Sports Coach Development

Coaching SoccerThe skills necessary to be a sport coach have never been more highly valued around the world. All major international sporting organizations recognize the importance of quality coaches. National Olympic Committees and International Sport Federations across the globe have supported the implementation of the International Sports Coaches Framework (ISCF) developed by the International Council for Coaching Excellence (ICCE).

Countries around the world use a variety of methods and processes to build the parallel tracks of athlete and coach development in order to bring the right athletes in contact with the right coach at the right time. It is clear from studying NationalICCE Sports Development Plans and Coach Development Frameworks that all countries that have sustained success at the international level of sports have a systemic approach for providing coach education. Formal education coupled with informal experience develops a community of coaches that can provide the support necessary for athletes to pursue excellence in the international arena.

As an organizational member of ICCE, the United States Sports Academy has developed a multi-tiered International Sports Coach Development Curriculum utilizing the ICSF and best principles from high performing national federations. The curriculum is designed to provide the appropriate technical, tactical, and interpersonal knowledge at three distinct milestones on the coach development pathway and to focus on the specific context in which the coach is working.

Lead Coach Development Program

The first coaches encountered by emerging athletes are critical to how the athletes perceives the sport. These coaches play a vital role in developing the desire of young athletes to build their skills and aspire to the next level of competition. The LCDP consists of four courses plus the Practical Application & Sports Clinic. Sports Coaching Methodology serves as the foundation. The remaining three courses; Athlete Development, Strength & Conditioning for the Emerging Athlete, and Sport Psychology for the Emerging Athlete; provide the critical domain-specific knowledge required for coaches to successfully build relationships and team culture as well as deliver practice and competition plans.

Becoming a quality coach requires the development of proficiency across a number of functional areas. This course will introduce a framework of coaching knowledge and core competencies. This course is designed to focus on the intrapersonal and interpersonal coach knowledge categories with specific attention paid to developing a sound coaching philosophy, creating a reliable practice of self-reflection and review, understanding the importance of communication, and shaping the environment of practices and competitions to lead to highly effective athlete experiences.
This course provides the students with an overview of the stages of athletic development designed to educate sport coaches on stages of athletic development and how to best teach and train athletes within each stage. The stages an athlete passes through during an athletic career will be covered including how to recognize each stage, how to transition between stages, and what techniques are best suited for an athlete within each stage.
This course provides students the opportunity to learn introductory and fundamental principles related to strength and conditioning that will serve professional knowledge of the journey to becoming a quality coach. The course will start with key terms and concepts in applied anatomy and physiology. An understanding of the human body’s form and function is needed prior to exploring how best to train the body to perform better. Specific focus will be placed on the unique context of the adolescent and young adult athlete. Next, the course will cover the key elements of effectively incorporating a strength and conditioning program within an athlete development plan; including evaluation of athlete needs, training principles, and assessment of progress.
Quality coaches understand the role of psychological principles in human performance. They incorporate mental skills into practice and competition to enhance performance and athlete wellbeing. This course is designed to provide the student with the information gleaned from research in the field of sport and exercise psychology, as well as practical knowledge, to become a more effective coach. Students will better understand concepts such as motivation, goal-setting, attention & concentration, mental imagery, and team cohesion.
This course provides the opportunity for students to observe, and to participate in, the use of the program content in a practical setting. An emphasis is placed on utilizing, the Plan, Implement, Review, Adjust cycle for continuous improvement within a specific coaching context.

Head Coach Development Program

Each course in the HCDP is specifically designed to meet the needs of coaching professionals to become leaders within their communities as Head Coaches. The HCDP consists of four courses plus the Coaching Practicum. The four courses are: Sports Coaching Methodology, Coaching Technical & Tactical Skills; Strength & Conditioning for Performance Athletes; Sport Psychology for Performance Athletes.

