Become an ally in competition
Don't forget to register to become an Ally in Competition.
As an Ally, you will be a leader in our community, advocating for domestic and sexual violence victims, armed with education materials to inform your team of ways to not only recognize victims, but to help them, too.
Competition and sportsmanship are important aspects of many children, young adult and adult lives. Teams are where many individuals find the camaraderie and friends that help shape their lives.
These bonds allow fellow teammates and coaches to become some of the most influential people in a person's life. Coaches have the opportunity to use this influence to help teach topics like consent, healthy relationships and respecting all others. They are also able to see changes in individuals that may be warning signs that a player is in a violent dating relationship.
Acknowledging warning signs with the player could help put a stop to a potentially dangerous relationship.
Athletic coaches play an extremely influential and unique role in the lives of young men and women, often serving as a second parent or mentor to the people they coach. Because of these special relationships, coaches are uniquely poised to positively influence how young men and women think and behave both on, and off, the field. Encouraging and expecting players to live a violence-free lives is a significant step in ending domestic and sexual violence.
Speaking out against domestic and sexual violence sends a message that it is unacceptable.
“I have always believed that a role model can be anyone.
It’s important for people to realize that young people are always looking at them for guidance, whether that grown person is aware of it or not. ”
— Dean Smith
Hall of Fame Coach, University of North Carolina
Consider creating a pledge
Creating a pledge that states your team's stance against violence and promise to treat everyone with respect is a great way to allow players to hold each other accountable. Have all of your players and coaches sign this pledge.
Also, consider hosting "Fan Pledge Days" where your announcer tells the fans in the stadium about the team's pledge and encourages both the other team's players and all the fans to sign the pledge, too.
Examples of pledges can be found on
"Coaching Boys into Men" website.
Teen dating violence and sexual assault facts
remember, you have a unique opportunity to influence both victims and abusers
- Nearly 1.5 million high school students nationwide experience physical abuse from a dating partner in a single year.
- One in three adolescents in the U.S. is a victim of physical, sexual, emotional or verbal abuse from a dating partner, a figure that far exceeds rates of other types of youth violence.
- One in 10 high school students has been purposefully hit, slapped or physically hurt by a boyfriend or girlfriend.
Is bullying different?
- It is important to remember that bullying is unwanted and aggressive behavior that is repeated over time and involves an imbalance of power. This behavior is very similar to behaviors for dating violence.
- This behavior should be stopped immediately. Make sure your players know that name-calling and bullying are unacceptable and you expect everyone to hold their fellow teammates accountable both on and off the field.
- There is evidence that bullying can lead to domestic violence in later years. Victims of abuse may have suffered from bullying in their childhood while perpetrators may have been bullies during their school years.
Examples of bullying:
Physical – kicking, hitting, pushing, taking and damaging belongings
Verbal – name-calling, insulting, threats, teasing and racist remarks
Social alienation – gossip, excluding from a group (especially in middle school)
Sexual harassment – unwelcome comments or advances
- Violent relationships in adolescence can have serious ramifications by putting the victims at higher risk for substance abuse, eating disorders, risky sexual behavior and further domestic violence.
- Being physically or sexually abused makes teen girls six times more likely to become pregnant and twice as likely to get a STI.
- Half of youth who have been victims of both dating violence and rape attempt suicide, compared to 12.5% of non-abused girls and 5.4% of non-abused boys.
“We teach players that honor and respect are keys to a team playing a game.
How can we not teach them that honor and respect are even more important in their lives?”
— Tubby Smith
Head Coach, University of Minnesota