All coaches, after being carefully selected, should at least have minimal training and orientation. Training could be conducted locally through a number of programs available. Veteran youth coaches or area high school and college coaches could be used to conduct this training.
Training should be conducted in the following areas:
- Care and Prevention of Athletic Injuries
- Emergency Care Protocol
- Pre-practice Warm-Up and Stretching
- Pratice Routines (i.e. Length and Frequency)
- Age Appropriate Conditioning
- Age Apporpriate Drills and Teaching Techniques
- Age Appropriate Team Strategies
- Protocol for Player and Parent Issues
- Expectations of Association and/or League
- Playing Time Policies and Expectations
- Techniques for Motivation
- How to Ensure a Positive Experience for All
In addition, a basic orientation meeting should be held for all coaches.
Sample Agenda for Pre-Season Coaches Meeting
- Review Association and/or League Handbook and Policies
- Importance of communication to the players, parents, assistant coaches, association personnel, league personnel, etc.
- List of squad members, contact information, emergency contacts, and medical forms
- Information on uniforms and equipment (i.e. who supplies, do kids own them, plan for return, where do you go with equipment problems, etc.)
- Access to training equipment and tools, keys to gates and storage areas
- Medical supplies-first aid kits and replacement items, Basic Athletic Trainer first responder, CPR and AED
- Emergency Medical Protocol and Procedures
- Suggested Team Rules and Policies
- Review policies on practice times, reservation and use of facilities, length of practices, etc.
- Recommend or require a team parent meeting
- Schedule for pictures, league meetings, play-offs, tournaments, etc.
- Reporting of results, schedule changes, use of association or league website, etc.
- Surveys for feedback from kids and parents
- Sample practice plans, clinics for sport specific X’s and O’s, age appropriate drills and strategies, etc.
- Resources for coaches (i.e. high school coaches, mentors, websites, books, etc.)
- Organizational Procedures, suggestions, tips, etc.
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2. Provide a Continuing Education Program for Experienced Coaches
(Provide a Continuing Education Program for Experienced Coaches that includes basic topics such as: Child Development, Sport Psychology, Risk Management, Sport First Aid, Sport Specific Rules, Techniques and Strategies, and Team Organization and Administration)
There are a variety of coaching education programs available for both beginner and veteran youth coaches. They include but are not limited to the following:
- American Sport Education Program: www.asep.com
- National Youth Sports Coaches Association: www.nays.org
- Positive Coaching Alliance: www.positivecoach.org
- Responsible Coaching/Youth Sports Coaches Guide: www.responsiblesports.com/responsible_coaching/default.aspx
- The Coaching Corner: www.thecoachingcorner.com
- USA Football: www.usafootball.com
- Check a sport’s governing body as well….
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3. Provide a System for Providing Adequate Feedback and Mentoring
(Develop a System for Providing Coaches with Adequate Feedback and Mentoring During the Season to Enhance Their Development)
- Have training observers observe coaches at practices and games and offer appropriate feedback.
- Develop a mentoring system whereby more veteran coaches are assigned to a “rookie” coach. Coaches visit periodically about issues, problems, and things that are going well.
- Coaches observe each other at practices and/or games.
- Conduct post-season surveys for parents and possibly players. Share problems or concerns with coaches.