Jul 17

An American National Sport Coaches Association?

I have been living in Alexandria, Va for the past two years. I quickly recognized that many national and regional associations representing groups of professionals or an industry are headquartered here.  A sampling of my favorites include:

IMG_1453 IMG_1454_2 IMG_1455

There must be dozens more associations like this here in Alexandria, Arlington and of course in DC. My favorite has to be the Stone, Sand, & Gravel Association.

But there is one that I have not stumbled on. Any kind of national association representing the seven million + sport coaches in the US who make huge positive contributions in our communities every day. Some would answer that SHAPE America, formerly AAHPERD, does that. But a review of “Who We Are” reveals no mention of sport coaches–actually its states this:

“…the leadership, professional development and advocacy that support health and physical educators at every level —from preschool to university graduate programs.”

Please do not construe this as criticism of SHAPE as it does wonderful work on behalf of other health and physical activity professions, but not to the same level for sport coaches. There has been some very good opportunities to lobby for federal funding–policy studies have come out in favor of it. The two most notable ones are:

  • The First Lady’s Task Force on Childhood Obesity in 2010
  • The Secretary of Health and Human Services, and the Secretary of Education’s report on Promoting Better Health for Young People in 2000.

Section 5 of the 2010 Report to the President from the  White House Task Force on Childhood Obesity listed one recommendation dealing with sport coaches.

Recommendation 5.7: State and local educational agencies should be encouraged to support interscholastic sports and help decrease prohibitive costs of sports by curbing practices such as “pay-to-play,” working with other public and private sector partners.

  • The Federal government should continue to support programs, such as those sponsored by the Corporation for National and Community Service, that train and develop more qualified coaches for intramural sports teams and programs, and should collaborate with state, and local governments, nonprofits, philanthropies, and private sector partners to ensure that these programs are more widespread.
  • State and local governments should consider strategies to make facilities and coaches more available for local youth sports teams.
  • College and university sports teams should engage K-12 teams to increase opportunities for young people to learn about sports and receive coaching, and local sports figures and busi- nesses should become more involved in supporting or sponsoring K-12 sports teams.

The November 2000 Promoting Better Health for Young People through Physical Activity & Sports; A Report to the President from the Secretary of Health and Human Services, and the Secretary of Education. (Find it here online.) called for investment in the preparation of sport coaches. Its Strategy Seven specifically dealt with sport coaches:

“Enable youth sports and recreation programs to provide coaches and recreation program staff with the training they need to offer developmentally appropriate, safe and enjoyable physical activity experiences for young people.”

Is there a need for such an organization to advocate for sport coaches on a national level? I whole heartedly state yes. Why? No one stood up and to advocate and secure federal funding to better prepare sport coaches to work in our communities. From what I know, other than Up2Us (since 2008 or so), no organization has done so. The 2000 opportunity might have been the best one since the federal budget situation was much better then.

So where do we go from here? There are numerous associations of sport coaches at the local and regional/state level and  national sport specific ones as well. For starters, maybe an umbrella organization should be formed to represent their interests at the national level? Followed by an expansion to represent all 7+ millions American sport coaches working every day at every level of sport in our communities.

If the professionals in the stone, sand, and gravel industry can do it, why not sport coaches?

Jul 05

New Book by Youth Sports Advocate–Bob Bigelow

I worked with Bob when I lived in the Boston area 2004-2014. He was doing LTAD before it was popular! Highly recommend his new ebook for any sport parent or youth sport coach/administrator.

Bob Bigelow, former college and NBA player, has advocated for youth sports reform for over 25 years, conducting hundreds of community talks, and making numerous conference and media appearances since 1990. He co-authored Just Let the Kids Play (2001), the first book to identify that youth sports “systems” are the root cause of the many problems children face in simply enjoying and learning as they grow. This first book offered practical ways to restructure youth programs to better serve the physical and emotional needs of children. Bob’s recommendations included limiting (and even eliminating) elite traveling teams at young ages, promoting equal playing time, creating team parity, implementing shorter seasons to avoid burnout and overuse injuries, playing multiple sports for better long-term athletic development, recognizing some kids are later bloomers who shouldn’t get left out, and improving coach training and parent education. Bob also introduced his unique “Recess Model” for youth sports. Bob urged that parents, coaches and program administrators need to change their philosophy to truly allow children to enjoy sports and better learn the fundamentals.

