The Appetite #79:

Shifting Toxic Sports Culture:

Reflections on Runner Mary Cain’s Story


Does sport culture need to change? We say, absolutely—and especially around weight! Mary Cain was the fastest high school distance runner in the world until she joined the best distance running program in the country, the Nike Oregon Project, coached by Alberto Salazar. From there, the abusive pressure to become thinner and thinner consumed her running career, leading her to disordered eating and suicidal thoughts, until she finally quit the team. In this episode of The Appetite, Opal Co-Founder and head of the Exercise + Sport Program Kara Bazzi, LMFT, CEDS sits down to talk about how Mary Cain’s story has started a landslide of advocacy within the distance running world. Kara explores how the culture of sport has become toxic, and what coaches can do about it.

Join Opal: Food + Body Wisdom on January 11, 2020 for our coaches workshop (hosted at the University of Washington): Creating a Healthy Sports Culture:  Facilitating Athletes’ Positive Relationship with Food, Body, and Exercise





Watch the NYT Opinion piece on Mary Cain via YouTube: “I Was the Fastest Girl in the World, Until I Joined Nike” 

Read Mary Cain’s OpEd in the New York Times: 

Sports Illustrated on Nike

Mary Cain tells her story on the Clean Sport Collective podcast

Mary Cain on The Science of Sport podcast

The Amelia Boone Interview: How the “Queen of Pain” Faces Down Her Demons

Lauren Fleshman, “I Changed My Body for My Sport. No Girl Should.” | NY OpEd

Jen Rhines on Weight and Body Composition in Running 

Hierarchy of Food Needs 

Relative Energy Deficiency-Syndrome (RED-S) Clinical Assessment Tool



Connect with Opal:


Instagram: @opalfoodandbody




Thank you to our team…

Daniel Guenther at Jack Straw Cultural Center:

Editing by Hans Anderson:

Music by Aaron Davidson:

Host and Producer Carter Umhau:

Podcast Transcript:

Carter 0:00
I’m host Carter. I’m how and before we begin today’s episode of appetite, I’d like to let you know about an event happening at Opel on January 11. It’s a coach’s workshop called creating a healthy sports culture, facilitating athletes positive relationship with food, body and exercise. This is a workshop that’s going to be helpful for really anybody that works with athletes in a professional setting. And it’s going to be happening at the University of Washington, so make sure you check out Opel food and body comm slash event. In order to find out more, we’d love to see you there. Hello, and welcome to the appetite a podcast brought to you by opal food and body wisdom, an eating disorder treatment center in Seattle, Washington. I’m your host Carter. I’m how a therapist, artist and writer. And today we’ll be talking about runner Mary Cain, who at just 17 was a distance running phenomenon. That is until she was recruited by Nikes elite running team called the Nike Oregon project. There she was coached by Alberto Salazar who Kane says constantly berated her around her weight, asking her to become thinner and thinner and thinner all under the guise of improving her performance. She recently wrote a New York Times op ed about how the win at all cost culture destroyed her running career and her body and led to disordered eating and even suicidality. This is a subject that is particularly important to opal co founder and exercise and sports director, Kara Bazzi, who is here to talk with us about Mary’s story, and others. Our hope today is to both dissect what’s super toxic about current sports culture, while also offering a bit more hope around what coaches and others that work with athletes can do to really transform the culture at play. Without further ado, hi, Kara. Hi. I have to just say, this talk that we’re hosting, we made the decision to do this before the article came out with Mary Cain. So it’s synchronicity. I mean, I can’t even believe the timing of it. So I’m very excited that this was already in the works. And we’re co hosting it with the University of Washington center for athletic leadership. And so I’m I am beyond happy with the timing. So good. Yeah. So I would imagine that a lot of listeners have no idea what article you’re referencing. Maybe some do maybe we have a lot of listeners, I know that we do that are athletes, but can you offer a bit of a summary into what has been going on in media right now? Yes. Around distance running?

