From May 1, 2010, to April 30, 2011, ASEP worked with many organizations to educate 48,264 scholastic and youth sport coaches. Yet we are touching only a fraction of U.S. coaches. There are 44.5 million athletes ages 6 to 17 participating in scholastic and youth sport programs across the United States. There are 7.5 million coaches who guide these athletes, and annual turnover ranges from 25 to 40 percent. That translates to at least 1,875,000 new coaches annually. By 2015, ASEP should be educating 500,000 coaches annually, and even at that, we will be reaching only 26 percent of “new” coaches.
At the scholastic level evaluations from coaches taking our Coaching Principles classroom course have reinforced the interaction among coaches as the primary advantage of classroom delivery that cannot be replicated in an online environment. With that in mind, ASEP has re-committed itself to classroom education and is working with several states to revitalize their instructor networks. In March at the annual conference of the Pennsylvania State Athletic Directors Association (PSADA), 30 athletic directors were trained as Coaching Principles classroom instructors. This marked the second year of a three- year strategic plan on the part of PSADA to train 100 instructors. ASEP also supported the efforts of PSADA to train athletic directors in Philadelphia to become certified classroom instructors.
Additionally, a recent outreach effort resulted in 113 Athletic Directors from five states—Alabama (15), California (42), Illinois (20), Washington (16), and Wisconsin (20)—making a commitment to become instructors. In the last three months, 73 people have been trained under Jerry Reeder’s direction. While this moves us in a positive direction, the most important measure of success is still to come: more courses being delivered to more coaches by these new instructors.
Rainer Martens, founder of Human Kinetics and ASEP, is working on a revision of Successful Coaching, and the new edition should be released next summer. The revision of Successful Coaching requires that we also update our Coaching Principles classroom and online courses, which will be released at the same time as Successful Coaching. We were fortunate to secure extensive feedback from reviewers that influenced the revisions and will undoubtedly enhance the book and courses.
ASEP continues its strong relationship with Babe Ruth League (BRL) as we are well into our fourth season of educating coaches. Thousands of coaches have taken one of four BRL online courses this season. BRL’s commitment to high-quality coaching education is now ingrained as an accepted and expected part of their culture.
Sticking with baseball, last fall Hawaii PONY Baseball established a set of standards for coaches that included requiring coaches to take the PONY Coaching Youth Baseball online course. Working with state director Gwen Earll, ASEP enhanced the registration process , enabling coaches to affiliate with local leagues and allowing leagues to track their coaches. Since December 2010, 502 PONY Hawaii coaches have taken the online baseball course.
When American Youth Football (AYF) chose ASEP to customize online courses for their football and cheer coaches, they, too, made a commitment to their players by establishing standards of excellence for their coaches. AYF programs like Central Massachusetts Youth Football and Cheer Conference have committed to these standards through leadership from the conference board and football director Tim Whitcomb, who indicated that they intend to have all their coaches certified by August 1, 2011. As the 2012 season approaches, more AYF programs across the country are taking similar steps to get their coaches educated.
Camp Howard Catholic Youth Organization (CHCYO) has 40 programs with 1,200 coaches in and around Portland, Oregon, who annually provide over 10,000 youth with experiences in football, basketball, lacrosse, volleyball, cheerleading, track and field, and swimming. Under the leadership of Sister Krista von Borstel, CHCYO has a mandatory coaching certification program that includes these features:
- Annual background check
- Annual coaching contract for any sport or coaching position
- One-time ASEP Catholic Coaching Essentials online course
- One-time “Called to Protect” certification program dealing with preventing the abuse of children
Since going online with the ASEP Catholic Coaching Essentials course four years ago, CHCYO has put an average of 379 coaches through the course each year. Sister von Borstel gives credit to athletic directors at the 40 clubs for their leadership indicating, “We do not get many complaints about what we expect people to do. I think that might be because we hold the bar of expectations pretty high, and the people who work with us appreciate that.”
Other notable developments include establishing new partnerships focused on volunteer coaches, and creating, hosting, and delivering customized online courses, most notably with Pop Warner Little Scholars and Special Olympics. ASEP also worked closely with the Illinois High School Association to customize the Officiating Principles online course to be used in certifying first-time officials.
ASEP continues efforts to provide the highest-quality resources. ASEP worked with USA Wrestling to revise the USAW Copper Level Coaching Youth Wrestling online course, which reached over 1,000 coaches this year. Additionally, USA Gymnastics provided the content expertise in Coaching Youth Gymnastics, which has already sold 3,365 copies. Successful Sports Officiating and the Officiating Principles course are also being revised and are scheduled for release this fall. And the fifth edition of Coaching Youth Soccer was just published with the help of content expert Sam Snow, who is the Director of Coaching for US Youth Soccer.
You may have also noticed that ASEP has been delivering webinars on a monthly basis since August 2010. On July 27, you will have the opportunity to hear and learn from one of the nation’s foremost authorities on nutrition, Leslie Bonci, author of Sport Nutrition for Coaches. These sessions have been well attended, and by recording them we have provided a valuable resource that is always accessible.
Our commitment to providing innovative solutions also resulted in the redesign of our website, which was launched in December 2010. Additionally, we are developing a series of iPhone applications for coaches. Since introducing Go Coach Soccer in October 2010, we have developed Go Coach Baseball which we did in conjunction with Babe Ruth League. We just released Go Coach Football, and Go Coach Basketball will be released this fall.
ASEP doesn’t run programs; rather, we develop resources to help administrators, coaches, and parents provide the best programs for their athletes. Let us know how you think we are doing, and by all means let us know how we can better serve your needs. In particular, as we continue efforts to enhance existing products and services, while seeking new opportunities to reach more coaches, administrators and parents, we welcome your thoughts on how we can do sport education better.
You can reach me at JamesS@hkusa.com.
Jim Schmutz, ASEP Executive Director