NOW, in his second book, Youth Sports: Still Failing Our Kids – How to Really Fix It, Bob goes many steps further in demonstrating how improved structures for play can actually increase the development of children’s skills. Bob has conducted first-of-their-kind quantitative studies that show how a better model for youth programs boosts how much kids learn as well as solves the problems in today’s youth sports environment. While other approaches in many previous books haven’t yet created true change, Bob offers a genuine blueprint for success. He also cites real world examples where new play models have already improved youth sports while offering terrific fun and enjoyment! If you really want to change kids’ sports, you must read this new book!


The cost of the book is just $2.99 to download and is available in all major formats, from Kindle at Amazon.com to Epub and others at BarnesandNoble.com.

Jun 24

The Value of Sound to Coaches

When I first saw the title to this Sports Coach UK blog, I jumped to the conclusion that it was about listening to athletes’ performance as another means of gaining insight to their effort and technique. Boy, was I wrong!

The blog describes how the sound of performance can be a useful reinforcement tool to cause an increase in performance. Also called “audio-based intervention,” it is another means for coaches to aid their athletes. Check out the article here for more information.

Jun 23

Call for Presentations–2017 Canadian Sport for Life Summit

The Sport for Life Society is calling on experts, researchers and practitioners from across the sport, recreation, health, education and public sectors to present their work at the 2017 Sport for Life Canadian Summit. By bringing these leaders together to share their innovations, Sport for Life aims to enhance the quality of sport and physical literacy in Canada. The Summit takes place January 24-26 in Gatineau, Quebec.
The 2017 Summit will focus on nurturing excellence. The term “excellence” can be described as achieving outstanding results, and it can be realized in any number of ways – through personal achievement, organizational or system effectiveness, or by changing the culture of an entire nation for the better. The concept of nurturing excellence suggests that an environment can be created in which excellence can flourish, both in quality and scale, through the intentional actions of an individual or group.
Fitting with this theme, the Summit will be broken into six streams: 
  • Excellence for All – will focus on initiatives that break down barriers to physical literacy development or to quality sport for underrepresented populations.
  • System Excellence – will discuss examples of cross-sectoral collaboration and system alignment from both a strategic and an activation perspective.
  • Excellence for Life – is intended to highlight how physical literacy and quality sport underpin health, happiness and success.
  • Technology Contributing for Excellence – will explore new technologies that change movement training and sport, as well as how we communicate.
  • Nurturing Excellence in Sport Development – will feature stories and methods of elevating quality within your organization, sector or jurisdiction.
  • Nurturing Excellence in High Performance Sport – will feature stories and methods of elevating quality within your organization, sector or jurisdiction.
  • As well, a number of presentations will be delivered in French. 
 If you have research, findings or best practices that speaks to any of these streams, submit an abstract to presentSubmissions will be accepted until July 15. Presenters will be notified of their acceptance by mid-August. Registration opens September 1. For more information, visit www.sportforlife.ca/summit.
For more information, contact Michelle Smith: michelle@podiumconferences.com

Jun 20

Sport Technology Update: Realtime Feedback from Medball or Barbell

I first blogged about new RFID technology being implanted in a basketball back in 2012. I recently came across similar technology being implanted in a medicine ball or attached to a barbell. Thanks to Assess2Perform, coaches and athletes now can measure almost instantly such MOEs as:

  • Angle of release
  • Rotational power
  • Bar speed and distance moved

Thanks to Bluetooth technology, that data is transmitted to a smartphone app at the end of each rep.

This technology allows coaches and athletes to judge performance based upon standard MOEs instead of just relying on distance for med balls or weight for strength training.


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