Kara 2:33
Yes. So this is it’s my body has been buzzing for about two weeks around this because this is a really big deal. One because the article that Mary Kane and video that she came out with came through the New York Times front page online. And so that means that this has reached a way broader audience than then a lot of media has, and people are listening and in response to marry canes. So Mary cane basically came out about her experience running for the Nike Oregon project and for from her coach Alberto Salazar, and who was Mary Cain. Mary Cain was a high school foenum distance runner. So she was successful, really young before puberty. And Alberto Salazar recruited her I believe this summer after her sophomore year of high school. And so then she ran for him professionally, in the Nike Oregon project along with her counterparts that were actually much older. She is now I’m trying to think I believe she’s now 23 years old. And so she hasn’t been running for the Nike Oregon project for a little while now. But in some of her interviews, she states that she decided to come out about this, after Salazar has already gotten into trouble about doping practices. So he was already suspended as a coach. And that experience prompted her to consider bringing him off of the pedestal and really seeing her experience for what it was and then she’s taken the incredibly, incredibly brave step of putting this out into the world beyond the doping concerns. She’s bringing out the way he treated her around weight, and actually around her emotions and her emotional experiences and weight and and speaking very directly about the abuse that she suffered. Because of that other athletes from the Nike Oregon project are coming out and sharing their experiences and corroborating some of the information she’s given both of watching his practices around Mary Kane but also their own experiences with Salazar. And that is illuminated this this issue from even a much broader perspective outside of outside of Nike and really looking at the sport of distance running as a whole and questioning kind of what have been the practices and where have we been doing young athletes harm? Again, my my body’s buzzing as I’m even talking about it because this has been something that’s been a passion of mine since. I mean for 20 years since my own personal experience and distance running when i was in college my experiences in college is what dictated my career path to even come to the place of being a co founder of opal and creating the exercise and sport program so much related to the fact that this is not something that i believe is done well in sport culture around athletes relationship with their bodies and with nutrition and weight and performance so for mary kane story in particular we’ve got someone that was wasn’t she the fastest woman in the world at one point well the youngest yeah the in terms of her age and kind of her potential for for being a she was the fastest high school high school runner

Carter 5:42
okay so hugely successful and she then joins this team yes of was superstar coach yes and is with the nike oregon project which i’m assuming is the elite of the elite elite elite okay right promoted and with a stamp of a nike all over at the like kind of biggest best right athletic related company in the world yeah right so she is in this situation and as she’s trying to train and become even better the emphasis constantly is on you need to be smaller you need to lose weight you need to lose weight you only will be better

