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Educating and Training Great Youth Coaches

A Youth Sports Administrator’s Responsibility

Sports provide the ultimate emotional highs and lows for participants and spectators alike. Youth sports are full of “teachable moments” about teamwork, psychological resilience, character development, building relationships and other life lessons. These types of teachable moments can’t be found in the classroom. Most parents recognize and endorse the positive aspects of youth sports, so when approached to serve on the youth sport organization’s Board of Directors they generally say yes. Joining a board can be immensely rewarding but also carries a responsibility and obligation to protect the youth athletes in a youth sports organization.

The vital tasks of a youth sports leader are the recruitment, selection, evaluation and retention of great coaches because “Kids Deserve the Best Coaches Possible.” The overwhelming majority of youth coaches are positive influences in the lives of our impressionable children, but most lack the training to maximize the experience for the children they are charged with teaching a sport. Some youth coaches fail to focus on the character development of their young athletes and instead choose to take on the mentality of “win at all costs” – which is detrimental to those they are coaching now and in the future. Youth sports organizations cannot have a credible program without properly trained and screened coaches. There are several requirements for accomplishing this task:

  1. Protecting Children from Predators

There are 40+ million children in the U.S. playing sports, and below the high school level many children are coached by untrained and in many cases unscreened volunteer coaches. The disturbing revelations of coaches (at every level) sexually, physically or verbally abusing players should make the administrators of youth sports organizations and parent ask: “Do we know who is coaching our children and were they properly screened through background checks, interviews and constant monitoring?” National comprehensive background screening should be a mandatory part of any youth coach selection process.

  1. Keeping Children Safe

Coaches should not be authorized to take responsibility for young athletes without knowing fundamental first aid and concussion prevention, identification and “return to play” protocols (currently there are major concussion lawsuits at the professional, collegiate, high school and youth sports levels). You cannot just hand a youth coach a first-aid kit and concussion information and hope for the best. Coaches must receive training and be tested in first aid and concussions and parents must be given concussion education material (available free from the CDC’s Heads Up website) to really protect our children.

  1. Creating a Better Youth Coach

Board members of a youth sports organization need to ask these questions: “What should we expect from those who coach our children? Did we provide them with the training to give our children a positive and productive experience?” Teachable moments are lost if coaches don’t realize that encouraging character development and teaching life lessons are just as important as teaching athletic skills. Coaches must be taught how to provide a sports experience that emphasizes positive growth, sportsmanship and the pure joy of sport.

  1. Tracking Coach Screening, Training and Education by the Youth Sports Administrator

The tracking of coaches’ background checks, first-aid education, concussion training and positive coaching techniques can become an administrative nightmare. In our litigious society, youth sport administrators are forced into the ponderous collection of various Certificates of Completion and the constant charting of renewal dates for concussion training and background checks – all while coaches and Board members cycle in and out of the program. Board members should ask: “is there a way to accomplish these critical tasks in a convenient, affordable manner?”

THE SOLUTION:

The Trusted Coaches (TC) Program (www.trustedcoaches.org) was created by professionals from a 501(c)(3) nonprofit, who manage tens of thousands of youth games annually and interact with thousands of youth coaches each year. These professionals understand the difficult challenge of selecting and training youth coaches. TC offers the most up-to-date training tools necessary for coaches to provide our young athletes a safe, positive and productive experience. TC also allows administrators to effortlessly monitor and manage their coaches’ training and development.

TC has four components, which are fundamental to being a successful youth coach. The components include first-aid training, concussion instruction, the Positive Coaching Alliance “Double-Goal” Coach® character education course and a nationwide criminal history background screen.

This entire program is delivered online and can be completed at each coach’s own pace. Upon completion, coaches are issued a TC Verification Card with their color photo. In addition, annual background checks will be available for coaches who have completed TC, as well as Continuing Education options in years two and three of their membership.

TC has also developed Administrative Tools that allow youth sports administrators to effortlessly monitor and manage their coaches’ training and development. These admin tools eliminate the hassle and time of collecting and maintaining any and all coach screening, training and educational paperwork and completion certificates.

The benefits of this program include:

  • powerful techniques presented by leading coaches and sports psychologists
  •  necessary training, which minimizes the threat of harm or injury to young athletes
  • a “one-stop shop” for youth organizations to deliver best practices training to their coaches
  •  a turnkey administrative system with an online repository that keeps track of coaches’ certifications and renewal dates

TC is expert-designed and is an affordable solution that makes it easy for youth sports organizations to provide the best sports experience possible. The total cost per coach is $35.00 (a $95.00 value if purchased separately).

Collaborate with other Youth Sports Organizations in your community.

Volume Discount = (registrations must be purchased at one time) 

$30.00 per coach for sports organizations that send 50 or more coaches through the program .

$27.50 per coach for sports organizations that send 150 or more coaches through the program .

For more Trusted Coaches information, please log on to www.trustedcoaches.org. If you would like additional information regarding the Trusted Coaches Program, do not hesitate to contact Dawson Blanck (TC Executive Director) at dawson@trustedcoaches.org or 763-746-1719.