When you place your child in a youth sports program, you trust that they will receive appropriate instruction from a skilled coach. According to the Sporting Goods Manufacturers Association, of the 6.5 million youth coaches, fewer than 1 in 5 are trained in effective motivational techniques and only 1 in 3 say they have been trained in sport skills or tactics. While each i9 Sports® coach is certified, background checked and has assistance from our staff, we continually strive to be the leader in changing these statistics!
With 26% of athletes quitting sports under the age of 12 due to poor coaching, something must change. Aspen Institute’s Project Play is focused on reimagining youth sports in America. The initiative has identified eight promising strategies that can be used to help every child become physically active through sports with “training all coaches” on the list. This plays directly into our efforts at i9 Sports®. As Project Play Champions, we are committed to doing all we can to keep kids playing and making sure coaches are equipped with everything they need to coach confidently and effectively!
So, what does properly training coaches consist of? One of the many ways we continue to improve our coaching process is through our coach training as well as the launch of our new national Coaches Certification. This new robust training includes a 30-minute interactive online “How to Coach Kids” course co-created by Nike and the United States Olympic Committee (USOC) and inspired by the Aspen Institute Project Play initiative. By early 2020 all our coaches will be required to become recertified every two years.
While the national coach certification is a powerful training that provides robust information to get coaches prepared for the season ahead, it’s still highly encouraged to attend a local coaches meeting. In fact, we’ve launched a new recommended format for these face-to-face meetings where it’s more clinic-based, and coaches experience a practice simulation, so they have first-hand experience going into the season. This helps get all the first day jitters out and makes coaches confident for taking the field or court on opening day.
We don’t stop our support when training and certification is completed. On game day, our coaches are supported by staff that are trained to identify when a coach needs assistance and how to provide it. Staff are always on hand to help coaches with practice execution and instruction, gather feedback and provide encouragement. In addition to staff, i9 Sports® provides weekly practice plans and sportsmanship value talking points to all coaches, so no coach has to design a practice from scratch. These plans provide age-appropriate developmental drills and games to help players learn the game.
Not only do good coaches make learning a sport FUN, which we believe sports should always be, but good coaches also lower kids’ anxiety levels and lift their self-esteem. Part of training and certifying our coaches includes teaching them about the i9 Sports® culture, the importance of good sportsmanship, having fun and making sure that a wonderful experience is provided all season long!
Find out more about becoming a coach here!