA) released its findings titled “American Youth and Sports Participation” of children and youth’’ (ages 10-18 years) and their feelings of personal sports involvement. The study included more than 10,000 young people from 11 cities across the U.S.A. The results show that (a) participation in organized sports declines sharply as youngsters get older, (b) “FUN” is the key reason for involvement and “lack of FUN” is one of the primary reasons for discontinuing, (c) winning plays less of a role than most adults would think, and (d) not all athletes have the same motivations for their involvement.

According to recent findings, 7 out of 10 players quit organized sports by the age of 13. A Michigan study cited in my University lecture series “Children and Parents in Sport” cited 10 reasons for sports dropout. The #1 reason was still “lack of FUN,” stated equally by both boys and girls! Recently, a 9-year old boy went before TV cameras and YouTube, declaring “he was quitting sport because the “pressure to ‘win at all cost’ by coaches and parents was too much to take.” 

“I just can’t take it anymore coach,” a talented but underperforming player named Kate told me a few years back. I think I am done playing. It’s my dad. He loves me and I know he only wants the best for me, but he just can’t stop coaching me, in the car, and from the sideline each and every game. I can’t play when he is around, and he insists on coming to every game, every road trip, you name it. It’s like it’s more important to him than it is to me” (O’Sullivan, 2015).

I titled the photo above ‘Child Labor in Sports’ because of the continuous pressure by coaches and parents, and the endless hours of year-round training! In addition, the persisting phrase of  “No pain – No gain” and the continuous imitation of the professional model and its “win at all cost” philosophy are prominent in many children and youth sports. It is 2019… have we not learned anything over the past 20 years?I

Here are the 11 most cited Reasons from the Michigan study

Schlots:Users:monikaschloder:Desktop:News Months:10 Oct:Jpgs:DevAge.jpg

Let’s change the traditional way of thinking! The athlete-centered and developmental versus chronological age model is needed to start reversing these statistics. The respective ages of athletes and the natural characteristics of each age group is the foundation to develop the physical, technical, psychological, social, and age-appropriate tactical skills. This means coaches need to know the specific capabilities in those domains. Otherwise, the FUN element is lost and dropout occurs, currently at the highest levels ever. 

Overall, 6-11 and 11-14 year olds see themselves at the so-called ‘participatory – instructional stage.’ FUN, fundamental skills, and fitness are the primary objectives with the focus on skill display and personal improvement. Competition should be exciting but foremost stress-free not based on ‘winning at all cost’ (professional model). ‘Learning to compete’ is the important part at this stage (the TLC triad: Teaching – Learning – Competing) as discussed by Schloder and McGuire in early 1998. 

The upper end of this age group, on the other hand, functions in the more transitional paradigm. Athletes first develop fundamental skills and then refine these skills. They learn to establish short-and long-term goals, set strategies, and racing/competition/ game tactics. Even though competition takes place on a more elevated level it is still kept in ‘perspective’, and should be interpreted as a positive experience. 

In early competitions, the focus should be on reproducing skills and techniques in competition/games as refined in training. In essence, competitive events should be determined by training effects, which have been consistently and successfully demonstrated in practice. Competitive stress is minimized if athletes feel competent, are familiar and comfortable with their performance. If initial competition is an unpleasant experience, the potential exists to develop the attitude of not liking competing because the experience may be interpreted negatively.

Many sport psychologists argue that high-intensity competition is not recommended until the later years (age 15 and up). At this point, athletes are emotionally and cognitively more ready for serious-type competition. They are also psychologically more capable to deal with the ‘idea of winning and losing.’ Given all the considerations, coaches should, therefore, endorse the ‘athlete-centered’ program more passionately.

Overall, the athlete-centered model operates with a focus on FUN, development, and commitment versus an upside-down professional model based on ‘winning at all cost.’ The former helps to develop and foster athletes’ self-image through a positive learning and training environment that creates happiness, self-satisfaction, encouragement, motivation, and one that increases and fosters personal relationships as well as encourages and enhances performance, and the attainment of personal goals.

I share the following parental perspective by Juliana Miner (Washington Post, June 1, 2016) – with modification – to demonstrate the dismal status in current children and youth sports. Miner has 3 children who play sports – the oldest turned 13 in 2016. 

