By: John Engh, Chief Operating Officer
National Alliance for Youth Sports
So our energetic marketing director, Kate Dilworth came up with the idea that we needed to prove that there is a big disconnect between what we as professionals think should happen on our public facilities and what in fact, is actually happening. I said, "Well, we already know that is the case!" And she, being a persuasive marketing director said, "We have been SAYING it for a long time – but we need to PROVE it!"
So as many of you may know, we recently completed the "What's happening on your fields?" research study. Professionals from over 100 communities responded and here are the FACTS!
We know that there has been a shift toward youth sports being run by volunteer-based independent agencies. The numbers show that 88% of the communities surveyed have outside groups running programs on their fields and over 50% of those say that outside groups run the MAJORITY of their programs.
Now here's the hard part to swallow: Almost everyone (92% of recreation professionals) felt like the people that oversee those volunteer programs should be required to have some sort of youth sports training – yet less than one in five (19%) actually require any form of training for those individuals! Is it any wonder that we still see all kinds of reports of improper behavior at youth sporting events? Things like reports of embezzlement, parent misbehavior, coaches doing anything to win games?
We feel it's so important to get this type of training out there that we completely revamped our NYSAA (National Youth Sports Administrators) program for volunteers, and are offering it for FREE to one individual from any valid volunteer based sports organization!
It kind of reminds me of the old four out of five dentist recommend sugarless gum for their patients who chew gum ads! I always said, "Who is that fifth dentist and what is he telling his patients?!?!"
So it's time to fill in that gap. There is absolutely no reason for only 1-5 to require this type of training anymore – let's get that number up and I think we will start seeing results immediately!
What do you think? Post your thoughts below.
The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of the National Alliance for Youth Sports.