CEDAR FALLS, IA (KCRG-TV9)-- Dr. Alan Heisterkamp works at the University of Northern Iowa as the Director of the Center for Violence Prevention. He believes that being a coach goes beyond wins, and losses, it’s teaching boys how to be men.
For some athletes, a coach is like a parent to them. Heisterkamp explains, “In male cultures, in oftentimes (coaches) have played the role of that absent father or maybe that dad or father figure type."
That's why Heisterkamp wants coaches to be mentors. The “Coaching Boys into Men” seminar covers issues like respecting women and making sure locker room talk is appropriate, and not degrading.
Heisterkamp says of locker room chatter, "It could be rumors, it could be gossip, it could be false information, it could be a young man sharing what he and his girlfriend or his partner did intimately, and it could maybe come across as him bragging about that."
He also wants coaches to not use words that can be offensive, and an attack on a person’s masculinity. He explains, "Such as don't be a girl, or don't be a wuss or you know kind of degrading words, those get in the way of a young person growing and developing."
His training sessions last about two hours. After that, coaches are expected to have weekly conversations with their players.
Heisterkamp adds, "This program has shown that it will actually help young men hold themselves and other more accountable to the words that are used or attitudes and behaviors that are hurtful and harmful not just to themselves or their peers, but other girls or to women."
He is holding events in Waterloo and Coralville next month. They are free to attend. Click here for more information.