Would certifications make for better coaches? That was the question we asked a few weeks ago and the feedback just started pouring on from both sides of the argument. Some say that certification means nothing and a piece of paper doesn’t make you a good coach. Others say that certification helps ensure all coaches have a working knowledge of the sport and can grow as coaches over time. Both sides of the fence made great cases for why youth sports coaches should be certified or not, but in a recent discussion on LinkedIn Lorenzo Murillo, a strength and conditioning coach, brought up a great point. He said;
In reality, the unsporting behavior has nothing to do with [sic] certificiation and more to a lack of proper [sic] managmenet of soccer leagues. The existing leagues, put up a schedule, a field and time and are done. This leaves quite an open room for misbehavior by coaches.
The proper way to handle this is by having league staff on game days. When they spot a coach misbehaving, they should talk to him and note the incident on the game report. Then, the league disciplinary committee has said coach appear and explain to him that such behavior will have him kick off the league and state association.
He raises an interesting point. Should youth sports leagues be doing more to stop unsportsmanlike behavior amongst their coaches? Are leagues ultimately responsible for the behavior of their coaches?
The NAYS recommends that communities have a trained youth sports administrator to oversee their youth sports organization, yet estimates that 90% of sports administrators are actually untrained in how to properly manage youth sports programs. As the point out, a sports league might be run by the town, a school, a religious organization, a larger governing body, or even just a group of like-minded parents. One community might have 3 or 4 competing organizations. And many volunteer-run sports organizations have no formal code of conduct policy in place, and even if they do there is no one within the league willing or able to enforce the rules.
Parents, coaches, and officials all bring their own opinions and attitudes to each game, and oftentimes those attitudes/opinions do not line up well. For instance, parents might want to make certain that every player gets equal playing time, while a coach believes that players have to earn playing time by demonstrating their skills in practice. Other coaches might have a more laid-back and easy-going coaching style, while parents are screaming from the sidelines. Sooner or later these different approaches to youth sports are going to clash. Without any programs or training in place to teach coaches, parents, and administrators the rules AND their individual responsibilities people are bound to butt heads…and hard.