How might you, as a coach, provide a welcoming environment where athletes from diverse cultures feel free to be themselves? Learning about the backgrounds of your athletes is a helpful place to start. From there, you can work to incorporate aspects of the athletes’ cultures into the training setting. For example, learning and using words or phrases from the first languages of your athletes can be a great way of creating a more welcoming space (Schinke et al., 2013).
An athlete’s culture can significantly influence their approach to sport. Coaches should consider the ways in which their programs can be informed by or impact their athletes’ cultural values.
As a coach, what are you doing to ease the adjustment process for athletes who are new to Euro-Canadian sport settings in ways that do not require athletes to forget who they are? Schinke et al. (2013) shared some strategies in their article. Examples include informing your approach by learning about athletes’ home cultures, greeting athletes in their primary languages, and facilitating connections between new athletes and athletes who have already spent time navigating the adjustment process.
Diverse coaches should look out not only for their athletes, but for each other as well. Racialized coaches often feel isolated, lonely, and tokenized (OUA, 2021). Similar to learning about their athletes’ backgrounds, coaches can learn about the backgrounds of each other as a way to connect on a meaningful level while enhancing their own cultural competence.
Where Do I Start?
Here are some resources that may be helpful as you take action in making sport settings more inclusive, diverse, and equitable:
- The Coaching Association of Canada – Diversity and Inclusion
Ontario University Athletics (OUA). (2021, October). Are we one?: The Ontario university athletics anti-racism
report. OUA. https://oua.ca/documents/2021/10/25/OUA_Anti_Racism_Report.pdf
Schinke, R. J., McGannon, R. K., Battochio, R. C., & Wells, G. D., (2013). Acculturation in elite sport: A thematic
analysis of immigrant athletes and coaches. Journal of Sport Sciences, 31(15), 1676-1686. https://doi.org/10.1080/02640414.2013.794949