This advanced course is designed to serve as the foundation for students to progress towards becoming a Head Coach who can organize and communicate the Plan, Implement, Review, Adjust cycle for an entire program including multiple training groups and a staff of Lead and Assistant Coaches. This course will discuss the primary functions of quality coaches (Set the Vision & Strategy, shape the Environment, Build Relationships, Conduct Practices & Structure Competitions, Read & React to the Field, and Learn & Reflect) from a program management perspective.
This course is designed to focus on physical, physiological, and psychological factors that affect motor skill acquisition, performance, retention, and transfer. The full range of skills from foundational movement to precision technical sports skills will be considered with a special focus on topics such as practice planning, drill design, and feedback for learning and motivation.
This is a course designed to study the fundamental principles of training and nutrition associated with the disciplines of physical education, sport, and exercise. The course is intended to develop students’ knowledge and understanding of the anatomical and physiological systems within the human body. Head coaches can use sport conditioning, strength training, and an awareness of fitness and nutrition programs in order to enhance individual and team performance in competition. This knowledge should translate into the ability to design and implement various sport conditioning programs.
This course focuses on the study of human behavior in sport and exercise settings. It is designed to provide the student with information about research in the field of sport and exercise psychology as well as practical knowledge to become a more athletic coach. Sport and exercise psychology provides us with knowledge to bridge the gap between research and practice that can help coaches have a positive effect on their athletes.
The coaching practicum is designed to give sport coaching students supervised, practical applications of the theory learned in the preceding courses. The practicum provides a hands-on experience of the Plan/Execute/Reflect cycle. The practicum also provides an opportunity for students to coach with observation from a trained and experienced coach in their field.

National Coach Development Program

This program was initially developed by the Academy in 1979 as the International Certification in Sports Coaching (ICSC) program and has been delivered almost 80 times in countries all around the globe. The program provides student coaches with the knowledge and skills to succeed in coaching at the highest levels of sport. Courses focus on high performance planning, advanced sports psychology, testing & evaluation, advanced physical training & conditioning, sports nutrition, and sports medicine. The certification program consists of six courses with an option for an international study tour for qualified students.

This advanced course is designed to serve as the foundation for students to progress towards becoming a National Coach who can develop, organize and communicate a High Performance Plan that will benefit their respective sport at the regional or national level. This course will discuss the primary functions of quality coaches (Set the Vision & Strategy, shape the Environment, Build Relationships, Conduct Practices & Structure Competitions, Read & React to the Field, and Learn & Reflect) from a systems analysis perspective.
Designed to develop an understanding of measurement and evaluation concepts in a high performance sports setting; application relevant to assessment in the physiological, psychomotor, cognitive and affective domains; activities include collection and computer analysis of data of athletes and teams.
This is an advanced course is designed to build on a coach’s skills in assessing the fundamental movements, physical literacy, speed, strength, & power of athletes. Coaches will develop their ability to design annual, seasonal, and weekly programming based on the individual needs of athletes within their specific context (sport, athlete developmental level, and structural and societal supports).
This advanced course focuses on the ability of coaches to enhance the positive effects of human behavior in sport and exercise settings. It is designed to provide the student with experience in designing and conducting positive learning environments for athletic teams. The latest science in skill acquisition, practice design, and psychological skills training for high-performance will be the center of the course. Primary functions of coaches such as building trust and conducting effective practice session will be discussed and used in student led projects.
This course provides the students with an overview of the essentials of injury prevention and care. It is designed to educate sport professionals, fitness professionals, and sport coaches on how to prevent, assess, and manage sport injuries through practical application. This course illustrates the roles of those in charge of athlete well-being and covers effective and practical ways to administer sports first aid. The course focuses on performance enhancement, injury care, injury prevention, and rehabilitation. Students have the opportunity to apply sports first aid skills and techniques through a practical style of learning and instructor-led demonstrations.
This course covers the principles of sound nutrition as they relate to high performance athletes. With the growing focus on performance enhancing drugs, this course provides a basic understanding of the variety of substances, both natural and prohibited, used in today’s world to enhance performance. Students will also learn how they work, if they really work, which are illegal and how they can be detected. Finally, the many ethical issues associated with the use of performance enhancing drugs will be discussed.

Mentor Coach Program

The research in coach education recognizes that informal interactions with experienced coaches is a key element of further development among experienced coaches. At all steps on the development pathway it is beneficial for coaches to be observed, evaluated, and led through personal reflection with a Mentor Coach. The International Mentor Coach Program is designed to train a small group of experienced coaches, nominated by the National Sport Federations, to fill this critical role and to build a cohort of Mentor Coaches that can provide this service throughout the nation. Due to the highly contextual nature of training Mentor Coaches, this program is developed in collaboration with, and specifically for partner National Olympic Committees or Professional Leagues.