Coach Education and Certification at Sportball
At Sportball we ensure that our coaches are passionate, professional, and certified. Our coaches not only have an array of sport backgrounds and value being physical active; they also love working with children. When coaches join the Sportball team, they begin an in-depth coach education and certification program that promotes consistent standards and practices across the organization, and is grounded in continuous learning. Our efforts to set our coaches up for success, and the commitment our coaches have to their role and to the children who attend their classes is demonstrated by a unique program feature that many sport organizations lack– coaches who continue coaching at Sportball year after year – some with over 20 years of experience!
Sportball’s coach education and certification program consists of four distinct levels of coaching. Each subsequent coaching level is designed to give coaches more responsibility, and enhance the opportunity for each coach to learn, grow, and contribute during their time with Sportball. The four coaching positions are termed:
Collectively, coaches have 100’s of hours of in-house coach education, and on the field practical training with mentor coaches. Coaches also participate in a number of workshops at each corresponding level of coaching. The following is a detailed outline of each level of the coach certification program, as well as the criteria for each levels’ successful completion:
Rookie Coaches – Level 1
To begin, when Rookie coaches join the Sportball team, they complete ten different introductory pre-coaching workshops. These workshops are designed to familiarise Rookie coaches with the basics of Sportball’s methodology, classroom management techniques, as well as how to use teachable moments to foster baseline, gross-motor, and social skills for children at different developmental stages. Rookie coaches are also paired with an experienced Mentor coach who they shadow and support in Sportball classes for a minimum of 50 hours; gaining practical experience leading warm-ups and performing secondary skill demonstrations. Throughout a season, Rookie coaches take on an increasingly larger role; gaining the confidence to lead sessions on their own. Rookie coaches are evaluated during the mentorship and at the programs completion by their mentor and the training team, and successful completion of the program qualifies Rookie coaches to become Leader coaches (discussed next).
Leader Coaches – Level 2
Leader coaches at Sportball are qualified to lead classes on their own, or with the support of a Rookie (Level 1) Sportball coach. With a minimum of 2 full seasons of coaching experience, Leader Coaches have a strong understanding of each of Sportball’s program levels (e.g., First Steps, ABC’s of Sports, Fundamentals, Skills and Teamplay, and Learn to Lead), as well as how to carefully adapt programming to children at each of these developmental stages. Leader coaches have a sound understanding of Sportball methodology, policies and procedures, and program delivery, and also complete supplemental workshops that provide a more in-depth understanding of each of these components. Leader coaches also receive additional training related to fostering communication, running birthday parties, and other special events.
Mentor Coaches – Level 3 and 4
Mentor coaches demonstrate having a firm grasp of the concepts and criteria associated with the first two levels of coaching, and are able to communicate and share their knowledge with a Level 1 or Level 2 mentee coach. Leader coaches are eligible to become Mentor coaches if they show an affinity for teaching others, and have successfully completed at least four seasons as a Leader coach. Subsequently, Mentor coaches complete coaching workshops designed to support their growth as a mentor and enhance their ability to teach others. While Level 3 Mentors have a minimum of 4 seasons of coaching experience, Level 4 Mentor coaches have a minimum of 8 full seasons coaching. At each level, greater responsibility, willingness to learn, and initiative is expected across all areas of coaching, and Mentor coaches communicate and lend their expertise to administration, marketing, and training.
Master Coaches – Level 5
Finally, Master level coaches at Sportball are professional-level coaches who have achieved mastery in Sportball methodology, exceed expectations in program delivery, and have knowledge and training in delivering specialized programs (e.g., adapted programs, camps). Master coaches have over 16 seasons of experience coaching at Sportball, and model exemplary leadership and professionalism in all aspects of their practice. Over time, dedicated Master coaches are involved in business expansion/ recruitment, and have the opportunity to engage with and run demonstrations for prospective community partners (e.g., community centres, daycares, schools). Master coaches may also join Sportball’s in-house education team, helping design and lead Rookie coach as well as supplemental workshops.
Overall, all of our Sportball coaches are observed and evaluated on a seasonal basis. This ensures that the quality of coaching at Sportball remains high, and that consistent standards and practices are met across the organization . The progressive structure of Sportball’s coach certification program not only gives coaches the confidence to do their job well, but it enables them to feel they play a larger role in the organization. This may help explain why we have so many coaches who return year after year. To learn more about Sportball coaches and each of their unique stories, visit us at: https://www.sportball.ca/niagara/our-coaches/
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