Real Talk for Real Teachers with Julie Ruffo, Certified Instructor Jenny Spencerand special guest Susan Loper

Episode Summary

Fear is an emotion we all experience. Young athletes are especially likely to encounter fear, whether it’s when stepping into a pool, performing in front of a packed crowd, or trying a new stunt. If you grew up playing sports, you were likely taught to ignore big feelings like fear and simply push through. Today, we know there’s a better way.

Awareness about the importance of mental health for athletes is increasing, and it’s become clear that instilling emotionally healthy skills in young athletes is critical. Rather than encouraging young athletes to bury big feelings, it’s incredibly powerful to coach them in identifying these feelings and handling them with emotionally sound strategies. By using Conscious Discipline to teach emotional awareness and self-regulation, coaches can help young athletes perform better in the moment and equip them with the skills they need for lifelong well-being and mental health.

Join Conscious Discipline Certified Instructor Jenny Spencer in conversation with Susan Loper to learn more about coaching young athletes through a Conscious Discipline lens. Susan is an education specialist at a gymnastics and swim school in North Carolina. She uses deep belly breathing, noticing, connection, and other Conscious Discipline strategies to empower her young athletes to identify and work through big feelings.

Essential Takeaways

  • When training for coaches suggested distracting upset students and simply moving on to the next activity, Susan’s Conscious Discipline experience reminded her there was a better way. She began breathing with the children and helping them learn to calm and handle their fears.
  • Noticing, or describing a child’s actions without judgment, is another Conscious Discipline skill that translates to coaching. It helps children build self-awareness and creates a connection in which children feel truly seen.
  • Connecting with young athletes through name games and shared rituals wires the brain for impulse control, willingness, motivation, attention and more. It helps young athletes build the bonds they need to thrive both within their sports and in life.
  • Even if you only see children for a few hours each week, implementing Conscious Discipline in your coaching can make a powerful impact.

Important Links

Product Mentions

Show Outline

  • :00 Introduction
  • 1:40 Certified Instructor Jenny Spencer in conversation with special guest Susan Loper
  • 1:48 Susan’s journey with Conscious Discipline
  • 3:04 Using Conscious Discipline in community athletic programs
  • 5:13 Coaching parents and staff in Conscious Discipline
  • 7:01 Using commitments with young athletes
  • 8:12 Top tips for coaches
  • 11:09 How Conscious Discipline makes a difference for young athletes
  • 15:29 Recap and conclusion
  • 17:28 What is Conscious Discipline up to?


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