From Juliana Miner (June 1, 2016):

…I may not have understood why this was happening a few years ago, but sadly, knowing what I know now, the mass exodus of 13-year-olds from organized sports makes perfect sense to me. 

 “It’s not FUN anymore” isn’t the problem; it’s the combination of a number of cultural, economic and systemic issues that result in our kids turning away from organized sports at a time when they could benefit from them the most. Playing sports offers everything from physical activity, experiencing success and bouncing back from failure to taking calculated risks and dealing with the consequences of working as a team and getting away from the ubiquitous presence of screens. Our middle-school teens need sports now more than ever.

Here are the reasons I think it’s become less FUN for kids to play sports, and the early dropout (Miner, 2016):

It’s Not FUN anymore – because it’s Not designed to be FUN

…As children get closer to high school, the system of youth sports is geared toward meeting the needs of more competitive players, and subsequently expectations increase. The mentality is common that most of the kids who quit at 13 are the ones who wouldn’t make a varsity team in high school anyway! Those who ‘stick around’ find that being on a team demands a greater commitment of time and effort. It also means being surrounded by people who care very much about the outcome. This results in the potential of experiencing disappointment or being the cause of it. There is nothing wrong with any of that because it can teach incredibly important lessons about hard work, resiliency, and character – but it’s not for everyone…(Miner, 2016)

Our Culture No Longer Supports Older Kids Playing for FUN 

…The pressure to raise “successful” kids means that we expect them to be the best. If they’re not, they’re encouraged to cut their losses and focus on areas where they can excel. If a seventh-grader doesn’t make a select soccer team, he/she starts to wonder if maybe it’s time to quit altogether, convinced not reaching that highest level, it might not be worth doing. For the small minority of kids at an elite level and loving it, the idea of quitting in middle- school is probably unthinkable. However, for everyone else, there are fewer opportunities to play, a more competitive and less developmental environment in which to participate, and lots of other things competing for their time after school…(Miner, 2016)

Push to Specialize and Achieve at the Highest Possible Level

…Increasingly kids are pressured to “find their passion” and excel in that area (be it music, arts, sports, etc.). There are certainly those for whom this is true, but it is not the norm. For many, there’s a strong argument against this trend, because the message is essentially to pick one thing and specialize in it (to the exclusion of pursuing other interests). For young athletes, early specialization can be harmful in terms of long-term injuries, and it does little to increase the overall chances of later collegiate or professional success…(Miner, 2016)

…Perhaps more importantly, the underlying message that “I have to be the best or I’ve failed” is deeply harmful to kids. This is absolutely mirrored and reinforced in school, where the environment is increasingly test and outcome-driven. Sports could be pivotal in teaching kids ways to fail and recover, something that educators and parents see as being desperately needed. In privileged Washington, D.C., suburbs such as Fairfax and Montgomery counties (and in others across the country), teenagers find themselves stressed to the point of developing anxiety and depression. We see unhealthy coping behaviours and increased rates of self-harm and suicide. This is not a sport’s problem – it’s a culture problem…(Miner, 2016)

There is Cost to be Competitive – Not Everyone is willing or able to pay it

For kids, playing at a more competitive level may mean to prioritize their commitments, interests, and work tirelessly. They may have to be able to deal with pressures of participating at a higher level. These can be positive – provided the playing environment is a ‘healthy’ one. Still, other factors may contribute to a young athlete’s ability to compete or seen as competitive…

…Training year-round, expensive equipment, individual coaching, camps, tournaments and participation on travel and select teams in many places are no longer really considered “optional” to achieve success in youth sports, at least not heading into high school. The investment of time and money that is required is substantial, which contributes to an environment whereby kids of lower-income or single-parent families are simply ‘shut out’ of the game. (Miner, 2016)

…And…of course, it’s just the age

At age 13, kids generally find themselves with more (and more challenging) school work. Most are also encouraged to start choosing their interests and in what they’re best at. There’s no longer time for them to do as much as in elementary school…(Miner, 2016)

…Some of the major social and emotional changes that 13-year-olds experience also predispose them to make decisions such as quitting sports, especially as that environment becomes more competitive. The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) describes it on its developmental milestones page as a “focus on themselves… going back and forth between high expectations and lack of confidence.” Kids become more focused on- and influenced by their friends who are also leaving organized youth sports…(Miner, 2016)

