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 Katie.redfield@girlsontherun.org or 720-879-2354

Every Lap Counts!

Lap Counters are a fun way to motivate your team to go further, faster! The incentive of a sticker or a mark on their arm helps them not only keep track of their laps but also exceed their lap goals. Below are some of our favorite lap counter ideas!

Stickers: In your coach bag, there are a few sheets of stickers that are perfect for sticking on shirts, arms, and faces every time a girl completes a lap.

Nylon loops: Remember making potholders on a loom when you were younger? Those fabric loops come in bulk and are so easy to use as lap counters all season long. A bag of nylon loops is $4.99 at Hobby Lobby and with that handy-dandy 40% off coupon, it is a great deal! Have the girls return them at the end of each practice.

Clothespins: It’s fun and easy to pin a clothespin at the bottom of a girl’s shirt as she zooms past the start line. Clothespins are hard to lose and easy to count!

Beads: In your coach bag, there is a bag of beads that your GOTR girls can collect to make a lap necklace at the end of the season!

Pipe cleaners: These little bendy buddies are so fun to get crafty while you are processing the day’s lessons. Girls can make flowers, jewelry, or even some fun glasses or hats with pipe cleaners after they complete their laps.

Magic message in marker: Remember Lesson 9: Real Beauty? You can give the girls a word or letter to your very own secret message of the day as they run around. Maybe try the word BEAUTIFUL and give them one letter each lap or YOU ARE AWESOME!

Popsicle sticks: Motivational popsicle sticks rock! Little inspirational messages that you could include on the popsicle sticks, “I am grateful for you.” “You’ve got this!” “Keep on moving!” “You go girl!”

Silly bands: Just like the nylon loops, these can be used each practice! Little bracelets don’t get in their way as they rack up their laps and they are fun to collect over and over again.

Ribbons: A piece of ribbon each lap can be used for their very own handmade hair tie! The team can wear these at the Final 5K Celebration!

Tulle: If you are really looking for a fun way to count laps, how about tulle for tutus?! The girls can collect the tulle each lap to add to a tutu that they can rock at the 5K!

What are some of your favorites? Check out our Pinterest for more ideas!

Ready, Set, Run!

We have been practicing our ENERGY AWARD cheers all summer and we CANNOT wait to start our Fall season! In the spirit of starting the season, we wanted to share our TOP THREE tips for getting ready for the season.

STRETCH! One of the most important parts of any workouts is stretching your muscles. But why stop there? Not only do we want to encourage our teams to stretch our muscles we also want you to s-t-r-e-t-c-h your comfort zone. Go into this season with an open heart and an open mind and you will be amazed by how much these lil’ GOTR girls will help you stretch and transform into the best version of YOU! Whether you are a coach or a parent, your GOTR girl(s) has her own unique way of learning the lesson and demonstrating her knowledge. Ask her questions! When you challenge her to think critically about what she is learning, she will in turn challenge and teach you.

LEARN TO LOVE THE EMAIL *DING* NOTIFICATION! We here at Girls on the Run of the Rockies like to keep you in the know! Throughout the season we will send you a 411 to make sure you have all the information you need. Coaches, don’t be afraid to send the parents an email to recap the week. Parents, don’t be afraid to reach out to your coach or the GOTR Rockies staff when you have questions, concerns, praise, or even an inspiring story. We love to hear from you and we will try our best to make you love our emails with engaging and important content.

START TRAINING! One of the most rewarding parts of the season is seeing every single GOTR girl finish the race that they have been training for, the only thing sweeter is seeing her complete it with the ones that love and support her. While all coaches are registered to run already, parents, friends, the mailman, your sister’s friend’s roommate’s mom can also register to run. CLICK HERE to register to run! Need help with a training plan? There are a few apps and a few online training plans that can help you get going. Couch to 5K is a free app that will get you to your goal in 8 weeks OR you can CLICK HERE for an online 10 week training plan. You don’t have to be a runner to have fun and celebrate the season!

5 Reasons to be a Coach…

It is not easy to pick *just five* reasons why coaching is so rewarding but we did our best! Here are 5 reasons (in no particular order) why we think coaching ROCKS!

SERIOUS GIRL POWER! Now, more than ever, girls need strong role models. Being a GOTR coach gives you the chance to mentor a group of girls and show them how much your star power can shine at any age. Girls on the Run has already done all of the leg work of creating the curriculum and detailing each lesson down to the minute. Your job is just to enjoy the experience and make sure you are doing your very best to communicate the lesson while bringing in your own pizzazz!

YOU CAN RUN A 5K TOO! If you are like me, a 5K is a LOFTY goal. I never thought I could run more than two minutes. I tried apps and plans but running was my arch nemesis… then I started coaching at Girls on the Run. I told myself that if these girls can train and run a 5K, I can too. I started running at practice. I would run a lap and then walk and chat for a lap. I loved when the girls zoomed by me and shouted, “GREAT JOB!” I was motivated by my team, I worked in some running on the days when I wasn’t coaching, and I did it! From coaching, I set bigger goals for myself and have been able to achieve them.

IT’S GOOD FOR YOU! Volunteering is a great way to make a difference in others’ lives but also help you feel fulfilled- mind, body, and soul. You will go through these lessons with the girls and you will be surprised with how much you will learn! As you reflect on what you are teaching the girls, we want you to bring your own experiences to the circle. The girls want to connect with you and the more you can bring your own experience and share what makes you special, the better!

YOU DESERVE TO HAVE SOME FUN! Being a GOTR coach is fun! Having 10-15 bright, smiley faces greet you after school twice a week is the best destressor. You can check your worries at the door and focus on the immense value you are bringing to the lives of the girls on your team. For 90 minutes twice a week, you only have to think about your team and their energy- we want our GOTR girls to be okay with feeling every emotion so we talk about the good, the bad, and the ugly and help the GOTR girls work through their triumphs and struggles which makes us, as coaches, feel AMAZING!

YOU CAN CHANGE GIRLS’ LIVES! By volunteering your time and energy to inspire girls to be joyful, healthy, and confident, you can make a lasting impact on their lives. One parent told us, “This has been a very positive program for my daughter. She is now standing up for herself. She used to be bothered by girls saying mean things, not anymore…” We aren’t just teaching running- we are teaching girls to set goals and work towards them. We are teaching girls to stand up for themselves. And we are teaching girls to grow up to be strong women!