The Importance of a Coach and a Mentor in the Lives of Youth (Part Two)

In part two of our three part series on the benefits of mentoring and coaching youth, we’ll look at who needs it most and why.

It is estimated that over 40% of teens’ waking hours are spent without adult supervision.  That means that nearly half of their time is spent making their own choices.  That can be kind of scary.  In part one we looked at the consequences of youth not utilizing mentoring or coaching opportunities.  By seeking out their own role models, teens may gravitate to a less-than-ideal person to emulate.  This is a common cry for help and where mentoring is needed most.

Chuck HortChuck Horton started his Golden Gloves Program as a means to help troubled youth.on

Chuck Horton started his Golden Gloves Program as a means to help troubled youth.

Chuck Horton has seen first-hand how mentoring can turn around the life of a young person.  The Duluth, Minnesota boxing coach has been charged over the years with mentoring a number of youth popping up in the juvenile offender system.  These kids desperately need mentoring and coaching, and Horton provides it.  Through his Golden Gloves program he brings them into the gym and teaches them discipline and the sport of boxing.  There are also life lessons too plentiful to count as the older boxers share their stories of the struggles of sobriety and life on the straight and narrow.

Many of the youth Horton sees come from disadvantaged or single parent homes.  They may be in that category of having too much time unsupervised and find themselves in with a bad crowd.  But that could happen to anyone, at any socio-economic level, in any neighborhood.  Sometimes kids are just struggling to find their niche, their band-of-brothers with whom they can bond and grow.  

Horton is happy to provide such a place and the boxing coach has done it many times, developing some into world ranked athletes.  He has taken teens and stripped them of their bad habits, their negativity, and their penchant for making bad choices.  Through mentoring and coaching he instills in them self confidence and positive beliefs.  By using physical conditioning, conversation, and mental exercises he has helped to turn their lives around.  Often times just when they needed it most.

Author: Roxanne Wilmes

 To learn more, check out Chuck Horton’s other sites.

The Importance of a Coach and a Mentor in the Lives of Youth (Part One)

Horton is there to guide a young person through a tough part of their life.

Horton is there to guide a young person through a tough part of their life.

In this three-part series we will look at the benefits of coaching and mentoring youth.  First you must define each term both on its own and also as it relates to the other.  A mentor will be someone who shares an equal level of power in a low-pressure mentoring relationship.  The bulk of the relationship is based on free-flowing conversation and guidance that takes place as mentors share their experiences and past mistakes to guide youth to better choices.

A coach on the other hand has a vested interest in the relationship.  For example, Duluth, Minnesota boxing coach Chuck Horton sees his job as one where he breaks the youth down, so to speak, to a base level and builds them back up.  There is a definite superior/subordinate relationship as they work toward specific goals such as a certain match or game.  Once those goals are met, the coach will measure, monitor, and adjust the program to keep the youth moving forward successfully.

The above definitions may seem to be splitting hairs to some.  After all, many coaches like Horton are also mentors to young people.  One way we see this crossover role is the delivery of positive affirmations to build confidence.  As a coach conveys his belief that a pupil is good/strong/fast enough to meet their desired goal, the student now begins to perceive himself that way, somewhat leveling the playing field with the expert, the coach.

Youth that do not have access to traditional mentors or coaches in their life may fill that need with a poor role model.  They might look to emulate someone with a criminal lifestyle, someone involved with drugs, or someone who is a bully.  They see that the role model’s negative behavior is getting them attention, albeit with negative results.  The young person now finds himself in a downward spiral where it is difficult to escape the path they’ve chosen.  The negative role model will seek to tighten his control of the relationship, pushing the youth further into trouble.

It is not impossible for someone in the last scenario to turn things around.  But they do need help, usually in the form of mentoring and positive guidance.  Often times that person has gone through a similar situation.  A coach like Horton can guide the young person through difficult choices, showing them the consequences of their actions depending on which path they choose to travel.  Left without such navigational guidance, youth have very little chance to right the ship.

Author: Roxanne Wilmes

 Please check out Chuck Horton’s other websites to learn more.