Coach Brad · Education · Leadership · Positive Sports Environment · Success

Coach Education in the Limelight

cc961c_8cd74c239aad46e28ccb85660df9b96a-mv2Last week I was fortunate to attend and present at the United States Center for Coaching Excellence (USCCE) National Coaching Conference. This opportunity was introduced to me by Dr. Jody Langdon as I was not familiar with the organization. As I became more knowledgeable about the USCCE, I began to realize the mission, structure, and function closely aligned with the beliefs of Educated Coaches.

The mission of the USCCE is to elevate and enhance sport coaching, coach education and coach development across all sport contexts in the United States. The diagram below paints a fantastic picture of what the organization is all about.


As an organization that is first and foremost about developing better coaches, I urge you to check out their website If you’re involved in training coaches and improving the profession, you should look into attending the 2018 convention and beginning to close the gap between theory and practice.

Over the course of the three-day conference, I took part in numerous lectures, workshops, and panel discussions.  My three biggest take-a-ways from the event include the following:

Keynote speaker Neeru Jayanthi, M.D. provided incredible knowledge presenting “Youth Sport Specialization: The Good, The Bad, and the Ugly.” A few of the fascinating aspects of this lecture that are all based on sound research practices include:

  • Young athletes should participate in one competitive sport per season.
  • Injured athletes had a mean age of specialization below 12 years old, while those who were not injured specialized at a mean age greater than 12 years old.
  • Young athletes should take at least three months off from competition per year.
  • Do not spend more hours per week than your age playing organized sport.
  • Follow a 2 to 1 ratio in that an individual should not spend more than twice as much time playing organized sports as spent playing unorganized sports. If an athlete has eight hours organized they should have a minimum of four hours unorganized.

According to Dr. Jayanthi, young athletes that do not follow these suggestions face an increased risk of injury, especially overuse injuries. His presentation had an impact on my beliefs and I hope parents and coaches begin to follow these tips.

Another keynote speaker I thoroughly enjoyed and learned from was Clive Brewer, Associate Director of High Performance for the Toronto Blue Jays. The title of the presentation was “Evidence Based Practice: The Blue Jays High Performance Approach to Athlete Development.”

Throughout the presentation, Clive highlighted his job of integrating nutrition, psychology, data, strength and conditioning, and sports medicine into the life of each baseball player in the Blue Jays organization. He explained what sport performance is and how it effects the level of success of each team he works with on a daily basis. Clive described his aim is to have the best players available and optimally prepared for each performance as often as possible. As simple as he makes this sound, the depth of the detail and processes for each participant and group in the organization were what makes the difference with the effectiveness of the program Clive has developed. The ability of the group of coaches Clive oversees to track important data and present it to the players in a meaningful and useable way has given the Blue Jays a formidable advantage over other Professional Baseball teams and I would imagine more organizations will move to the model of creating a group of coaches in charge of high performance.

Linda Low provided another memorable opportunity for learning when I took her Master Class titled, “Coaching coaches to develop through integration the attributes within the athlete pathway – Reflecting the needs of your sport and the stage of the athlete’s development.”

This presentation described the process of how to create training sessions for sports that focus upon Psychological Characteristics of Developing Excellence (PCDE’s) as opposed to sessions that focus only on advancement through technical, tactical, social, mental, or physical development. Examples of PCDE’s are

  • Goal-Setting
  • Realistic Performance Evaluations
  • Imagery
  • Planning and Organizational Skills
  • Commitment
  • Focus and Distraction Control
  • Coping with Pressure
  • Self-Awareness

While technical, tactical, etc. development is the secondary objective, the coach instructs by teaching the PCDE as the most important objective when interacting with the participants. Immediately when beginning the session, the coach introduces the PCDE focus and through prior planning, offers points of reflection and facilitation throughout the session to allow the players to learn through guided discovery. Connecting sport instruction with PCDE’s in an intentional manner with preconceived plans provides each athlete with the opportunity to develop skills for success on and off the field. Learn more about this process by CLICKING HERE.

Over the course of the three-day conference I was able to meet and network with individuals associated with the following coach education groups:

These amazing coach educators are creating programs that develop knowledgeable coaches. What an amazing future youth, high school, and collegiate sport participants will have being trained, mentored, and coached from individuals developed by groups like the ones above.

As far as coach education, the future looks amazing and I look forward to the day that all coaches from all age groups and skill levels are not only required to receive coaching education, but actually want to receive this information to create better athlete experiences and outcomes. One day…this will be the expectation, not the exception!!!

Empowering athletes, families, coaches, and organizations to create opportunities for lifetime success,

Coach Brad

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