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Highly trained coaches can be the most transformative adults in young people’s lives and can inspire their success on the field, in the classroom, and in life. – Up2Us Sports

Since the fall of 2013, MAM has partnered with Up2Us Sports, a nationwide leader, trainer, and developer of sports-based youth development, to strengthen our coaches’ efforts through trauma sensitive training. Coaches learn how to create an inclusive, positive team culture and how to design practices with high levels of physical activity. Most importantly, coaches learn how to help youth translate the skills they learn on the field, such as teamwork, perseverance, integrity, and respect, into other areas of their lives.

Every year, our Up2Us coaches attend the Coach Training Institute (CTI), a multi-day intensive and immersive training taught through dynamic activities and collaborative conversations. Coaches explore ideas surrounding the value of physical activity and its impact on the body and the brain, discover how to build powerful relationships and team culture, and challenge perceptions on behavior and performance. Last week, four MAM coaches attended CTI in Chicago, Illinois.

Kyle Bennison, sports program director, says, “CTI is such a great time because you get to meet coaches from all over the country who are like-minded in that they also want to mentor youth through sports. The trainings emphasize how important and impactful it is for youth to have a healthy, caring adult relationship, to strengthen their social fabric, and to be physically active, which can benefit them in many other ways. Another important topic we cover in training is trauma and its impact on the brain’s overall function. From there, we are given tools to help us improve our programming and engagement with MAM participants. We focus on ways to help them improve positive self-identity and develop a growth mindset.”

“Going to this training was huge for me! It caused me to look through an entirely different lens when it comes to not only coaching kids, but loving them,” says Aaron Proctor, MAM Up2Us coach. “I learned that building a strong positive team culture at my gym is crucial. The Up2Us coaches thoroughly explained strategies that will be beneficial to our youth’s spiritual, mental, and emotional needs,” he continued.

Although the purpose of the trip to Chicago was business, MAM staff definitely took advantage of the opportunity to eat deep dish pizza and visit The Bean in Millennium Park.

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