Kara 6:20
if you lose weight so she tells her story and talks about the beginning wasn’t like that she actually had a string of success she talks about part of the part of her journey where the weight piece came in and the biases and beliefs of alberto salazar that weren’t founded in any type of science she she states that he could said that she wasn’t fit enough for a particular race and in an athlete language that was that she was she was too fat that she had to be thinner and again other athletes have come out saying he he was pretty weight obsessed weight focused and he had very strong beliefs about a particular race weight was necessary to perform at peak performance and so the culture at nike was that everybody had their kind of race weight that they had to make he treated all athletes the same he treated male athletes the same female athletes the same and mary kane who was an adolescent which is very concerning to have i mean it’s concerning on all levels but she wasn’t even through puberty yet and still had a race weight that he wanted her to be at but the thing that’s been under a lot of scrutiny has been the ways coaches are approaching the weight piece when it comes to a sport like distance running where weight has relatability to sport performance but i think i mean this is again an area that i’ve been very passionate about around educating coaches because like the the manner in which you dress wait for an athlete is is very critical in how if you’re supporting somebody towards the path of an eating disorder or whether you’re supporting them to be a healthy athlete can you describe what the maybe more ideal language would be yeah so it’s interesting because i think one of the unfortunate pieces that isn’t i haven’t heard in the podcasts that have come out yet or in the articles that have come out yet is thinking about weight as as we would in our world at opel with a health at every size lens as separating weight from health so to take this into a sport context separating weight from sport performance and what i mean by that is i think a better approach for coaches is to focus on the athletes health and thinking about health coming first which involves a whole piece around nutrition sleep rest recovery training and having the weight be secondary and so especially i think for a growing athlete developing athlete an athlete who is in puberty i don’t think there should be any any any reason or any time that you are having a goal of a particular weight where somebody has to lose or gain weight to get to that goal unless somebody has unless somebody is in a restrictive food place and they’re having to gain weight from an eating disorder but it from a strict standpoint of weight and performance i don’t think there’s any time or reason you would do that for a developing athlete and so what i believe really is key for coaches is that that weight piece is secondary the way i’m hearing how sol’s are is approach this and how other coaches have approached it is very robotic and it’s i just don’t think it’s the way our bodies work bodies do different things with our practices around exercise and nutrition it’s not a guarantee that you even restrict calories and then your body will drop weight your body can may drop weight it may stay the same and may gain weight and so this idea or this notion that we can kind of play god on our body and make it reach a particular way is very destructive that’s a very disruptive To believe to put out there for athletes, especially because if they don’t make weight, what does that do psychologically, they think they’ve failed. And then there’s that whole spinning of what that does to break down the athlete’s mind and their psychology that also impacts sport performance. Yeah, I’m thinking about something that I heard Mary Kane say, and the New York Times video about her, there was a particular race with where she, when she was on the starting blocks, she already knew that she was she had lost exactly psychologically, she hadn’t made weight that day, this arbitrary weight that the coach had given her. And so she was already in a mindset of total and complete failure based off of that, and there was no race to run after that, basically,

right. And I’ve heard that from athletes that I’ve worked with that have been coached by other people, right, if you are going to tell like an athlete, that your ideal racing weight is this exact number, there’s a psychological component, that’s called belief in the placebo effect. So they can actually race poorly not because of their weight, but because they don’t believe in themselves, and they don’t believe the coach believes in them. And so they can already be going to the starting line feeling like a failure, and that will be reflected in their sport performance. So the fact that it’s being presented as it’s the weights fault, for a lack of sport performance is false. And it’s really destructive and damaging. Sport performance is a very complex and nuanced, and psychology is a part of it. And the belief we have in our own ability, and our confidence is a huge part of whether we succeed or not as an athlete in a sport competition. So it is it just causes a lot of harm, to have that type of approach for weight and performance. Especially when it comes to youth, youth athletes, you know, and athletes, kind of high school athletes, maybe this is not a time at all to have any conversations about weight. And then there’s some dialogue around but when it comes to elite athletes, and that sector of particular people, that might be a time that there is some some attention paid to weight. And we they call that periodization in sport where somebody can during their training or racing season, for example, in distance running, there might be a season that there is a manipulation of weight, to get leaner in order for that during that competition time. And then they kind of eat again with more freedom they put weight back on throughout the rest of the year. And some athletes have come out in response to the Mary Cain article, including Jen Ryan’s, who has talked about that’s been her experience that she had a really good experience with kind of this this weight component body composition, and it not developing into an eating disorder, her being able to do that in a quote unquote, healthy way. And she had not felt she had an experience of having coaches who have weight shamed her. And so she wanted to give an alternative perspective, which I completely appreciate. I think it’s really neat that she wants to create some diverse dialogue around this, you know, Jen was talking from her her own personal experience. And one of the reflections I had when I was reading her article was that she is in a unique category, she had kind of some of the, I believe some of the foundational pieces of competencies around food, in order to practice what I would call instrumental eating during her her racing season. So that when she was doing this instrumental eating and doing a little different minute, like attention and manipulation around it, it did not trigger eating disorder, psychopathology. So the reason that’s really important to name is there’s i don’t i think there’s a small percentage of people that could do that in a way that doesn’t trigger eating disorder, psychopathology. And you have to be working with people that are really educated around eating disorders, and nutrition and this whole psychology piece of it to really know whether you’re entering into that type of approach to eating, that doesn’t carry the risk factors of then developing an eating disorder, because unfortunately, I mean, we kind of talked about you’re playing with fire at that point, if you are doing some manipulation, to make a weight for a sport, there are so many people that are going to be at risk, that’s going to be a risk factor to then develop an eating disorder and then you kind of on this other path where you’re like me, and a lot of these athletes have dropped off and haven’t been able to sustain themselves in sport. And that’s another piece that I just think we’re doing a disservice to the athlete population because in sports nutrition, it’s so much more talking about the what of eating versus the how of eating, and we’re not talking about the relationship and the how of eating that is integral integral with all of this because that is a huge component of disordered eating. Is is the adage tudes the mindset. I mean, you’ve heard in this podcast, if you’ve listened to other episodes, there’s so much about that component of it. And so I believe that if we were able to bridge the two worlds of some of this, eating disorder knowledge, and eating competencies into kind of the typical sports nutrition of the what and the timing and the kind of the macronutrients that the body needs, along with these eating competencies, yeah, we would be serving our athletes well,

