TDH Partners with Coaches to Reduce Violence

Tuesday, April 04, 2017 | 09:53am

National Youth Violence Prevention Week is Apr. 3-7, 2017

NASHVILLE – Athletic coaches play an influential role in the lives of young athletes and are often in a position to positively influence how their athletes think and behave both on and off the field or court. The Tennessee Department of Health is now partnering with coaches to implement the “Coaching Boys into Men” program as part of our efforts to reduce violence.

Coaching Boys into Men is an evidence-based program that equips athletic coaches with strategies, scenarios and resources needed to build attitudes and behaviors that prevent relationship abuse, harassment and sexual assault. CBIM educates athletes that violence never equals strength.

“Coaches and many athletes are leaders in school and often in their larger communities, and we are so encouraged by this wonderful upstream effort to empower and motivate them to model right action for others who look up to them,” said TDH Commissioner John Dreyzehner. “Coaching Boys into Men demonstrates the power of organized physical activity and athletic contests to help shape young people who value respect, integrity, fairness and importantly, solutions that don’t involve violence.”

Maplewood High School in Nashville has implemented the CBIM program with their basketball team. Through the course of the season, Maplewood coaches led players through brief weekly activities that were integrated into their regular coaching strategy and sessions. Their athletes received tools and vocabulary needed to model respect and promote social norms that support safe and welcoming school environments. Maplewood won the Tennessee Class AA Boys Basketball State Championship this season.

Data show there is a need for increased efforts to reduce violence in the state. The violent crime* rate in Tennessee was 612.1 per 100,000 population in 2015, 64 percent higher than the national rate of 372.6 per 100,000, according to the FBI’s Uniform Crime Reporting Program.

“Because of the high violence rates in Tennessee, we are excited to see the CBIM program expand in our state,” said TDH Injury Prevention Section Chief Rachel Heitmann, MS. “This program creates a safe space for young males to talk about healthy masculinity while also engaging them as allies in violence prevention efforts.”

The CBIM program is implemented over the course of a 12-week athletic season and takes 15-20 minutes a week to complete. Coaches are provided 12 lessons with a script for each one. Each lesson covers an important issue and delivers key messages on topics such as personal responsibility, boundaries, insulting language, digital disrespect, aggression, modeling respect and promoting equality. Coaching Boys into Men is based on the following four guiding principles:

  1. The Power of Sports: Sports have tremendous influence in our culture and in the lives of young people. Principles of teamwork and fair play that are central to athletics make sports an ideal platform to teach healthy relationship skills.
  2. Strong Partnerships Foster Success: Coaching Boys into Men is most successful when coaches, advocates, stakeholders and community agencies have strong partnerships.
  3. Building Leadership, Transforming Norms: Coaching Boys into Men has been proven to positively impact athletes’ abilities to intervene when witnessing abusive or disrespectful behavior. As leaders themselves, athletes are given the tools and vocabulary to respect and influence their school’s culture.
  4. Coach as Leader: Coaches are central to the program’s success since they are often seen as role models by athletes.

The CBIM program can be implemented with athletes in any sport. For more information about how to implement this free program, contact the TDH Injury Prevention Program at 615-741-0368.

For information and resources for youth and teens on sexual assault and teen dating violence, visit

National Youth Violence Prevention Week is April 3-7. 2016. The campaign is designed to raise awareness and educate students, teachers, school administrators, counselors, school resource officers, school staff, parents and the public on effective ways to prevent and reduce youth violence, and to demonstrate the positive role young people can have in making their school and community safer. Learn more at

The mission of the Tennessee Department of Health is to protect, promote and improve the health and prosperity of people in Tennessee. TDH has facilities in all 95 counties and provides direct services for more than one in five Tennesseans annually as well as indirect services for everyone in the state, including emergency response to health threats, licensure of health professionals, regulation of health care facilities and inspection of food service establishments. Learn more about TDH services and programs at


*The violent crime figures include the offenses of murder, rape (revised definition), robbery and aggravated assault.