What Coaches Should Know - 8 Domains of Coaching Competencies
In 2006, NASPE called on experts from national governing bodies of sport, the United States Olympic Committee, National Federation of State High School Associations, and NASPE leadership to review and revise the popular 1995 standards for athletic coaches to be more consistent with current sport research and best practice.
The result is the National Standards for Sport Coaches (NSSC), 2 nd Edition. Download the NSSC Brochure
This publication identifies the skills and knowledge every coach needs to have and is organized into eight domains that describe significant coaching responsibilities.
Each of the 40 standards in this book is identified under a domain, presented with an explanation of its purpose and accompanied by benchmarks to provide concrete examples of actions and orientations that constitute coaching competence.
The benchmarks are performance guides which can be used in developing and assessing coaching competence, and can be applied to any sport or coaching program.
The National Standards for Sport Coaches are intended to provide direction for administrators, coaches, athletes and the public regarding the skills and knowledge that coaches should possess.
Coaching educators can use this book to provide quality training that will have a positive impact on their coaches’ performance. For sport administrators, this publication establishes benchmarks that can be used for hiring quality coaches. For coaches at every level, this publication is a performance guide for their own professional growth and skill development. The overriding premise in the development of this document; however, is that its contents be used to ensure the enjoyment, safety, and positive skill development of America's athletes.
8 Domains of Coaching Competencies and Sample Standards
Domain 1: Philosophy and Ethics is a new domain title that reflects the reorganization and prioritization of standards. Standards 1 through 4 clearly articulate the importance of an athlete-centered coaching philosophy and professional accountability for for fair play by all.
Sample Standard 1
Domain 2: Safety and Injury Prevention maintains the core standards of coach responsibility for providing safe conditions and appropriate actions when emergencies arise. It also addresses the need for coaches to know how to effectively participate as part of the sports medicine team. Standards 5 through 11 establish expectations for coaches to create and maintain a safe and healthy sport experience for all athletes.
Sample Standard 8
Domain 3: Physical Conditioning is an updated and more behavioral description of coaching responsibilities in the areas of physiological training, nutrition education, and maintaining a drug-free environment. Standards 12 through 15 highlight the importance of using scientific principles in designing and implementing conditioning programs for natural performance gains. Specific attention is given to body composition and weight management issues as well as awareness of contraindicated activities and over-training concerns. The important role physical conditioning plays in preventing and recovering from injuries is also included.
Sample Standard 13
Domain 4: Growth and Development maintains its original title and importance in the scope of coaching responsibilities. Standards 16 through 18 and related benchmarks more clearly identify developmental considerations in designing practice and competition to enhance the physical, social, and emotional growth of athletes. New to this area is the identification of the coach’s role in creating an inclusive learning environment that leads all athletes to feel welcome and supported and to have experiences that foster leadership skills.
Sample Standard 18
Domain 5: Teaching and Communication identifies standards for sound instructional strategies and interpersonal behavior of the coach. Responsibilities for creating a positive coaching style while maximizing learning and enjoyment are established in Standards 19 through 26. Emphasis is placed on individualizing instruction, empowering communication skills, and using good management techniques in designing practices. While effective instruction should enhance athlete motivation, additional attention is drawn to the critical influence coaching behavior plays in developing self-determined and satisfied athletes. Also new are benchmarks that make coaches aware of their role in mitigating bullying and harassment in the sport environment.
Sample Standard 24
Domain 6: Sport Skills and Tactics focuses on the need for coaches to have basic sport knowledge and be able to apply it to the competitive environment. Standards 27 through 29 focus on using basic sport skills and acceptance of prescribed rules in developing team and individual competitive tactics. Emphasis is placed on planning that is age appropriate, sequential, and progressive. Benchmarks highlight the coach’s role in making tactical and personnel decisions during competition. Also includes definitive expectations for scouting and game analysis.
Sample Standard 29
Domain 7: Organization and Administration identifies how the coach provides resources in the daily operation and management of the sport program. Standards 30 through 36 include risk management responsibilities as well as effective use of human and financial resources. Again, coaches play an important role in sharing administrative duties with any number of other stakeholders in maximizing the sport experience.
Sample Standard 31
Domain 8: Evaluation is a new domain that captures the numerous assessment skills necessary to be an effective coach. Standards 37 through 40 identify the ongoing evaluation responsibilities of the coach in areas such as personnel selection, on-time reflection of practice effectiveness, progress toward individual athlete goals, game management, and program evaluation. Creating a meaningful evaluation process for self-reflection and professional growth is also included in this area.
Sample Standard 40
Reprinted with the permission of the American Alliance for Health, Physical Education, Recreation and Dance.
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