…Any discussion about being 13 also needs to include social media, smartphones and the Internet. According to the Pew Center’s Internet Research Study, most U.S. kids receive their first cellphone or wireless device by the age of 12. Between the ages of 13 and 17, 92 percent of teens report being online every day, and 24 percent are online “almost constantly.” As kids become teenagers, their priorities change. The way they socialize, study and spend their time is also affected…(Miner, 2016)

There are no easy answers. The system of youth sports is set up to cater to more elite players as they approach high school, leaving average kids with fewer opportunities. Our culture encourages specialization and achievement, which actively discourages kids from trying new things or just playing for fun. All of this converges at a time when they’re going through major physical, emotional and social changes as well as facing pressure to pare down their interests and focus on school…(Miner, 2016)

…So, why do 70 percent of kids quit organized sports at 13 and what can we do about it? I would argue that most kids leave because we haven’t given them a way to stay. Perhaps more importantly, until we dismantle the parenting culture that emphasizes achievement and success over healthy, happy kids, we don’t stand a chance of solving this problem…(Miner, 2016)


Engle, J. (2019, May 1). Are youth sports too competitive? The New York Times. The Learning Network. Retrieved September 30, 2019, from https://www.nytimes.com/2019/05/01/learning/are-youth-sports-too-competitive.html

Gould, D., Feltz, D., Horn, T., & Weiss, M. (1982). Reasons for attrition in competitive youth swimming. Journal of Sport Behavior, 5(3), 155-165. September.

Gould, D., & Petlichkoff, L. (1988). Participation and attrition in young athletes. In F.L. Smoll, R.A. Magill, & M.J. Ash (Eds.). Children in Sport (3rd ed.), (pp. 161-178). Champaign, IL: Human Kinetics.

Hedstrom, R., & Gould, D. (2004). Research in youth sports: Critical issues status. White Paper summary of the existing literature. Institute for the Study of Youth Sports. East Lansing, MI: Michigan State University. Retrieved October 19, 2019, from http://www.hollistonsoccer.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/05/CriticalIssuesYouthSports-2.pdf

Miner, J. (2016, June 1). Why 70 percent of kids quit sports by age 13. Washington Post. Parenting.

Monteiro, D., Cid, L., Almeida Marinho, D., Moutão, J., Vitorino, A., & Bento, T. (2017). Determinants and Reasons for Dropout in Swimming – Systematic Review. Sports 5(50), 3-13. DOI: 10.3390/sports5030050

Neefs, J. (2016, June 28). Kids quitting sports: What’s behind the startling statistics. Retrieved September 30, 2019, from https://activeforlife.com/kids-quitting-sports-stats/

O’Sullivan, J. (2017). Why kids play sports. Changing the Game Project. Problems in Youth Sports. January 9. Retrieved October 21, 2019, from https://changingthegameproject.com/kids-play-sports/

O’Sullivan, J. (2015). Why kids quit sports. Changing the Game Project. Coaching, Problems in Youth Sports, Sports Parenting. Retrieved October 21, 2019, from https://changingthegameproject.com/why-kids-quit-sports/

Petlichkoff, L.M. (1992). Youth sport participation and withdrawal: Is it simply a matter of FUN? Pediatric Exercise Science, 4(2), 105-110. Retrieved October 19, 2019, from https://journals.humankinetics.com/view/journals/pes/4/2/article-p105.xml

Salguero, A., Gonzales-Boto, R., Tuero-del-Prado, C., & Márquez, S. (2003). Identification of dropout reasons in young competitive swimmers. The Journal of Sports Medicine and Physical Fitness, 43(4), 530-534. December.

Schloder, M.E. (2006). Lecture Series. Sociology of Sport: Children and parents in sport. Calgary, AB, Canada. University of Calgary. 

