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Brylinsky issues national coaching report in Washington

Aug. 7, 2008

KALAMAZOO--The nation needs to increase the kind of training adults receive before they work as coaches for young athletes, according to a new report released Aug. 6 in Washington, D.C.

Speaking at the National Press Club, Western Michigan University's Dr. Jody Brylinsky unveiled results of the National Coaching Report, outlining the importance of having coaches well educated and fully qualified so that young people have a quality sport experience.

Brylinsky, a professor of health, physical education and recreation, is nationally known as an expert on coaching young people. She led the National Coaching Report Task Force, which produced the report under the auspices of the National Association for Sport and Physical Education in partnership with the National Federation of State High School Associations. The report is the only comprehensive piece addressing both youth and interscholastic sport coaching requirements in the United States.

Released only days before the start of the 2008 International Olympics in Beijing, the report stresses the importance of qualified coaches for every athlete and notes that many Olympians' positive athletic experiences were a result of the influence and impact of their coaches.

"The National Coaching Report clearly illustrates the need to increase the quality of training adults receive prior to engaging in coaching responsibilities," Brylinsky said in announcing the findings. "It also serves as a resource and advocacy tool for developing policy and legislation that requires coaching education."

Obtain a copy of the full report online.

Coaching Education Requirements

  • Eighty-four percent of states have a coaching education requirement. In some states, the requirement only applies to positions such as head varsity coach (Idaho), head coach (Minnesota), paid coach (New Hampshire), first-time coach (Alabama and Texas), and non-faculty coach (Alabama and Texas).
  • Of the states requiring coaching education, 15 states exempt individuals who have a teaching credential, regardless of the subject area in which they teach.
  • Twenty-two percent of states recommend coaching education. New Hampshire recommends that all volunteer coaches complete training.


  • In most instances, the State Board/Department of Education (25 percent), activities association (43 percent), other state associations such as principals associations (8 percent), or local school district (2 percent), establish and oversee coaching education requirements.


  • The most commonly identified content areas for coaching education are: fundamentals of coaching course, first aid course, CPR training and sport rules training.

A NASPE past president, Dr. Brylinsky chaired the writing team for the second revision of the National Standards for Sport Coaches and has participated as an accreditation reader for the National Council for Accreditation of Coaching Education. Western Michigan University is an NCACE Level 5 graduate program preparing master level coaches. She is also a former college coach and athletic director, USOC Project Gold participant and Special Olympic Coach volunteer. She provides perspective to current instruction and research interests involving coach education.

The National Coaching Report provides a baseline of what is being done to train coaches at the youth and interscholastic sport levels. Sport officials, State Board/Department of Education administrators, legislators and parents can now view the requirements set forth by state legislation, mandates or sports organizations for coach preparation in each state and the District of Columbia.

Recommendations for Action

NASPE recommends that all coaches be required to complete a quality coaching education program. In addition, NASPE recommends that decision makers:

  • Promote communication between the state activities association and the Board of Education
  • Develop an infrastructure to track and record the number of interscholastic coaches and the number of coaches who have completed coaching education programs
  • Recognize that the role of the coach requires specialized skills and knowledge that must be developed through formal training based on the National Standards for Sport Coaches
  • Redefine strategies to make coaching education accessible, affordable and based on the needs of adult learners
  • Mandate that all coaches complete coaching education requirements prior to working with athletes.

"An optimal sport experience requires caring and professionally trained coaches," says NASPE President Fran Cleland, professor of kinesiology at West Chester University. "Parents across the country send their children to practices and events with the expectation that adult supervision will bring positive sport outcomes, maximal learning and skill development. Yet horror stories persist about dramatic increases in winning-obsessed parents, sport injuries, over-specialization of young athletes, and children quitting sports because they simply aren't fun anymore."

As a public service, NASPE is providing a full copy of the report online. Printed copies of the report may be obtained by calling (800) 321-0789. The price for the 156-page publication is $24.

Media contact, WMU: Cheryl Roland, (269) 387-8400, cheryl.roland@wmich.edu
Media contact, NASPE: Paula Keyes Kun, (703) 476-3461

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