Wednesday, October 17, 2018
News Roundup

Hooper: Positive Coaching Alliance guides kids by digging into the ‘ROOTS’

Jennifer arrived at Northdale Recreation Center this summer full of the kind of energy that led her to get into trouble.

Counselors, however, found a solution thanks to the Positive Coaching Alliance. They literally dug deep and addressed the problem at its "ROOTS," the acronym representing a curriculum to help create a healthier outlook in kids. They nurtured a new Jennifer, one who matured before their very eyes.

"She put more effort into learning from her mistakes," said Zuleika Smith, a Rec II Leader at Northdale Rec Center. "In effect, she went from getting into trouble every day to the coaches almost not realizing she was present.

"She didn’t even get into small trouble."

The story reflects the attitude more than 1,000 students will take back to school today after a summer of learning the Positive Coaching Alliance principles through a partnership with the Hillsborough County Parks and Recreation Department. The collaborative effort helped students at six different centers: Keystone, Northdale, Country Place, Jackson Springs, Emmanuel P. Johnson and Gardenville.

At its best, sports helps young people learn life lessons that will carry them through college and into the professional world. Critics often perceive an over-emphasis on winning as a root evil in sports, but the alliance pushes the positive intangibles while never failing to overlook that life is indeed about winning and losing and how you handle each outcome.

ROOTS urges kids to have respect for Rules, Opponents, Officials, Teammates, Self. It’s a fancy acronym but it yielded solid results. The counselors devoted each week to a different letter, reviewing the key facts on Fridays.

Each day, counselors might remind the kids, "Hey, didn’t we talk about respecting the rules, didn’t we talk about respecting others."

Perhaps the emphasis on "self" resonated the most for a child named "M.J."

"I saw him not only apply the lessons such as more effort, respect, and learning from your mistakes," said Karlie Minter, a Rec I leader at Northdale. "I saw him apply it to other children in his group. If a mistake was made, he was the first child to let them know that it was okay. If he saw a child that he knew had a little bit more of them, he was always cheering them on to try harder."

It all may seem a bit too lofty for kids between the ages of 8 and 14, or perhaps too warm and fuzzy. But I think adults underestimate the care kids can apply to principles.

"I’ve got three children of my own," said Mark Sakalosky, executive director of the Positive Coaching Alliance in Tampa Bay. "I think I can reflect on a number of personal experiences and intentional conversations they’ve learned from.

"I’m amazed at what my children have learned through different events. Children are always learning something, always taking something in. As parents, we’re always teaching them something, whether we mean to or not."

Counselors at the centers embraced the alliance’s structured format. Having a system in place across the county enabled them to compare notes, swap ideas and craft a plan on what works best.

"It was so nice to work with them," said Mason Cathey, the alliance’s Tampa Bay community impact manager, who saw the kids cap off the summer by attending a Tampa Bay Rays game on Aug. 2.

Now, with the help of additional sponsors and funding, the alliance will look to extend its summer engagement into the county’s after-school programs, hopeful of getting the same results.

The ROOTS effort represents its broader mission to "bring the power of positive" to youth sports.

The Positive Coaching Alliance also has character and leadership programs for high school athletes in Hillsborough, Pasco and Manatee Counties, touching more than 2,000 students.

And it holds training sessions for parents and coaches. In fact, every Hillsborough County high school coach who receives a stipend is required to undergo a training session through the alliance.

The seminars help both coaches and parents understand that with the wrong guidance, a child can end up like those in a survey that indicated 70 percent of kids quit all sports by the time they turn 13 — often because adults take the fun out of the game.

"That’s a real disheartening fact because it really deprives them of that opportunity to learn those life lessons," said Sakalosky, the executive director. "We all have to recognize only 2 percent of high school athletes go on to play on the collegiate level. An even smaller percentage play professionally.

"If we’re judging ourselves on the number of kids who go on to play collegiately, we’re failing miserably. So, we have to ask, ‘What are we really doing here?’ There has to be a higher purpose."

Sakalosky, a former cable television executive and father of three, watches how sports participation affects his children. The former high school baseball player knows there’s so much more to be gleaned from sports.

