ERIC Identifier: ED477725
Publication Date: 2002-10-00
Author: Brylinsky, Jody
Source: ERIC Clearinghouse on
Teaching and Teacher Education Washington DC.
National Standards for Athletic Coaches. ERIC Digest.
Over a decade has passed since Conn and Razor (1989) proclaimed "a legal and
moral responsibility to provide qualified individuals to coach young people" (p.
161) yet there has been little interest in examining how best to develop that
level of expertise in professional training (Abraham & Collins, 1998). The
question of coach preparation and training has become a priority issue for many
schools and communities. However, there is limited research on the inexact
science of coaching and the complex dynamic social activity in which the coach
is engaged (Jones, Armour, & Potrac, 2002).
Public complaints, including increasing litigation, often claim a failure of
coaches to properly instruct skills or techniques, warn of inherent
danger/risks, or gain appropriate training prior to assuming leadership
responsibility in a sport program (Johnson, 1992). The appointment of unprepared
individuals to coaching positions could lead to serious medical problems for the
athletes and serious legal problems for sport organizations (Conn & Razor,
1989). Further, investigation of the multifaceted social relationships between
coach and athlete is necessary to more fully understand how coach training can
be linked to more effectively meeting the psychological and physical development
of athletes (Potrac, Brewer, Jones, Armour, & Hoff, 2000).
SCOPE OF SPORT PARTICIPATION
Recent estimates conclude that
approximately 40 million American youths participate in various sport
organizations and 56% of all 5-10 year olds play sports (Ferguson, 1999). The
increase in participation by female and male athletes (NFHS, 2002) has in turn
created a universal need for a greater number of qualified high school and youth
coaches. Currently, there are 3.1 million coaches working in all levels of youth
sport (Clark, 2000), roughly 500,000 of whom are in high schools. Fewer than 8%
of high school coaches (Martens, R., Flannery, T., & Roetert, P., 2002), and
a much lower percentage of youth sport coaches, enter the field with significant
knowledge regarding instruction, skill development or other formal training.
While other countries require formal training, exams, certificates and
licensing, American sport programs at all levels remain dominated by amateur
coaches (Clark, 2000).
STATUS OF COACH EDUCATION AND TRAINING IN THE UNITED
Well-designed training programs for coaches can result in: improved
time management resulting in increased motor engagement time, positive changes
in specific coaching behaviors and personality development in athletes (Gilbert & Trudel, 1999). Research indicates that formal coaching education programs
positively influence a coach's ability to affect learning and performance, yet
programs seldom are mandatory and reach only a small minority of the nation's
youth sport coaches (Clark, 2000).
The range of educational expectations for a coach is varied. The American
Sport Education Program (ASEP) (2001) reports that 36 states require coach
education for non-teaching coaches, 15 states require coach education for all
coaching candidates and 15 states require no formal coaching education. Minimal
expectations for high school and youth coaches range from having a bachelors
degree in teaching with a current teaching certificate, to having no educational
requirement and being at least 19 years old (McMillin & Reffner, 1999).
The Directory of College and University Coaching Education Programs (McMillin
& Reffner, 1999) reports a total of 179 higher education institutions in the
United States offering some sort of graduate degree program in coaching
education or an undergraduate coaching education major or minor. Fifty percent
of the undergraduate coaching minor programs require 18 to 24 credit hours for
completion (McMillin & Reffner, 1999). Observations by McMillin and Reffner
(1999, p. 4) regarding current undergraduate coaching majors indicate that 50%
of the programs require a general principles of coaching course that includes
the sport sciences, 90% of the programs require technical or theory courses in
specific sports and 70% of the programs require a practical experience or
internship. All of the programs require training in the prevention, care, and
treatment of injuries.
Coaching education is also provided through numerous non-academic
organizations. The Program for Athletic Coaches Education, the American Sport
Education Program, the American Youth Soccer Organization, Special Olympics
International and USA Volleyball are just a few of the many organizations that
have coaching education programs. In addition, it is the mission of the National
Council for Accreditation of Coaching Education (NCACE) to support qualified
coaches for sport participants through programs that provide quality coaching
education. The essential function of NCACE is to review the quality of coaching
education programs and encourage continuous improvement of coaching education.
NCACE reviews coaching education/certification programs that seek accreditation.
NATIONAL STANDARDS FOR COACH EDUCATION
need to know the objectives and benefits of athletics so they know what to
teach, model, and reinforce. Coaching education programs, therefore, should
establish their explicit purposes so they correspond with the objectives and
benefits of the program (Dils & Ziatz, 2000). In order to present knowledge
that will be useful to those who need it most, the coach educators, clear
direction must be provided in regard to what knowledge one should teach, what
the best way is to teach this knowledge, and how to best assess this knowledge
to encourage its development (Abraham & Collins, 1998).