Weiss, M.R., & Petlichkoff, L.M. (1989). Pediatric Exercise Science, 1(3), 195-211. Children’s motivation for participation in and withdrawal from sport: Identifying the missing links. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1123/pes.1.3.195

Retrieved October 19, 2019, from https://journals.humankinetics.com/view/journals/pes/1/3/article-p195.xml

Zentner, C., & Mann, M. (Ed.)(2014). Shifting perspectives: Transition from coach-centered to athletes challenges faced by a coach and athlete. The Journal of Athlete Centered Coaching, 1(2). October 1. Denton, TX: Summit Edu Publishing. Retrieved October 22, 2019, from https://www.researchgate.net/publication/266319243_Shifting_perspectives_Transitioning_from_coach_centred_to_athlete_centred_-_challenges_faced_by_a_coach_and_athlete

Tip of the Month – September

Coach Monika Says…

What’s up with Teen Hygiene Nowadays? And What the High-Tech Industry is Doing About It

Over the past 2 years, I have noticed an increase among girls, ages 13-16 with hairy armpits, unshaved legs and the refusal to use deodorants. Given the tween age, boys of the same age are not far behind with their personal hygiene – common phenomenon – lack of taking showers, and the stench of BO… displayed by a generation that stands for ‘green ideology and climate change!’ How about BO escaping into the atmosphere? So, what is happening? 

This generation, worried about the world going down in 12 years, is moving about in their natural state – the same generation with the mess in the locker or change rooms, dropping plastic cups, food particles, napkins, etc. on the floor although garbage cans are nearby? 

The topic of hygiene is a somewhat uncomfortable topic for many although it needs to be addressed because it can cause disruption in social surroundings and the training environment. Who wants to partner up with a ‘stinky’ teammate? That first ‘whiff’ means bigger things are on the horizon. Adolescence arrives earlier than one might think. The average age of menstruation for girls is 12, according to Mayo Clinic research, while boys show signs of puberty as early as 10, according to a study from the American Academy of Pediatrics. The first conversation about body hygiene can be a struggle. “Convincing tweens that they ‘smell bad’ is a big challenge for most parents and coaches”, according to Deborah Gilboa, doctor and mother of four boys (cited by Sarah Szczypinski, Seattle Journalist): “that’s because the child’s brain makes that kiddo ignore their own smell in order to pay attention to what’s happening nearby. So when a tween says, ‘I don’t smell anything!’ they are telling the absolute truth.”

Dr. Gilba suggests bringing up the topic early and with ‘good humour’ to avoid temper resistance and personal embarrassment. Make it general, she recommends. By trying to ‘mask’ your comments, even good-natured teasing can feel like an attack to tweens, already dealing with the embarrassment of recent body changes. They will certainly hear about it during social time and with a much stronger language pattern! When having BO conversation, athletes likely laugh, want to walk away or feel uncomfortable, but coaches need to validate those feelings. Coaches can address this issue by discussing the importance of workouts, proper nutrition, sweating, showering routines, and control of BO as part of daily hygiene to stay healthy to train and compete successfully.

Encourage Self-care and Personal Choice

Adolescence is the beginning of athletes’ autonomy, and encouraging those first steps also means encouraging personal choice. Tweens are likely to feel more empowered if they’re allowed to choose their own hygiene products. You may present some good sample products but warn athletes about Internet advertisement, and YouTube videos, usually promoted by professional paid actors and athletes. 

One suggestion is to bring in a healthcare provider or nurse to address these issues, general and then separately for boys and girls. The irony is that society is exposed to all sorts of sexual escapades on TV but is still quite hesitant and also ignorant about the body and its care.

If you’re feeling unsure about your message-delivery skills, incorporate some age-appropriate reading like “Guy Stuff: The Body Book for Boys” and “The Care and Keeping of You” for girls, published by the American Girl company.

Funktionskleidung: Dufte Idee [Functional clothing: A Fragrant idea]

So, if you think that this post is repulsive, here is the newest information from Germany (August 5, 2019). It is not only athletes’ BO that is offensive but also their sweaty/stinky athletic clothing and duffel or sport bags.

…“Trainingsklamotten sollen in Zukunft nicht mehr nach Katzenpipi muffeln, sondern ein dezentes Zitronenaroma verströmen” [workout/training clothing in the future, will no longer smell like ‘cat pee’, rather exude a subtle aroma of lemon]

There you have it! The author (Simon, 2019) cites BO, ‘stinky’ sweats, shorts, soccer and hockey shoes/boots, and sport bags. The question rises: what should a human really smell like? According to Simon, the human being is capable of recognizing about 10,000 different odours but to smell any odour is subjective as to discriminate between aroma, fragrance, and stinky odour. Odour can be measured using the so-called Olf scale (used to measure the strength of a pollution source. … it is defined to quantify the strength of pollution sources, which can be perceived by humans. The perceived air quality is measured in decipol). 