Like Sakalosky, I’ve seen athletics help my own children mature and thrive in other arenas. They may not have been the best athletes on the team — they do have the genetic disadvantage of being my kids — but I’ve witnessed lessons about leadership, respect, teamwork and diligence arise from their involvement.

When you marry sports participation with thoughtful guidance, you can never underestimate what can take root.

That’s all I’m saying.

Comments
Searing heat continues to remain intact across Tampa Bay

Searing heat continues to remain intact across Tampa Bay

Another October day, another potential record-high temperature in Tampa Bay.
Updated: 7 minutes ago
Casey Levy adds an edge to Clearwater Central Catholic’s ground game

Casey Levy adds an edge to Clearwater Central Catholic’s ground game

CLEARWATER — Casey Levy can absorb pain. Two years ago, he was helping a friend chop down a tree with an axe. Suddenly, the steel blade flew off the wooden handle, striking Levy in the knee.The cut required about 10 stitches."I'm not allow...
Updated: 10 minutes ago
John Romano: Liberals are dreaming when it comes to holding on to Florida’s Supreme Court

John Romano: Liberals are dreaming when it comes to holding on to Florida’s Supreme Court

This was a smackdown, no doubt about it.The state Supreme Court just rendered the judicial equivalent of a loud guffaw regarding Gov. Rick Scott’s claim he is entitled to replace three retiring Supreme Court justices before he leaves office.And yet, ...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Best pizza in the U.S. comes from this Boston restaurant, TripAdvisor says

Best pizza in the U.S. comes from this Boston restaurant, TripAdvisor says

TripAdvisor offered its views of the best pizza restaurants in the country, and while New York can claim one big victory, it fell short of the ultimate prize -- the best pizzeria in the land.
Updated: 1 hour ago
Michael’s most vulnerable evacuees make Pasco shelter their new home

Michael’s most vulnerable evacuees make Pasco shelter their new home

HUDSON — Linda Wood lay on a metal cot, closed her eyes and tried to get some sleep Monday night. Pictures of her Panama City apartment some 300 miles away kept flashing through her mind. The nearly blind 71-year-old envisioned her chocolate-c...
Updated: 3 hours ago
Dr. BBQ opens to the public today. Here’s a look.

Dr. BBQ opens to the public today. Here’s a look.

ST. PETERSBURGDr. BBQ needed a beer. Mission accomplished: A sip of Green Bench’s Dr. BBQ Pale Lager dispatched, he was ready to start the tour. See that teal tufted couch against that wall? It’s like something from Girl & the Goat in Chicago. The wo...
Updated: 3 hours ago
Report: Tampa drivers pay different insurance rates based on ZIP code

Report: Tampa drivers pay different insurance rates based on ZIP code

It can be tough to figure out why insurance companies charge some more than others for auto coverage. But a recent analysis by the Consumer Federation of America suggests that a driver’s neighborhood could be a factor. The analysis, released Monday, ...
Updated: 3 hours ago
The Daystarter: Pasco welcomes Hurricane Michael evacuees; how long will the Panhandle be without power?; long-awaited debut of Dr. BBQ is today

The Daystarter: Pasco welcomes Hurricane Michael evacuees; how long will the Panhandle be without power?; long-awaited debut of Dr. BBQ is today

Catching you up on overnight happenings, and what to know today.• Highs in the low 90s, though a tad cooler along the coast. No chance of rain, so expect a dry afternoon as well, according to the National Weather Service. The temperatures will start...
Updated: 4 hours ago
What I learned about food by eating a 27-course meal at Dan Barber’s Blue Hill at Stone Barns

What I learned about food by eating a 27-course meal at Dan Barber’s Blue Hill at Stone Barns

A recent trip to upstate New York provided the perfect excuse to try the renowned chef’s restaurant, and a once-in-a-lifetime meal.
Updated: 12 hours ago
‘The Oath’ is a political satire that’s ripped, like a Band-Aid, from today’s headlines

‘The Oath’ is a political satire that’s ripped, like a Band-Aid, from today’s headlines

This blistering political satire may reopen a political wound that has barely had time to heal.
Published: 10/17/18