Carter 15:29
and those for anyone listening that wants to learn more about those, those are Ellen souders, eating competencies, and nutrition director, Julie church, and I did episodes on all of them, one for each right to talk about what those are one of the main highlights certainly being enough food,

Kara 15:44
but eating is the bottom they even they have a triangle like Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, or adequate eating is the foundation. Yes, yep. And you can’t get instrumental within food unless all of those other needs are met. Right? So imagine, you know, you got this high school girl who’s coming into this team? She has no I mean, like, I just, she hasn’t had the years of all this experience of working with a dietitian, which by the way, they didn’t have a dietician, or a sports psychologist on staff, not sort of their they had their own. They had their staff that they had people to talk to about with nutrition, and the psychology piece, but then there was also all sorts of concerns about their actual certifications, certifications, relationships, there wasn’t confidentiality, etc. So, Mary, to come into this system. Yeah. And of course, you know, I think one of the things with sports is the power structure, and a lot of athletes idealize the coach, and, you know, they’re, they’re not questioning a lot of these things. Because especially in that situation, it’s it’s Nike and the best running program in the country. So they must have it figured out, especially

Carter 16:50
with someone that age, that’s young, right. But we’ve talked many times around kind of the identity issues that can happen when an athlete is, you know, only an athlete, right? And that is the only fixture of their identity. And so if you if you’re in that position, where your whole world is your athletic performance, and you’re going to be in trouble, potentially, to be able to, I mean, yeah, it takes a lot to be able to advocate for oneself or question nicely, especially in some system of power and hierarchy. And I’m curious, too, about the gender roles as well.

Kara 17:28
Right. Right. I think, you know, I mean, that was one of the things Lauren fleshman has come out about is she’s really talked about the concern about the gender piece, and how the system is kind of made by men for men. And I would agree with that. I think that not that men can’t be incredible coaches. I think there’s a lot of incredible male coaches out there. And there’s a lot of I would call more masculine approaches to coaching that aren’t as effective for both male and female athletes,

Carter 18:03
masculine approaches, meaning what? Well, I

Kara 18:05
mean, in this case, I mean, one of the one of the things that stands out to me was, when there’s a podcast that were Carrie Goucher hosted Mary Cain. So Carrie Goucher is also a former athlete of Nike, Oregon project coach by Alberto Salazar, she was actually a big voice in the whole process around the doping. She then sent Scott signed with Oiselle which is a company up here in Seattle. And interesting Fun fact. Cara Goucher, Lauren fleshman. Amy Yoder, which were all former Oregon project runners I ran I raced against in college,