Olf is derived from the estimates of an adult person in sitting position, and measured by testing 1,8 square meters of skin surface, according to the hygiene standard of 0.7, number of showers taken per day, and daily change of underwear. Researchers aim to establish the so-called ‘Riecherkollectiv’ [collective smell] comparing smell intensity of a hiking sock with that of normal smell. Results show that a 12-year old child has 2 Olf, an athlete 30 Olf, five more than a smoker! Interestingly, Koreans, like most Asian people, lack the specific protein molecule, which inhibits BO (due to gene mutation)…they exhibit less BO.

People describing BO use various terms, ranging from ‘rancid’, smelling like goats, chloroform or ammonia.’ On the other hand, some find BO sexy in their partner. While Napoleon was attracted to the BO of his lover Josephine, most people consider it an annoyance nowadays. On the other hand, Sun King Louis XIV took a bath only 2 times throughout his entire life, ‘dabbing’ himself instead with body powder and perfume! Water and bathing was considered unhealthy!

Recently, researchers have attempted to develop odourless shoes, textiles, and athletic bags. Especially popular are ‘magic’ soccer socks, which are said to remain odourless for several days. And…a research team from Spain successfully modified cotton material so training clothes no longer produce a smelly and sweaty odour rather releases a lemony aroma! Sarcasm here: the more sweat the more aromas! So, run through your living room… no air spray needed! Some researchers are even suggesting that smartphone-controlled shoes might provide cooling and ventilation for stinky feet in the near future! So, keep the tech gadgets going!


Simon, V. (2019, August 5). Süddeutsche Zeitung [Süddeutsche News Paper. Dufte Idee Fragrant idea]. High-tech Faser gegen Schweiss [Hightech fiber against sweat]Szczypinski, S. (2019, July 25), Contributing thoughts. Seattle. https://www.washingtonpost.com/lifestyle/2019/07/25/how-talk-tweens-about-body-odor-without-making-it-awkward/

Managing Conflicts in Your Program & Developing Younger Staff Members

Ready to Develop Your Leadership Skills?

The new season has started or is starting up for many sports teams. It is now a crucial time to examine your leadership skills to prevent, avoid, and/or manage potential conflicts in your program. Furthermore, it is also important to develop younger staff members to create a unified and cohesive coaching scenario. 

People tend to hold certain beliefs or perpetuated myths about conflicts: for example, they are always negative or it has to be a contest (win or lose the argument). This is incorrect as only results are either positive or negative! Conflict is a seemingly slow ‘simmering’ development. A given situation usually starts as an issue, evolves into a problem, and then can easily shift to conflict if matters cannot be resolved. Conflict can be defined as a ‘disagreement’ but it is really more than that. It usually arises from several sources, namely organizational, emotional and/or psychological factors.

Conflict can originate from- or over:

  • Lack of a cohesive program philosophy 
  • Perceived overall program aim 
  • Differences in short-term or long-term goals or expectations
  • Lack of communication among the coaching staff
  • Selecting a qualified coach and competent staff
  • Differences in training and conditioning methods for athletes  
  • The perceived or expected role of parents
  • Differences in leadership and/or management style
  • Lack of interaction between coaches, athletes, parents, and board of directors

A sports scenario can easily become complex because any situation on hand may be perceived as a challenge to the existing club philosophy, opinions, beliefs, needs, interests, or concerns of one or several parties. The difficulty lies in managing conflict whereby one has to deal with various personality types and behaviours. It is absolutely critical that coaches possess or acquire essential ‘people’ skills to manage conflict successfully. 

Experts suggest the assessment of personal capabilities and competency in order is essential to identify your personal management style to be better prepared for discussions and to maintain personal balance as well throughout. Such assessment can be achieved by selecting from a variety of tools and strategies because coaches have to be aware and cognizant of potential interfering or inhibiting factors. Foremost, they have to a) acquire or possess excellent communication skills; b) have the ability to understand and interpret body language correctly, and c) be or become a superb and attentive listener. Thus, a series of operational steps or guidelines are recommended to reach creative solutions, which are attained through facilitation – negotiation – arbitration – mediation – and conciliation. The more solutions the better in order to arrive at that agreement, which is beneficial and a positive one for all parties involved. In addition, creating preventive strategies to build more positive relationships within the club is critical to avoid future conflicts. Head coaches, therefore, need to provide valuable mentoring for younger staff members or volunteers because the group as a unit has to be seen as cohesive not divided! 

