When the Coach Rating System was released to the more than 3,000 National Alliance for Youth Sports (NAYS) Chapters, many quickly incorporated the online tool into their youth sports programs. Developed by NAYS, the rating system provides a unique glimpse into the performance of a coach through anonymous parent feedback.
Most staff members from parks and recreation agencies and youth sports leagues conduct their own evaluations of their coaches’ skills; however, the Coach Rating System adds a new dimension to their evaluations by providing valuable insight directly from the parents of the children they work with.
Like all youth sports programs, the Jasper Youth Sports Association (Ga.) is dedicated to providing quality coaching instruction and in order to do so, relies on coach evaluations from the parents in their program.
Taking an innovative approach, they have incorporated their website in promoting the Coach Rating System to their parents. Listing each person on their coaching staff, each name is hyperlinked to the respective evaluation form, hosted on the NAYS website, making it simple for the parents to access and complete the evaluation for their child’s coach.
The parents rate the coaches on key coaching areas, including the coach’s knowledge of the sport’s rules, how effective their practices are, how well they teach sportsmanship, their proficiency at identifying and correcting improper technique, and how effective they are in motivating players, among others. Their evaluations are anonymous and the coaches only see their overall average for each coaching area.
Ease of access is critical in encouraging parents to participate in the Coach Rating System. According to Matt Shoffer, vice president of Jasper Youth Sports, more than 50 of their football and cheerleading coaches have been rated so far.
“The rating system is very useful,” said Shoffer. “Having our coaches’ scores available gives me something concrete to refer to when developing a plan to help them get better.”
As for the coaches, being able to see their strengths and weaknesses gives them valuable insight on areas they can focus on improving the remainder of the season.
For example, if a coach learns that he received high marks in every category but one, he can focus on improving that particular skill.
“I plan to follow up with the coaches to see if they have a specific area they would like us to work on as a result of their coach rating response,” Shoffer said.
The Coach Rating System is just one component of the four steps NAYS emphasizes in managing volunteer coaches. When chapter directors utilize NAYS resources for background screening, coach training, evaluation and accountability they can create a quality youth sports program built around providing a positive environment where youth athletes can learn both sports and life lessons.