Workshops for Student Athletes, Athlete Leaders and Coaches

Alan D. Berkowitz, Ph.D.

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The overwhelming majority of athletes are hard-working, healthy and responsible young adults who manage a challenging schedule and a variety of responsibilities. When there are problems on teams, it is often the minority who create a negative stereotype for the majority. In my work with athletes, I focus on the health of the majority and teach student athletes and coaches how to strengthen and “grow” the positive and use it to interrupt and minimize the negative. Coaches and team-leaders are extremely important in my work with athletes and it is only with their support and understanding that I can be effective with student-athletes. Therefore I prefer to work with them in addition to team members whenever possible.

Each of the following workshops can be adapted to a variety of audiences and situations.

Creating a Positive Team Culture: The Coaches and Student-Leader’s Role: Athletes struggle with a variety of issues, including alcohol and substance use, eating problems, poor sportsmanship, and overly competitive team members. On most teams, a few individuals with these problems can affect the whole team. What are some guidelines for supporting the healthy majority of athletes to positively influence the behavior of problem teammates? How can the coach or student-athlete provide leadership in support of the healthy majority? This workshop/lecture reviews a number of strategies for creating a healthy team culture and supporting the leadership of team members to act on behalf of the healthy majority.

Designing Sexual Assault Prevention Programs for Athletes: Accusations of sexual assault are damaging to the reputation and performance of athletic teams. This workshop outlines components of an effective sexual assault prevention program for male and female athletes, taking into consideration the unique role and circumstances of the college athlete. Guidelines for effective rape prevention programs for men (including what male athletes can do to ensure that both parties are fully consenting) and strategies to reduce female victimization will be reviewed. Finally, the role that athletes can play in reducing the risky behaviors of their teammates will be explored.

Effective Drug Prevention Programs for Athletes: Considerable attention has been devoted to the drug use and abuse of athletes, yet research shows that many drug prevention programs are ineffective. Guidelines for effective drug prevention programs tailored to the unique characteristics of the student athlete are presented, with an emphasis on supporting and increasing the positive behaviors already exhibited by a majority of athletes. The important role of coaches in addressing this issues is discussed.

Supporting the Leadership of Student Athletes: Student athletes face a variety of challenges in exercising leadership on their teams. This workshop for athlete leaders addresses leadership challenges faced by student athletes and explores strategies for reducing the isolation of leaders by garnering the support of fellow athletes in promoting a positive team culture.

Each of these workshops can be adapted for presentation to individual teams and/or to large groups of student athletes.

References can be provided upon request.

Alan D. Berkowitz is an NCAA approved speaker and his workshops are eligible for compensation by NCAA. He is a well-known consultant, trainer and scholar who has worked extensively with a number of university athletic departments to promote positive team culture and support the leadership of student-athletes and coaches. He frequently provides workshops to male and female athletes, team captains and members of athletic advisory councils, coaches, and athletic department administrative staff. He has worked with a number of Division I and Big-Ten athletic programs as well as Division II and III and understands the different athletic cultures within these divisions. He can be reached at 607 387-3789, via e-mail at, or on the web at: