ERIC Identifier: ED310112
Publication Date: 1989-01-00
Author: Schweitzer, Cathie
Source: ERIC Clearinghouse on
Teacher Education Washington DC.
Coaching Certification. ERIC Digest.
This ERIC Digest will focus on coaching certification, its importance, its
current status and types of certification programs currently in existence.
Any student-athlete who enters a sport program has the right to expect
quality coaching and instruction. Most parents are very particular about the
educator chosen to teach their children in a school classroom, yet are not
similarly concerned about who coaches their youngsters in athletics.
Professionals involved in athletics agree that the coach is the single most
important factor affecting the athlete. Coaches have a significant impact on the
lives of their young athletes and the student-athlete deserves a competent,
well-trained leader. The coach is an important role model and influences values
and attitudes. (Sabock, 1981)
Concern for the professional preparation of coaches
at the high school level began as early as 1950 and in the late 1960s a coaching
certification task force was formed by the Division of Men's Athletics (DMA), a
substructure within the American Association of Health, Physical Education,
Recreation and Dance (AAHPERD). The task force recommended the establishment of
certification standards for teachers who wanted to coach by implementing
coaching certification programs in conjunction with colleges to ensure a minimal
degree of competency. (Sisley and Wiese, 1987)
In the 1970s the implementation of Title IX increased the number of girls'
athletic teams which in turn resulted in a need for more qualified coaches. The
demand for coaches nationwide dramatically exceeded the supply. (Acosta and
Carpenter, 1985; Sabock, 1981)
As the need for qualified coaches increased, a declining enrollment and a
depressed economy decreased the demand for classroom teachers. Concurrently,
many of the teachers/coaches were retiring from coaching yet retaining their
teaching positions. (Broderick, 1984)
Declining enrollment, maturing staffs, seniority systems, a declining
economy, and the explosion of female participation in sports programs, all
contributed to a demand for qualified coaches that exceeds the supply. Many
states have had difficulty filling coaching positions, and were forced to change
or make exceptions to their standards to meet coaching requirements.
As a resolution to the
supply/demand conflict, many states and schools changed their policies and hired
non-educators to coach. Current research indicates the state coaching
requirements range from requiring coaches to be certified teachers, to allowing
individuals to coach who do not hold a teaching certificate. In some states
there are different requirements for differing sports within a state. There is
no national standardized certification program. Each state Department of
Education or its State High School Athletic Association has determined its own
standards for coaching certification. Regulations governing the hiring of
interscholastic coaches are becoming less stringent.
Recent statistics indicate that there are
350,000 high school coaches, one-third to one-half of whom have no sport-related
education. Little agreement exists on the standards to certify coaches. At one
time, only full-time certified teachers could be coaches. Today many states hire
coaches who are not teachers and are not employees of the school system to
fulfill vacant coaching positions. Many states have created coaching
certification programs to ensure a minimum degree of competency, but, because
the completion of such a program required time, money, and effort, it
discouraged many potential coaches and resulted in states dropping the
certification requirement. (Sisley and Wiese, 1987; Sabock and Chandler-Garvin,
But the need for qualified coaches continues, as Donna Lopiano (1986) points
If we agree that the competent ethical and well-trained coach is the key to
the elimination of undesirable behavior for which athletics is now being
criticized, it seems obvious that the better organized we are in training this
individual and the more selective we are in employing a coach, the better off
our athletic program will be. (p.34)
The increase in the need for coaches of women's and girls' teams has created
an additional problem. Studies conducted by Acosta & Carpenter (1985)
indicate that males, qualified and unqualified, dominate the coaching field. A
national certification program will create better opportunities for women to
gain entry-level positions and produce a better quality pool of applicants.
Lopiano (1986) explains that "as long as there are no standards for access to
entry-level positions in coaching, women will be denied access because they are
not 'qualified' coaches. There is no standard for determining who is qualified."
(p.36) Once there is a standard, women will be able to gain certification and be
qualified just as men are for entry-level positions.
Many states and associations offer
coaching certification programs but few agree on what the standards should be.
Some resources are:
The National Youth Sports Coaches Association (NYSCA)
2611 Old Okeechobee Rd.
W. Palm Beach, FL 33409
Provides a National Volunteer Coach Certification Program which trains and
certifies volunteer coaches.
American Coaching Effectiveness Programs (ACEP)
Champaign, IL 61820
Focuses on the critical elements of the profession of coaching geared toward
the high school coach.
United States Volleyball Association
1750 E. Boulder St.
Colorado Spring, CO 80909
The USA Coaching Accreditation Program (CAP) is a four-level volleyball
coaching education program. The program includes the American Coaching Education
ACEPT: American Coaching Effectiveness Training for Youth Sports, Leisure
Press, Human Kinetics Press, P.O. Box 5076, Champaign, IL 61820
Sports Need You, c/o Dr. Susan Schaffer, 201 E. Colfax Avenue, Denver, CO
80203, (303) 866-6672
C.O.A.C.H. Project, c/o Bera Demchenko, Coordinator of Equity, School
District of Philadelphia, Rm. 325, 21st and The Parkway, Philadelphia, PA 19103,
National Federation of State High School Athletic Associations, 11724 Plaza
Circle, P.O. Box 20626, Kansas City, MO 64195, (816) 464-5400
To contact an individual State Department of Education or the State Athletic
The future of coaching certification is
uncertain. Today's trends of hiring non-educators to coach and requiring limited
professional preparation of coaches has raised concern over the educational
value of interscholastic athletics as well as liability factors. These trends
cause concern regarding the safety and welfare of the participant.
It is evident that the preparation and certification of athletic coaches will
continue to receive attention. A national certification program will require the
combined efforts of universities, state boards of education, the national
governing bodies of sports, professional organizations, and the public.
Certification of coaches is no guarantee that the problems will disappear or
discontinue, but the problems can be reduced substantially if coaches can be
certified in programs that approach those established for the education program.
Many of the following references--those
identified with an EJ or ED number--have been abstracted and are in the ERIC
data base. The journal articles should be available at most research libraries.
For a list of ERIC collections in your area or for information on submitting
documents to ERIC, contact the ERIC Clearinghouse on Teacher Education, One
Dupont Circle, NW, Suite 610, Washington, DC 20036, (202) 293-2450.
Acosta, R.V. and Carpenter, L. (1985). "Status of women in athletics: Causes
and concerns." Journal of Physical Education, Recreation and Dance. 55(5),
38-39, 53. EJ 300682.
Broderic, R. (1984). "The certified coach: Central figure." Journal of
Physical Education, Recreation and Dance. 53(3), 34-38.
Lopiano, D. (1986). "The certified coach: Central figure. "Journal of
Physical Education, Recreation and Dance. 51(9), 32-33. EJ 241455.
Noble, L. and Sigle, G. (1980). "Minimum requirements for interscholastic
coaches." Journal of Physical Education, Recreation and Dance. 52(9), 32-33. EJ
Sabock, R.J. (1981). "Professional preparation for coaching." Journal of
Physical Education, Recreation and Dance. 52(8), 10.
Sabock, R.J. and Chandler-Garvin, P.B. (1986). "Coaching certification:
United States requirements." Journal of Physical Education, Recreation and
Dance. 57(6), 57-59. EJ 340704.
Sisley, B. and Wiese, D.M. (1987). "Current status: Requirements for
interscholastic coaches. Results of NAGWS/NASPE Coaching Certification Survey."
Journal of Physical Education, Recreation and Dance. 58(7), 73-85. EJ 360109.