Sports Team Creates Behavioral Health Department

I’m a Yankee fan so promoting the Red Sox is sort of unchartered territory, but my wife and kids are Sox fans so consider this a generous peace offering: The Sox have created a Behavioral Health department of sorts that appears focused on development of its own players but may perhaps be part of a broader public service for the Massachusetts community designed to reinforce the importance of dealing with distraction and losing and challenges in productive ways. I’m looking into interviewing the Sox department chief but meantime would be the first in line to advocate for a course on Losing 101 to enter the core curriculum for all kids from elementary age up through high school. The mixed messages kids and coaches get today has a tremendous influence on behaviors and long term effects. Like pro baseball players who must deal with the distraction of fans and media, youngsters are no doubt distracted by the absurdity of some youth sports and programs that set confusing eligibility and fairness rules, see consequence as an enemy and yet continue to keep score. The result, similar to healthcare today, is limited accountability and limited consistency. Outcomes suffer. Think about the 7 year old who is being taught to be a teammate by coaches, but told by dad he’ll get a donut for scoring 7 points and plays for only that Boston Crème; he learns selfishness;, or the 9 year old who is mocked at school for being on a team that loses in a game where the referees do not call things like travelling or double dribbling, rules this 9-year-old follows; she learns she has no friends and that following rules doesn’t work. Perhaps the Sox are only focused on their own team’s behavioral health but if nothing else this shines a brighter light on sports and psychology.

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