Carter 18:43
when I would imagine that with there being a personal connection and and having run with these people, you’ve talked so much about your story, Kara, in terms of the very quick, I mean, what I hear as sort of a quick process is beginning to understand and heal from some of the messages that you were getting, obviously, two decades later, you’re still able to kind of be in it and think about all the different implications and see the mess of it and learn more, right. But I would imagine that to be surrounded suddenly by news that’s coming from these voices and these faces and these athletes that were right there with you back then that are now finally saying, wow, this is really screwed. Like this is this is the implication of being here for 20 years and what it’s looked like, yeah,

Kara 19:33
I can imagine that contrast would be quite striking for you. Oh, gosh, I am like I is like Thank God it’s all coming out now. And I’ve just been I mean, I think that’s part of the reason I can’t stop listening and reading is I just it’s the voices are out there. And I’ve been asking myself the question is it is our culture just now ready to hear it? I mean, someone referenced this is the kind of the me too for the sport world and why do you think that that would be the comparison i think that culturally there is more permission for females especially to voice anger in a non apologetic way i think that you know even mary kane had said in her episode with with care voucher that cara gaucha is she she credits cargo chair to coming out because of care gauchos voice was salazar about the doping so i think that we’re borrowing courage from these people before us to say no it’s not okay and being angry about it and i was just thinking related maybe to our anger episode two is that i think what’s so exciting is that anger anger can start movement you know the rage and the anger without sugarcoating it especially i mean these are not sugar coated messages that are being put out there and this can actually i believe can affect systemic change i mean we’re already seeing i can’t believe how many conversations are that are being had and aren’t we put out the information about our coaches workshop and one week later 60 people have registered like i think there is this there’s a readiness culturally in thinking about especially systems of oppression and power of seeing that now you know it’s in sport and it’s coming out strong in the distance running community and i hope it extends i hope it goes beyond distance running because i know and have heard countless stories of things and stories of people and other sports too but i am just i am excited and i and i and i feel like the energy i’ve had this you know in the past decade around all this has been i want to be part of the solution i want to be a part of creating education opportunities access to information for coaches because i know a lot of coaches are well meaning most of them are not out there to harm there is just a gap of understanding i believe and so i am like yes if there’s an audience if there’s like war readiness to listen and learn and create these opportunities i am excited to be a part of it i feel like in all of this i can see the engagement on all levels of being in my role as adult well being and my role as a therapist with with our clients being being able to teach coaches do prevention work in the community i’ve been coaching basketball so i’ve been playing in the role of coach of young girls and playing around with the concepts of how do we kind of build these athletes up and and support them to be lifelong athletes if they choose to and they want to be and not burn them out being a mom and having my girls now enter into the stage of athletics that does get more serious and it becomes more about performance so i’m just buzzing there as my girls have started the sport of distance running and you know genetically they they’ve got a gift so you know we’re we’re having to engage those systems and then my husband who was also at runner university of washington who was recruited by alberto salazar when we graduated and said no because he wanted to stay in seattle to marry me so he did not get coached by him he ran professionally for a year gutten was the assistant coach at university of washington and as has been a coach at his old high school for since we’ve been married so for for 20 years he’s been coaching and so having the lens of his experiences too i just it feels like it’s all over in my life yeah it’s lit up everywhere everywhere so when you talk about like being able to teach and hoping for some work that you’re able to offer these communities through prevention i’m curious about what that looks like in terms of not just preventing eating disorder but also the burnout that you spoke to

