This week on the Way of Champions Podcast, we welcome Joe Ehrmann, Jody Redman, Nate Baldwin and Bev Smith for an incredible cup of virtual coffee as we dive into what the purpose of youth sports is and what we should do when sports start back up. We discuss how the pandemic will change the demand of Youth Sports, how program directors can layer in character development curriculum, and how to create a trickle down effect so that youth coaches create athletes that want to keep coming back.

Read below for the bios of our fantastic panel:

Jody Redman is a nationally recognized facilitator and speaker. She is a former collegiate basketball player and has served as a teacher, coach, Athletic Director, Administrator at both the high school and collegiate levels.  Jody carries a dual portfolio as Associate Director for the Minnesota State High School League (MSHSL) and co-founder of the InSideOut Initiative. Jody oversees Minnesota’s education program for 500 member high schools that includes a professional development program, continuing education requirement and ongoing support and outreach. Her leadership skills and passion for education-based-athletics led her to develop an extensive curriculum called WHY WE PLAY, intended to redirect the focus of the win-at-all-costs sports culture.
Twitter @ISOInitiative and email at [email protected]

Joe Ehrmann is the critically acclaimed author ofInsideOut Coaching: How Sports Can Transform Lives. He was an All American football player, was named to Syracuse University’s All-Century Team, lettered in lacrosse and received the Arents Award, SU’s Most Distinguished Alumni honor for his contributions to society.  Joe played professional football for 13 years and was named Baltimore Colt’s Man of the Year.  He was the NFL’s first Ed Block Courage Award Recipient, and named “The Most Important Coach in America” by Parade Magazine.  The Institute chose him as one of The Most Influential Sports Educators in America for International Sport. Joe also the subject of New York Times Best-Seller,Season of Life:  A Football Star, a Boy, A Journey to Manhood. Among many other awards, the Baltimore Business Journal selected him as the Renaissance Person of the Decade for his dedication and commitment to Baltimore City’s betterment.  He was the National Fatherhood Initiative’s Man of the Year and the Frederick Douglass National Man of the Year award recipient for empowering youth to prevent rape and other forms of male violence.
Twitter: @JoeEhrmann76 and email at [email protected]

Nate Baldwin is an experienced recreation programmer and advocate for inclusive, high quality youth sport experiences.  From 2014 to 2020, Nate led the revitalization of the Appleton (WI) Parks & Recreation youth sports program.  Through the development and delivery of a program vision centered on core values of inclusion, skill development, balance, and lifelong enjoyment of sport, the Appleton P&R youth sports program grew by an astonishing 75% during Nate’s tenure, reversing multiple years of participation decline that mirrored national trends.  This work culminated in recognition as an inaugural Aspen Institute Project Play Champion in 2018, and guest appearances with the Changing the Game Project, as well as their hosted “Way of Champions” podcast. Prior to serving in Appleton and committing to his passion for youth sport, Nate created and managed an adult social sports business in Denver, CO (Western Alternative Sports Assn.), which in 10 years, elevated from startup to one of the largest independent recreation providers in the state, and was featured on the Discovery Channel series “Wreckreation Nation” in 2009. In addition to his appearances with Changing the Game Project and Project Play, Nate also serves as a regular speaker, presenter and writer at  the regional and national level, sharing insight, advice and best practices with all who seek to redefine and deliver a better youth sports experience.
Twitter: @nbaldwin75 and email at [email protected].

Beverly Smith is a Canadian basketball player and coach. Smith played college basketball at the Oregon Ducks, where she was named a Women’s Basketball Coaches Association All-American in 1981 and 1982. Smith is a former Oregon student-athlete who coached and played in the Olympics, Smith is an exemplary teacher of the game. A Salmon Arm, B.C., native, she served as the Canadian National Team women’s coach from 1997 to 2001 before former UO assistant coach Allison McNeill took over those reins in October 2001. Most recently, she served as an assistant coach for Team Canada in the 2016 Rio Games.
Twitter: @kidsportsbev and email at [email protected]

Listen on, iTunes, Spotify, and Stitcher

Highlights from the Podcast:

  • What has this great “pause” in youth sports brought to attention?
  • How do we know when we as parents are giving our child the best chance to succeed?
  • What are the opportunities for HS athletes during this time?
  • Sports should “complement, not consume our lives”
  • How will the pandemic change the demand of Youth Sports?
  • What will sports look like with all the new restraints?
  • How can program directors layer in character development?
  • Do organizations know the “why” they do what they do?
  • “Youth sports should be a delivery system for character development curriculum.”
  • What are the outcomes of character development and transformational coaching?
  •  “Character can’t be taught, it must be modeled.”
  • Do we clearly define what a coach’s expectations are as the leader of that team?
  • How to grow a program that includes ongoing coach training
  • Do volunteer coaches want training and how do you keep them coming back?
  • Creating a new scoreboard for assessing coaches and defining success
  • What happens when a coach pushes back on teaching character development, aka “Resistors”
  • “To be a better coach, you need to be a better you.”
  • How do you create a trickle down effect so that youth coaches create athletes that want to keep coming back?
  • With no youth sport governing body, how do we make changes nationwide?
  • What happens when public park and rec associations are actively shying away from growth and change?
  • Can we be more proactive with organizations to provide opportunities for athletes to participate in sport?
  • How do we spread the message that physical play is not just for the physical, but the social-emotional benefits

Four Questions every coach should consider, from InsideOut Coaching:

  1. Why do you coach?
  2. Why do you coach the way you coach?
  3. How does it feel to be coached by you?
  4. How do you define success?

Resources Mentioned

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