Behavior Management 101

As Girls on the Run volunteers, we see the value of our program and that is why we dedicate hours and hours each season to help guide our teams through the lessons and across the finish line. There is almost no better feeling than seeing the joy in our GOTR girls’ eyes as they finish the 5K!

However, throughout the season, our coaches may encounter some situations where behavior management is necessary. Below are a few common scenarios that a coach may encounter at Girls on the Run practice and some suggestions to help you have the best season yet!

  • The Talker– This was me (and sometimes still is…)! There is often a GOTR girl or two or three that absolutely HAVE to share every time there is an opportunity, and while we LOVE the enthusiasm, it can be distracting. A few ways to cope: let the group know how many people you would like to share before posing the question, tell Talking Tina that you really value her input but it’s important that she listens to her friends too, or refer to your team rules that you established during lesson 1. In our team rules, we talk about respect. I will occassionally quiz my team about their behavior and ask them if they feel like it matches our team rules. This “self-correction” has been pretty effective, even if just for a few minutes to get through that specific part of the lesson.
  • The Jitterbug– Ahhh the jitterbug. This GOTR girl is high energy, bouncing off the walls, jumping up and down (maybe scream-singing for no apparent reason), or sometimes she just cannot sit still and wanders out of the circle and up the nearest tree. Our goal? Channel that energy! For my Jitterbug Julie this season, I utilize her energy to help set up and take down the cones, sometimes she does a few laps to warm up with a coach, or she might even lead the stretches. My goal with her is to help her use the energy she has to be a leader for the team. Does this work 100% of the time? No way! BUT I have found this is the more effective strategies and one that allows her to be seen as a part of the team instead of a distraction.
  • The BEST Friends– You know the two girls that MUST be partners at all times and seem to be glued together at the hip? Yup, those girls! We all know that life is just easier with someone at our side but easy is not always good for us. Helping our GOTR girls be comfortable with the uncomfortable is one of our main tasks as coaches and this starts with making new friends. My favorite way to combat this behavioral issue is having the girls line up in different ways each practice- height, birthday month, number of siblings, favorite color, etc. Then I like to throw a curve ball and pair off partners from each end or next to each other or however I want just to keep them on their toes. In my experience, this has been a great way to start fostering new friendships within the team.

As a staff, Girls on the Run of the Rockies is here to support you! If you are struggling with a behavior management issue, do not hesitate to call, email, smoke signal, or carrier pigeon us (the first two are the most effective…)! We are here to help you in any way that we can in order for you to have the BEST SEASON YET!

Have a concern? Contact Katie Redfield, Program Director, at or 720-879-2354

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