Unknown Speaker 24:00

Kara 24:00
yeah sort of one in the same yeah some ways but what do you think yeah i mean i think that there’s a lot of education that needs to continue being put out there i think one one of the exciting things i’m hearing because these podcasts and articles are coming for more the sport world so i’m hearing people talk about relative energy deficiency and sport and the medical and psychological consequences of inadequate nutrition thank god that information is being put out there athletes need to know about it coaches need to know about it the risk factors of not having enough nutrition which is immense and that has evolved and you know we used to talk about the female athlete triad and thank god it’s become more comprehensive more known what is the female athletes so the female athlete triad was was the first sort of iteration of what the impact on a female athlete of inadequate nutrition but it was more limited it was only geared towards women because it was about men cs and bone health and now this is it thank goodness it’s broader because this inadequate nutrition does not just discriminate towards female athletes it impacts males it impacts people of all genders and so to have clear information about the health and psychological consequences of inadequate nutrition is so important for coaches to have for athletes to have and that that information now is being more widespread given what’s happened with marian kane and then i think but eating disorder and disordered eating and sport is very both normative and hidden so that is a large part of my education practices as helping coaches have more attuned eyes on the matter to be able to identify and and see what kind of what is going on with an athlete that might be easy to miss i mean in my sports story i think i’ve shared this before but i had an eating disorder for four years as a college athlete my coach never said a word my teammates never said a word my doctor seven has never said a word even though i was losing my period i dropped weight no one ever said anything i gained weight no one ever said anything i hadn’t literally nobody express one ounce of concern in four years it was my own volition that got me to a therapist finally i don’t individually blame any of those people it’s indicative of a culture that needs to grow and understand what this says

Carter 26:33
yeah and i think that as a non athlete like i’m often saying that to you as a non athlete i think that there’s something that is really powerful about these issues coming to light because it seems to me like the athletic world is a sort of the one that’s kind of been untouchable and the idealization of either an athlete’s body or their sort of optimal health you know this sort of idealization of all these different aspects of what it means to be an athlete and what it means in terms of the kind of mastery of their own body is something that i think people look at and want and admire and think oh you know if only i could eat like that or workout like that or look like that so again this sort of untouchable space has now been kind of blowing up

Kara 27:24
and when you’re idealize like that as i was in college i was very idealized by other people right like what what do you know tell me what you eat kara do like there’s all and no one knew the dark side i mean no i’m not going to tell you how i’m restricting all of my food and i hate myself and there is such a dark side but that dark side is very difficult to come to the light because of some of exactly what you’re naming the idealization the assumptions there’s a lot of shame involved in that because an athlete can easily say well gosh i have all this privilege i have everything everyone wants so why am i unhappy but guess what if you’re not eating enough one of the risk factors is depression right so maybe that’s why and mary can talk directly about her suicidality yeah well yeah she she said that she was cutting herself and people didn’t yes like in front of people yeah people didn’t say anything and just it just speak about the emotionality piece so she so this is where i was going before with the inches on caregivers podcast they both talked about being deemed the kind of crazy and it was because they cried because they expressed emotion wow and so again that’s where i think there’s there can be some of a more masculine i don’t want to say it’s gender because i think there’s men that are very good with emotion

Unknown Speaker 28:42
absolutely but

Kara 28:42
is more masculine is trait of don’t show emotion motion doesn’t have any value or role on this place like buckle down put it away stuff at away be stoic be a hard ass that’s what a good athlete is i fully disagree with that and i think it’s so unfortunate that that was kind of how both of those athletes were pegged in the nike oregon project that if you’re crying you’re crazy and i’m like the crying made sense people like crying made sense there’s a lot to cry about there’s a lot to cry about it’s communication it’s emotion is communication the other piece about the burnout is and i love this i got i got a quote it so lauren fleshman she had a brilliant op ed piece in response to mary keynes in the new york times and she’s she writes there should be a hall of fame that in ducks coaches whose athletes have gone on to have the longest careers i’m like that wow imagine a culture shift if that was the hall of fame qualification because i think unfortunately that’s not the case and you can get you can get an athlete to short term perform extremely well with an inadequate eating and then you can damage them for their lifetime so if you if you just cycle them in you can approach it that way but i mean that’s that’s harm and so this idea that if somebody wants to be an athlete what would set them up to be a lifelong athlete and i think part of that is taking care of themselves and having kind of their their needs met with nutrition and with other parts of their life and then performance is another big one that i feel like is really important to put out there because as soon as performance kind of takes precedent over joy it really can take athletes out the wind at all costs culture you might get again short term immediate impact from an athlete but that’s a that is a recipe for burnout that was that was 100% my experience and i think it’s and thankfully i had kind of the wherewithal or the this desire to return both to basketball and across country but if joy is smothered out that is that is a recipe for saying goodbye to it and sadly the other when we what we hear on the client end of people in their 20s and 30s is oftentimes they’re avoiding all these forms of movement and sport because they’re afraid of not being good at it well why are they afraid of not being good at it it’s not personal problem it’s because that’s what the culture says is important that is what the culture is valuing so again application for a coach if you’re valuing that that is the key component you might not even be saying that winning is the most important piece or that the sport performance is the most important piece but if you’re suggesting it through your actions and your kind of behavior that that’s what you care about that’s gonna get translated to an athlete that that sort of language of actually coming alongside someone into their personal experience and their personal performance rather than the like when at all costs attitude right like a really important distinction and how do you keep fun and the the pleasure and the joy involved even in the sport like i’m coaching fifth grade girls right now and of course you know they’re still in the young age yet they’re in they’re getting to be in the more and more competitive the desires to to win and be be good and i am intentionally doing things in my coaching that supports the notion that there are other parts of basketball that are important too well to round them out like connection like their friendships like their community

Carter 32:27
what do you

i want to know like what you actually do with them

Unknown Speaker 32:31

Kara 32:32
yeah like is that like a direct like are there drills so i do every practice i do what’s called a team chat okay so this is kind of something i’ve been dreaming of when i was ready to get coaching these girls so every pack and these girls will love it so it’s during the water break and we actually go outside of the gym because the gym is hot and they like to go outside and get some fresh air in their face and we do a team chat okay and the team chat i’ve been posing like one question to the girls and then they go get an answer and then have questions so the first question practice one was why do you play basketball cool and that was like my little mini teaching point was around the kind of pleasure and play being a key component of long term sport performance and then i think my next one was what makes you strong and then i had them do goal sheets well so separately outside of the team chat i we did a pizza dinner one night and i had them do a basketball goal for the season and a relational goal for the season cool and i kind of took them through how to set like process oriented goals and the relational goals most of them were about like getting to know each other and being connected and maybe having a sleep over so then now my team chats where every team chat we’re having to girls share five things about themselves that it might just be like things that they don’t really know about each other and i’m kind of pushing them to go a little deeper than just surface stuff so i might pose a couple questions to them and so then they’ve each gotten the chance to be known and have their audience outside weather team chat and it’s been just so cool to see this kind of idea work because they’re like can we go to our team like they’re so excited to go do the team and they would all practice and it builds connection i’m learning about each of the girls i’m feeling more connected with them with having this knowledge of a little bit more about them outside of basketball if not i would just kind of get to know them through the context of basketball right so it builds this idea that you’re more than a player and yet we’re putting this in the context of the sport i it’s really fun wow i would have kept playing basketball if that had been my experience yeah for sure and we’re gonna have our team sleep over i wish i could be invited as a fifth grader

