National Standards for Athletic Coaches

By Sullivan, Patricia A. | JOPERD--The Journal of Physical Education, Recreation & Dance, April 1996 | Go to article overview

National Standards for Athletic Coaches


Sullivan, Patricia A., JOPERD--The Journal of Physical Education, Recreation & Dance


Coaches are expected to assume a variety of roles - sport instructor, surrogate parent, counselor, and role model - yet little more preparation is required of many of them than the willingness to take on the job. In order for the influence coaches have on the lives of young people to be positive, certain standards of coaching competency must be met. In fact, the National Association for Sport and Physical Education (NASPE) and the National Association for Girls and Women in Sport have been advocates of coaching standards and coaching education for many years, as evidenced by the 1989 publication of the position paper "Coaching Certification." While this document was a guiding force for leaders in the field of coaching education, until now we have not had a document to point to when asked what minimum standards of competency a coach should meet.

On August 7, 1995, NASPE took a giant leap forward in the field of coaching education with the release of National Standards for Athletic Coaches. The standards provide a means by which to develop and evaluate coaching expertise and to evaluate athletes' experiences. The 37 standards are grouped into eight domains: (a) injuries: prevention, care, and management; (b) risk management; (c) growth, development, and learning; (d) training, conditioning, and nutrition; (e) social and psychological aspects of coaching; (f) skills, tactics, and strategies; (g) teaching and administration; and (h) professional preparation and development.

The standards within each domain are further defined by competencies that reflect the minimum central skills, knowledge, and attitudes that coaches should exhibit at each of five different levels of expertise.

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