In the summer of 2021, in collaboration with the University of Washington Center for Leadership in Athletics (UWCLA), we received a grant from the Susan Crown Exchange (SCE) to train coaches in youth development techniques. As part of a cohort of 10 leaders in youth sports, we’ll reach one million coaches across the country and create a better playing environment for our youth!
The SCE works to prepare youth to thrive in a rapidly changing world. This work prioritizes initiatives that promote social and emotional learning (SEL), explore the relationships between technology and society, and build critical skills through youth sports. What unites all of SCE’s partners is their commitment to creating opportunities for young people.
The evidence is clear: well-trained coaches are far more likely to promote positive outcomes, while poorly-trained coaches can actually have a negative impact. So why aren’t more coaches trained?
While most youth sports coaches recognize the key role they play in promoting youth development, they often don’t feel supported in doing so. Coaches report that existing trainings are either too costly, too time consuming, too hard to implement, or fail to incorporate youth development practices. The majority of coach training that exists is designed to win games—not necessarily to help kids thrive.
Less than one third of the country’s six million coaches have been trained in youth development practices. This is a missed opportunity. So Susan Crown Exchange (SCE) called on the boldest, most innovative actors to close this gap. SCE and its partners envision a world in which all young athletes, regardless of their family’s income, their gender, their race, or their ability status, have access to coaches who are well- versed in youth development and skill-building techniques that help kids succeed on and off the field. The first step: train one million coaches by 2025.
Through the Million Coaches Challenge, the Susan Crown Exchange is funding 10 leading youth sports organizations to achieve this goal. Together, we can build a future where our kids know how to work together, celebrate success, manage failure, and are equipped with the skills they need to thrive.