Coaches learning to develop more than just athletes

A call to coaches training
Published: Mar. 15, 2013 at 2:23 PM EDT|Updated: Apr. 14, 2013 at 2:23 PM EDT
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CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) - The way some experts see it, boys and young men are in trouble.

"It's critical. It's critical we grab a hold of our young men and boys and really start to develop men of character." says Tony Porter of A Call to Men. "And it's on the shoulder of men."

Porter says society is teaching young men to be aggressive, dominating, and to objectify women. He  points to violence against women, 'epidemic of domestic violence', and the number of men becoming entrenched in the criminal justice system as proof that men never learn how to develop.

So Porter held a discussion Thursday morning called 'Calling All Coaches.'

He says "Because coaches have a tremendous amount of influence over men and boys. As men, they're the men - men look up to, as surely the men boys look up to."

"When I think about my own high school coach, what I'm most impressed with is how he walked the talk" says James Brown, the host of the NFL on CBS, who along with Carolina Panthers' head coach Ron Rivera and former and current professional football players, led the discussion on "Developing young men of character."

This is the first time Porter's group held the 'Calling all Coaches' seminar. 400 coaches and mentors who work with young men in the Carolinas attended.

Porter says he wants to make sure coaches develop more than athletic abilities. He wants young men to learn "Our morals, our character, how to be good men. How to process our anger, how to share our feelings, how to be open."

James Brown says "Men of character, men of integrity" means "It's self respect. But also respecting others."

Organizers says the best way coaches and mentors can teach character is to talk about it and show it.

"Using the example of practicing" says Brown "it's like repetition – doing the same thing properly, doing it and executing it well. That's what's so important."

"Envision the football coach – at the end of the game and 40 boys around him in the circle – in that moment he's more important than God, their mama, their daddy. He's the most important thing in their lives."

Porter says the purpose of the seminar is to raise "awareness" in coaches and mentors and "mobilize, promote healthy respectful manhood."

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