Developing Younger Staff Members 

I have always believed that it is critical to develop staff members within the club program to provide a unified coaching philosophy, quality of coaching, and demonstrate mutual respect for a positive teaching/coaching and learning environment. This includes accepting opinions, suggestions, and ideas of others without offering criticism or intimidation techniques.  

According to the Harvard Business Review, solid leaders can support the future success of young people through four important conversations: how to build resilience, how to influence others; how to job craft, and how to break the mental rut.

  • How to build resilience: the ability to bounce back from setbacks, or a project gone wrong or a bombed presentation/speech
  • How to influence others: the ability to win others’ trust and respect in order to more effectively execute a role
  • How to job craft: the ability to determine what constitutes a meaningful job and engineer a career for greater fulfillment
  • How to break the mental rut: the ability to challenge personal patterns of thinking in order to identify and solve problems through a different lens

Though all of these skills are vital, each requires a slightly different conversation. When fully and distinctly addressed, the skills can produce outcomes that refine short-term success, as well as long-term career satisfaction. The head-support staff relationship accounts for 70% of the variance in employee engagement. This means that head coaches, who invest time in addressing these issues, not only increase staff retention but also build connections that keep the teams inspired, innovative, and doing the best work (BTS, 2019, modified by Schloder).

#1: How to build resilience

When young staff members have a negative experience, they tend to beat themselves up. Their self-criticism is often loud, tanking their confidence and maybe their job performance too. This conversation, then, is about allowing them to voice this negative self-talk — but not dwell on it. It’s about helping them figure out how to balance their thinking, drop their judgments, and focus on one or two positive choices they can make to learn and move on.

In this conversation, ask questions that will help you figure out what your coaching member is experiencing:

  • How did you feel when your colleague said that?
  • What were you telling yourself at that moment?
  • What do you think this means about you?

Listen and repeat back what you hear. Once you gain an understanding of where the issue is arising from, follow up with questions that help them clear their head and reflect on what really happened. If an assistant or volunteer feels that they cannot make mistakes without losing credibility, for example, you might invite them to reconnect with a moment when they felt good, and ask questions like, “Is it true that a single mistake will cause people to write you off?” Stating aloud the person’s internal story often helps them see that it is, most likely, fiction.

The last step is to help your staff member to figure out what choices they can make to navigate future situations differently. Be sure your tone is considerate but free of both emotion (positive or negative) and judgment throughout. Your job isn’t to solve their problem or sympathize or to build them up with encouraging feedback. Rather, your goal is to ask questions that help them learn and become more resilient.

#2: How to influence others

When a staff member struggles with a relationship, a great career coach helps them see the situation from the other person’s perspective and find new ways to engage or build the relationship. An analysis of our data with Singapore Management University uncovered that 39% of coaching conversations with junior employees focused on helping them influence people, build networks, and create desired impacts (BTS, 2019).

In the conversation, ask staff members: What would it take to ensure the other person feels heard before you speak? Ask how they can communicate better in order to build trust. Try to avoid sympathizing (“Oh yes, that so and so is always like that”) or offering your own solutions. The key is to help the junior staff member discover how to relate differently to this individual.

#3: How to job craft

The point of this conversation is to help your employees reflect on what’s most important to them so that they can shape a compelling vision for their future. Doing meaningful work matters to most people. Those who do not feel a sense of purpose tend to burn out more easily (BTS, 2019).

To inspire your team members, ask what’s important to them and hone in on what they want:

  • What is going on right now?
  • How would you like it to be different?
  • What is one thing you could do to move toward this vision?

Avoid questions about what others think or expect, and try not to share your personal experiences. Instead, focus on helping the staff member to identify the situation they are currently facing, the situation they want to be in, and what steps they need to take to achieve that goal. If they don’t know what they want yet, try to help them find ways to explore avenues they are curious about.