Carter 34:53

that’s so cool

Kara 34:56
yeah and i’m also i think what i’m trying to integrate in the team chat Is that each kid’s different? So like, even Oh, one of my questions was what makes you feel encouraged? Because I wanted them to see that there’s always there’s differences, like not every not everyone’s one in the same, right. So I think that’s a good learning as a community conversation to see we’re not all the same. does this translate it off to the way that you then coach? Yeah. Sure. Or like, Yeah, well, like, for example, how are they going to get encouraged? I mean, a lot of them talked about affirmation, right? affirmation really helps them feel motivated. And, and this is another thing where that’s come out in some of these articles is coaches styles and motivating athletes and to shaming motivate people. I have a really hard time believe, I guess, like some of the stuff that’s come out is like there’s a there’s a percentage of athletes that are motivated by shame. I think that’s fear motivation, again, which is really short sighted, it’s not the long game, it’s a it might be effective to get the results you want as a coach, because the athlete is actually scared of you. Right? In, in contrast, with these little fifth grade girls, they kind of talk specific about the ways they like to be encouraged and affirmed. And so I’m totally integrating that in practice. And you can just you can see them light up. And you know, what I’m thinking about myself as a little basketball player. And I mean, my basketball experience was I loved that I love that game more than I love Brown. I love that game more than anything. And when I had a coach in my high school experience, you shaming us cut downs, I shriveled. And I ended up I mean, I was a college prospect, and I ended up being benched my senior year, because I couldn’t perform under that. Not every athlete is going to be like me, that’s the kind of response to that is going to vary. And I don’t, I think there’s no reason to shame. And I don’t think there’s any reason to shame an athlete. Again, I wouldn’t go short term, I would never go short term philosophy, I would think about the long game. And I think long term motivation, we’re going to be more motivated when we’re believed in and encouraged. I don’t, I don’t remember a lot of the details about this. But I was thinking about the Seahawks, as at their prime, how many years ago and they were taking over all the Super Bowls. There was such a beautiful sort of a magic to that team. And Pete Carroll was so team oriented, it was so clear, obviously, as a Seattle light, maybe more than in other states. But it was so clear that that was a team oriented coach, that was Yes, getting passionate on the sidelines. And yes, like getting ferocious at times, but was clearly not doing that in this sort of like abusive, angry way, it was about sort of advocating for the team and bringing the team together in some sort of like magic, and they were on fire, you were so good. Totally like I think of even that, that reminded me of something even that I’m thinking about while we’re coaching basketball is if you have a play to win mentality, you kind of just let maybe the girls that are a little bit more have a little bit more athletic talent, and you just, you know, you’d let them take the shots and kind of help and they would help carry the team around. But I don’t, I don’t agree with that approach at all, because then you’re not developing them all. And and I think that that high, at least, at least in this little experience of mine as a college or as a coach of kids at that at that age, I would much prefer to spend time developing each one of the players. And not just again, focusing on trying to, you know, the utmost being kind of winning the game. I mean, it’s sure it’s fun to win. I’m, I am a competitive person like that isn’t there’s no denial of that. But I don’t think that that kind of approach is really again, looking at the long game. So Carrie, just zooming out, again, into what’s been going on in media and all the different athletes and coaches and people working with athletes out there, I would love to hear kind of what you would have to say to them as

there’s hope I feel really hopeful. I feel like this is cracking open something that’s needed to be cracked open that’s already been there. This is not new. It’s just being talked about now. So thank god, there’s, there’s hope for that. And for the people listening to this episode of there are resources. I know I’m just kind of touching some of these topics. But there are resources that are out there that we can put in the show notes that are coming out of basic information that is in and of itself is just that we’ll even make changes. So I think the encouragement is educate, learn. Learn more about this. If you are if you are a parent of an athlete, if you’re an athlete, if you are in relationship with coaches if you’re a coach To encourage some of the connection to these resources to these places of learning, so that we can start shifting the culture and being more educated around weight and performance and how that relates to our athletes.

Carter 40:18
Awesome. Well, we

will definitely make sure that we include some links to all sorts of resources in the show notes. But also if you are in the Seattle area or would like to drive or fly to the Seattle area, whatever, make sure that you look into coming to our January 11. Coaches talk and workshop. Again, you’ll find some info about that in the show notes so you can sign up. opal is expanding their offering to athletes in 2020 with a new outpatient athlete clinic, so make sure you are following along with opal on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, and our newsletter to make sure that you are in the know about what is coming up soon. It’s also a great reminder to subscribe to the appetite on whatever medium by which you are listening, so you can be up to date on our new releases. Thank you so much to Daniel Gunther I jexpo Cultural Center for sound engineering to Aaron Davidson for the appetites, original music and to Hans Andersen for editing. Join us next time bye

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