Coach Education

Importance of Coaching Education     (article from nays.org - National Alliance for Youth Sports)

Most youth sports coaches are unprepared for their position. Studiesshow that only 5-10% of youth sport coaches have received any relevant training1. We know most coaches sign up because their own child is on the team and no one else volunteered. The next thing they know it is the first day of practice and they have a whistle and clipboard – but no formal training. Why does this matter? Why be concerned about providing coaching education or certification to coaches?

Quality trained coaches benefit children, youth sports programs and communities in countless ways. If volunteer coaches are comfortable and confident in their abilities to work with children and coach the sport, they will feel like – and be – an extremely valuable part of the youth sports program.

Here are a few of the many reasons your volunteer coaches should be trained:

Increase the amount of people interested in coaching. Training potential volunteers through a quality program, like the National Youth Sports Coaches Association, can give them confidence to participate in your program as a coach. If you have parents in your program that are hesitant to volunteer to coach, training often provides answers to concerns holding them back, like how to organize a practice, how to deal with parents or how to work with young kids, etc. So knowing that training is available makes them more likely to step forward to assist.

Empower volunteers. Training volunteer coaches will familiarize them on your program’s philosophy and mission, which gives them the confidence to conduct fun and productive practice sessions and be effective on Game Day, while also enabling their young athletes to grow and develop in the sport. Having a solid foundation for coaches to build upon is imperative for their success.

Build a quality volunteer base. It raises major red flags if a potential volunteer doesn’t want to take the time to learn about your program’s mission or prepare for their roles and responsibilities as a youth sports coach. Rather than practice a “warm body” approach and accept all interested volunteers, training will help weed out those people that may not really want to be there for the right reasons from the ones that will be dedicated and true assets to your program.

Set standards for coaches and the community. Being known as a program that requires its volunteer coaches to be trained will let others know that your program focuses on the safety and well-being of the young athletes, not the egos of the coaches. Volunteer coaches must understand the program's philosophy and adhere to it at all times, as well as operate with a task oriented mindset that places the emphasis on the children rather than an ego oriented mindset that emphasizes themselves.

Children stay in sports longer. Studies tell us that athletes who played for untrained coaches drop out at a rate of 26%; whereas those athletes playing for a trained coach resulted in a significantly lower dropout rate of only 5%2. Other studies show an increase in self-esteem for young athletes (under 12 years old) who play for a trained coach.

Reducing legal liabilities associated with sport. Coaches who have received proper sport training are able to teach fundamentals and drills properly, thus reducing the chances of injuries occurring. Concussion awareness, first aid and other safety trainings also help to control the severity of issues that can surface in a sports environment. Also, many certification programs include a liability insurance benefit for the coaches. Youth sports organizations that train coaches are taking an important step toward reducing risk in their programs while also reducing the chances that youngsters will suffer serious injuries.

Positive experiences for young athletes. Since sports can be tremendously beneficial for children, we want them to keep playing and to sign up again next season – and that can only happen if they have a positive and rewarding experience. Trained coaches that understand the importance of establishing a fun-filled and stress-free atmosphere that keeps children engaged increase the sport’s ability to have a positive impact on them3. The coach is the key to making a child’s experience fun, safe, educational – and memorable for all the right reasons.

With so many wonderful reasons why coaches should be trained it is hard to believe that the majority of today’s volunteers are not trained. A program coordinator may claim that budgets are tight and they can’t afford to train coaches but the evidence above proves beyond a doubt that youth sports organizations can’t afford NOT to train coaches.

Incorporating a coach training program into a sports season is not a daunting task. Leagues, multi-sport associations, municipal recreation departments and other youth organizations have the ability to establish a Chapter of the National Alliance for Youth Sports to offer its coach training program through the National Youth Sports Coaches Association (NYSCA). The NYSCA Online Clinic for coaches can be accessed within 24 hours of establishing a chapter and live coaching clinics can be hosted by your organization in as little as one week. Explore www.NAYS.org to learn more about the NYSCA program and the benefits of starting a Chapter for your organization.

Sources:

1National Council for Accreditation of Coaching Education - Coaching Counts! Case Statement - 2011
2Sports Done Right Report - The University of Maine Sport & Coaching Initiative - 2004
3Palo Alto Online: What Makes A Good Coach? Terri Lobdell - 2010

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