THE NATIONAL STANDARD/DOMAINS FOR COACHING EDUCATION
first of these important knowledge questions has in part been addressed by the
development of the National Standards for Athletic Coaches [NSAC] (NASPE, 1995).
Over 140 sport organizations have agreed that there is a core body of knowledge
from which to develop coaching expertise. Developed through a process of review
of scientific and practical knowledge, synthesizing existing coaching education
programs, public dialogue and review, the NSAC reflect the fundamental
competencies that administrators, athletes and the public should expect of
athletic coaches at various levels of experience.
The NSAC document contains 37 standards that are grouped into eight domains
of knowledge and ability. Domain I, Injury Prevention, Care and Management
focuses on how to protect and maintain the welfare and safety of all players.
Standards within this domain encourage properly trained coaches to reduce the
occurrence of injury, minimize the consequences of those injuries that may
occur, and provide for appropriate emergency care when needed. By routinely
checking for safe playing conditions, assuring that athletes are physically
conditioned for their sport, and having the skills to administer basic first
aid, the coach can create a more enjoyable sport experience (NASPE, 2001).
Domain II, Risk Management identifies the role coaches play in minimizing the
potential risks inherent in sport participation. Standards prepare coaches by
identifying the legal standards of care expected of all coaches. From
appropriate supervision to adequate planning and record keeping, the coach's
duty is to maximize the benefits of sport while reducing the inherent risks. A
large part in the risk reduction process is understanding how parents and
players can provide informed consent, and conveying the need for appropriate
insurance (NASPE, 2001).
Domain III, Growth, Development and Learning contains standards that address
individual and developmental differences in young players. Coaches must know
benchmarks of healthy physical, mental, and psychosocial development, and how to
plan and implement age and ability appropriate instruction. Accommodating
differences in body size and motor maturity in instruction will lead to early
motor success and self-confidence (NASPE, 2001).
Standards in Domain IV, Training, Conditioning and Nutrition are at the heart
of successful athletic performance and athlete safety. Coaches need to
understand the science of proper conditioning, and how the body's systems adjust
with training. Standards identify specific coach competencies that translate
into appropriate strength and cardiovascular performance goals, enhancing
performance with good nutrition, and stressing the harmful effects of chemicals
as related to alcohol, tobacco, and drug use (NASPE, 2001).
Domain V, Social/Psychological Aspects highlights the strong tie between the
social, emotional and physical factors influencing potential outcomes of sport.
Standards identify how coaches can develop a positive, confident athlete, while
recognizing individual differences and needs. Competencies in this domain help
coaches develop a positive coaching philosophy by keeping sport in perspective,
maintaining emotional control and using esteem building motivational strategies
to advance team and individual goals. Coaches can make a real difference in
developing character, by modeling appropriate competitive behaviors and
empowering athlete self control and personal responsibility (NASPE, 2001).
Domain VI, Skills, Tactics and Strategies deals with the essential knowledge
of fundamental sport skills and game tactics. Standards address the planning of
sequenced instruction of individual and team skills, game-like drills, and
seasonal planning. Developing feelings of sport competence is key to continued
sport participation. (NASPE, 2001).
Standards in Domain VII, Teaching and Administration, are essential to the
pedagogical development of the coach. Standards address a variety of
instructional methods in order to plan for systematic progression of skills.
Competencies focus on building a repertoire of instructional techniques, as well
as the art of selecting the right teaching method for the right learning
situation. Coaches must also learn objective and effective procedures for
evaluating and selecting players and staff, including how to diplomatically
convey evaluation information. Competencies also address how to nurture public
support by conveying the positive benefits of sport participation through
effective public relations (NASPE, 2001).
Domain VIII, Professional Preparation and Development, identifies standards
designed to increase awareness of the need for continued professional
development and recommend additional resources for coaching hints, safety, sport
science, and sport- specific information. Coaching clinics, supervised practical
field experiences and experienced coach mentoring are ongoing aspects of
professional development (NASPE, 2001).
The establishment and support of national
standards for coach education provides the core for an integrated system of
preparing qualified coaches. National Standards act to assure the public that
professional preparation meets the critical needs of its constituency.
Established standards foster continued improvement in the content and delivery
of professional curricula and in the selection, guidance, supervision and
assessment of the professional preparation of coaches. The establishment of
National Standards for Athletic Coaching provides a consistent framework from
which coach educators and coaching practitioners may establish accountability
and credibility in the coaching profession.
Abraham, A. & Collins, D. (1998). Examining
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American Sport Education Program [ASEP] (2001). Raising the standard: The
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in school: The future of an institution (pp. 55-65). New York: Teachers College,
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