Coaching Development: Methods for Youth Sport Introduction

By Vickers, Brad; Schoenstedt, Linda | Strategies: A Journal for Physical and Sport Educators, March-April 2011 | Go to article overview
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Coaching Development: Methods for Youth Sport Introduction

Vickers, Brad, Schoenstedt, Linda, Strategies: A Journal for Physical and Sport Educators

There are increasing demands and requirements in the coaching profession, and as a result, coaching education programs worldwide have seen an increase in overall participation (Cushion, Armour, & Jones, 2003; Mills & Dunlevy, 1997). In addition, many schools and sport programs in the United States have begun to require a minimum standard of certification. This, in turn, has created sport-specific credentialing bodies that have a variety of ideas about how to best educate the coach, which has made it difficult for administrators to determine who is best certified and what the certification actually means (Mills & Dunlevy, 1997). The lack of a standard certification program that would recommend a specific skill set and required competencies reduces the reliability of these individual credentialing bodies regarding their effectiveness. This is currently impacting our youth sports programs as the demand for professionally trained coaches has exceeded our supply (Knorr, 1996).

In an initial response to this issue, NASPE created a set of standards in the 1990's to provide direction for administrators, coaches, athletes, and the public regarding the knowledge and skills coaches should possess (Mills & Dunlevy, 1997; NASPE, 1995). These standards were developed from the idea that a physically-educated person should know and be able to perform a set of specific requirements and included sample benchmarks for selected grade levels (NASPE, 2006). While the standards were developed through a process of consensus building from many NASPE members and stakeholders, they were intended only as a guide and not a certification program.

It should be noted that coaching certification and coaching education are different terms. Many organizations certify coaches who meet minimal requirements pertaining to knowledge and skills (Mills & Dunlevy, 1997). For example, certification may serve as a prerequisite to assume a particular coaching position. In contrast, coaching education is an ongoing process utilized by coaches to increase their competence and ability to contend with a variety of coaching situations through courses, self-study, self-tests, videos, workshops and clinics, and coaching manuals (Malete & Feltz, 2000). The knowledge and skills that are associated with coaching should continually be updated to increase effectiveness long after the coach has been certified.

In 2000, coaching education took an additional step with the creation of the National Council for Accreditation of Coaching Education (NCACE), an organization established by sport leaders across the country. NCACE's mission is to help education programs produce qualified coaches through the review of coaching education programs and encouragement of continuous improvement of coaching education. NCACE endorses the National Standards for Sports Coaches (NASPE 2006), which guides certification programs to facilitate, evaluate, and select coaches. NCACE also oversees the development of coaching education and guidelines for the review of coaching education programs. There are also many national training and seminar opportunities available to coaches, including the NFHS Coaches Education Program, the ASEP Coach Effectiveness Training, the NYSCA Program and 12 coaching education programs accredited by NCACE.

In 2008 NASPE published the National Coaching Report (NCR). The NCR investigated the current coaching requirements in states and youth sport organizations in the United States. The NCR identified the wide disparity in coaching preparation and development necessary to coach in a particular state (National Coaching Report, 2008). The report also included state-by-state participation rates, legislative requirements, teaching and coaching education requirements and adjustments, timeframes and recommendations for action in interscholastic and youth programs.

Given the increased attention to coaching education issues and the widely-documented negative athletic experiences for children of all ages, national, state, and local coaching programs have gained traction in recent years.

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