The Hippocratic Oath & Soccer
CAC SDL Coach Turner Humphries writes about our week with Futebol Social in Sao Roque, Brazil.
April 19th 2016. From Rio de Janeiro our team made the journey to Sao Roque, a small town outside of Sao Paulo. In Sao Roque we had around forty participants, all with varied backgrounds and coaching experience. In the group were students, teachers, jiu jitsu coaches, volleyball players, skateboarders and CrossFit enthusiasts. Having such a diverse group allows for many different views on the social messages our games address. Furthermore, it challenges both the CAC team and the participants to think of ways to adapt our games to best suit their discipline.
For this week of training we would be joined by Davi Alexander, a Community Impact Coach from ACER Brasil, a different organization in Sao Paulo. Davi met us for breakfast each morning as we discussed how to best impact the participants and which games we had planned for that day. Over coffee and bananas, we worked with Davi to find games for him to coach that would serve to aid in his development. Davi was able to coach a wide variety of games, including activities that addressed gender equity, conflict prevention and drug and alcohol abuse.
At every CAC training we discuss our child protection policy with the participants. For this week we decided to add in another component to our discussion. With the participants in small groups we gave them three different scenarios. Each scenario required the participants to resolve a complex issue where the rights of the child were not being protected. For example, one of the scenarios was as follows: you are an assistant coach and you witness the head coach verbally abusing a number of the players and embarrassing them in front of the whole team – what do you do? Among the responses were, ‘speak privately with the head coach about his/her behavior,’ ‘speak with a senior club or school official to ensure action is taken regarding the coach,’ ‘give encouraging words to the players to try and improve their self-esteem.’ One thing all these responses have in common is being proactive. It was encouraging to hear so much feedback from the participants and see them working together to discuss child rights issues. An issue a number of the participants raised during the week was the intense focus on winning at the youth level. We heard that because of this results based approach many children were dropping out of their sports teams. ‘Above all else sport should be fun,’ one participant proclaimed. Speaking privately with another participant, he told me that coaches should be required to sign a document similar to the Hippocratic Oath – a document that all those in the medical profession must adhere to. The main tenet of the Hippocratic Oath is that first, do no harm. Now with a fresh cadre of games, I hope that the coaches, jiu jitsu teachers and CrossFitters can bring some of the fun back into sports in Sao Roque.