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The Impact of Good Coaching

By Dan England, 5280, 01/05/18, 12:00PM CST

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“He preaches that competition and winning are important because they’re great challenges that help athletes learn more about themselves on and off the field.” 

There’s one at every Little League game: that parent who berates his kid from the stands for every missed ground ball, or the coach who makes his players run postgame sprints while the other team has a pizza party.

No one likes that guy, but he might be inflicting even more damage than we think: In fact, says the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency (USADA), multiple studies of youth hockey and soccer teams show that pressure from competitive coaches and parents who prioritize winning led to players who were more likely to cheat and use performance-enhancing drugs.

Enter TrueSport, a Colorado Springs–based department of the USADA that teaches parents, coaches, and kids how to take care of their bodies, exhibit good sportsmanship, and understand that the final score isn’t the only — or even the primary — reason to play.