#4: How to break the mental rut

Sometimes people just get stuck when trying to solve a problem. They try once and when it doesn’t work, they either give up or try again using the same method. So, you can help team members spot those ‘rivers of thinking’ and help them to ‘paddle their way out.’

Use the conversation to help identify their stuck thinking and seek out new avenues of inquiry. Start by asking:

  • What problem are you trying to solve?
  • What feelings do you notice about it?
  • What are you most concerned about?
  • What do you observe other people feeling frustrated about?

Your goal is to get the staff member to identify what problem they are actually trying to solve and why their efforts may not be working. Repeat their answers back to them. Once they seem to understand that their current plan of action is flawed, encourage them to think about alternative solutions by considering all of the information they have gathered.

Remember, your role is not to provide solutions. It is to help staff to clarify questions they are trying to answer, lead them to gather perspectives from diverse sources, and reflect on what they’ve learned in order to come up with a new and better strategy.

Building up younger staff into future leaders requires you to help them adopt mindsets that will shift their attitudes. If they can master those, they can find satisfaction, stay engaged, and fulfill their long-term potential. The first step is figuring out what they need from you so that you can have the right conversations.


Boyatzis, R.E., Smith, M., &Van Oosten, E. (2019). Coaching for change. Harvard Business Review. Retrieved September 26, 2019, from https://hbr.org/2019/09/coaching-for-change

BTS (2019) The world’s most innovative approach to leadership coaching. Retrieved September 26, 2019, from https://www.bts.com/leadership-coaching

Connor, J. (2019, September 9). To coach junior employees, start with 4 conversations. Harvard Business Review. Copyright © 2019 Harvard Business School Publishing. All rights reserved. Harvard Business Publishing is an affiliate of Harvard Business School. Retrieved September 26, 2019, from https://hbr.org/2019/09/to-coach-junior-employees-start-with-4-conversations

Schloder, M.E. (2019). Personal lecture notes. Module: Coaching and leading effectively. NCCP (Canadian National Coaching Certification Program). Ottawa, ON, Canada.

*Jerry Connor is head of “Coaching Practice” at BTS, an organization that works with leaders at all levels to help them make better decisions, convert those decisions to actions, and deliver results. With more than 26 years of experience in change management and leadership development, he has extensive experience working with a variety of top global organizations as well as in the public sector.  

*BTS is a global professional services firm headquartered in Stockholm, Sweden with some 600 professionals in 32 offices located on six continents. The company focuses on the people side of strategy working with leaders at all levels to help them make better decisions, convert those decisions to actions and deliver results.

Tip of the Month – August 2019

Coach Monika Says…

Bad Posture – Computers and Neck Pain

Nowadays, people including our athletes, carry out daily activities, exercises or training drills with a ‘slouched or bad’ posture. Incorrect posture affects body position when doing chores, moving about, exercising, walking, running, jumping, or performing athletic skills. Medical experts are dealing with rising problems, such as a stiff neck or neck soreness. The cause is said to be linked to extensive computer work or remaining in the same or prolonged body position.

  • Sit (chair) or stand upright 
  • Legs slightly apart – feet facing forward
  • Face forward – head centered
  • Left arm extended alongside the body
  • Bend Right arm – place bent arm and hand above head across to Left side 
  • Cover top of Left ear with Right hand
  • Pull head carefully to Right side with steady pressure until feeling the stretch in your neck
  • Hold position 10 seconds
  • Release and repeat
  • 8-16 or 15-30 repetitions
  • Repeat with opposite side arm and side
Schlots:Users:monikaschloder:Desktop:Sept:Jpg:Neck Ex copy.jpg

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.’

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  1. Augusto Acosta

    I love your work!

  2. Kim Cox

    Super new front page on your website, very informative.

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Tip of the Month – October

Coach Monika Says… Bad Posture and Lower Back Pain It is the most common cause of job-related disability and a leading contributor to missed workdays. In a large survey, more than a quarter of adults reported experiencing low back pain during the past 3 months. According to medical information, about 80 percent of adults experience …

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Why Are Tweens Leaving Youth Sports? – Part I

Children and Youth Are Not Professional Athletes OR Miniature Adults It is important to understand not only the reasons children and youth participate in sports but also the reasons for their dropout. As early as 1988, researchers estimated the annual dropout rate at about 35% though some dropouts participate in another sport (example: swimming to …

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