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The 40 national standards for sport coaches are identified under one of eight domains. Each domain is presented below with an explanation of its purpose and a sample standard with benchmark to provide concrete examples of actions and orientations that constitute coaching competence.
Standards 1 through 4 clearly articulate the importance of an athlete-centered coaching philosophy and professional accountability for fair play by all.
Standards 5 through 11 establish expectations for coaches to create and maintain a safe and healthy sport experience for all athletes.
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.
Standards 16 through 18 and related benchmarks clearly identify developmental considerations in designing practice and competition to enhance the physical, social, and emotional growth of athletes. Included in 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.
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. This domain also includes benchmarks that make coaches aware of their role in mitigating bullying and harassment in the sport 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. Domain 6 also includes definitive expectations for scouting and game analysis.
Standards 30 through 36 include risk management responsibilities as well as effective use of human and financial resources. Coaches play an important role in sharing administrative duties with any number of other stakeholders in maximizing the sport experience.
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.