As Coaching Corps Introduces Free Empathy Training Across the Country, Davis Joins National Movement to Ensure Every Child Has Access to Great Mentors Through Sports
Oakland, Calif – June 14, 2021 – Having experienced the power of a great coach himself growing up in Oakland, California, former NBA All-Star Antonio Davis recognizes the power of coaches and mentors to change the life trajectories of youth. To help put that power to work where it’s most needed, Davis is joining the Board of Directors at Coaching Corps. The Oakland-based nonprofit recruits, trains and supports youth sports coaches in communities, where systemic disinvestment has led to the health, educational and economic inequities facing primarily communities of color.
Davis is joining the Coaching Corps Board just as the organization launches its national commitment to ensuring that coaches have the skills necessary to teach and model empathy to young people. As the country emerges from a year of challenges, it’s never been more important for young people to have access to a mentor with the skills to make a difference through sports. Because Coaching Corps believes empathy is essential to positive coaching, the organization is offering the only free online empathy training available for coaches across the country working with youth living in under-resourced communities.
“I understand how important a coach can be in the life of a young athlete because I, and so many others, have lived it,” says Davis. “Empathy is understanding how to connect with kids to create positive outcomes together and is a critical piece of a coach’s ability to truly impact someone’s future. I’m so proud to join Coaching Corps and help give coaches, especially those in underserved communities, the tools they need to be a great mentor through sports. As someone who benefited from a strong role model, I’m honored to be part of a national movement to help coaches be ready to make connections.”
In 16 seasons in professional basketball, Davis played in Europe for 3 and then spent 13 years in the NBA for the Indiana Pacers, Toronto Raptors, Chicago Bulls, and New York Knicks. During that time, he was also elected President of the National Basketball Players Association (NBPA). After retiring from professional basketball, Davis was hired as a studio analyst for NBA broadcasts on ESPN, as well as co-host and analyst on SiriusXM’s NBA Radio. This video shares more from Davis on his experience as a youth athlete and his thoughts on the importance of positive coaching.
The systemic inequalities faced by youth in under-resourced communities lead to discrimination, economic hardship, racism and exposure to violence, which can result in toxic stress, a condition that often leads to lifelong challenges in learning, behavior and mental and physical health. Fortunately, research indicates that supportive, responsive relationships with caring adults – like teachers and coaches – can prevent, and even reverse, the damaging impacts of toxic stress response. Based on this evidence, Coaching Corps has developed empathy training that teaches coaches and mentors how to appreciate the perspective of kids, to connect with them. With deep listening and self-reflection, coaches learn to develop strong relationships with kids and to create a supportive and healing environment.
“The world looks different for young people coming out of the pandemic. Youth in under-resourced communities will be navigating increased challenges from the impacts of systemic inequalities,” said Janet Carter, CEO. “But we also know that a coach who can make a child feel seen, heard and understood can make a profound difference in the lives of children through sports. That’s why Coaching Corps is offering our Coaching with Empathy training free to youth coaches working in under-resourced communities. We’re thrilled that Antonio values the power of having an empathetic coach and has joined our board to help deepen the positive impact that trained coaches can have on young people.”
According to The Aspen Institute’s Project Play Initiative, positive sports experiences are associated with a range of benefits for youth, including: higher future earnings; less smoking and drug use; decreased risk of heart disease, diabetes and childhood obesity; higher academic achievement and productivity; improved life skills; and better overall mental health and self-esteem. A good coach can transform the future of youth athletes by ensuring that they learn how to work together, celebrate success, manage failure, and build healthy relationships with their peers.
About Coaching Corps
Since 2012, Coaching Corps has been fueling a movement of skilled coaches to give kids in under-resourced communities the sports mentors they want and deserve. By partnering with over 600 afterschool programs across the country, Coaching Corps has provided more than 200,000 youth in under-resourced communities with the opportunity to play sports under the guidance of a caring, well-trained coach. Informed by the latest research on youth character development, Coaching Corps trains coaches to foster persistence, optimism, self-regulation and empathy in kids, providing coaches with the ongoing support they need to ensure girls and boys in under-resourced communities learn skills that last lifetimes. Based in Oakland, California, Coaching Corps is a 501(c)(3) organization. More information about Coaching Corps can be found at www.coachingcorps.org.