Missouri youth coaches receive top-notch training through National Alliance for Youth Sports (NAYS) program

9/3/2009

With a presence in more than 3,500 communities worldwide, youth sports leagues in every state in the union are benefiting from the programs and services offered by the National Alliance for Youth Sports (NAYS) – and Missouri is no exception.
 
To date, more than 40 Missouri communities are currently training and educating their youth sports coaches through NAYS’ innovative membership program, the National Youth Sports Coaches Association (NYSCA). NYSCA is the oldest volunteer youth sports coaches training program in the nation, having trained more than 2.5 million coaches since 1981.
 
“When asking a volunteer to step in and coach it is our professional responsibility to give them the resources and tools to be successful,” said Sheila Lillis, director of Gladstone Parks and Recreation (Mo.). “I feel that the NYSCA is a part of those tools. I wouldn't consider providing a youth program without this training for all our coaches.” 
 
GladstoneParks and Recreation has been a valued NYSCA chapter since 1990. Like many Missouri NYSCA chapters, NYSCA training and certification is mandatory for all its coaches, and its membership dues are paid for by the department. Gladstone holds six live clinics a year for coaches in sports such as volleyball, soccer, flag football, baseball and basketball.
 
“I feel that this training program helps with all aspects of coaching and dealing with parents,” Lillis said. “I wouldn't consider providing a youth program without this training for all our coaches. Again, a very good tool for getting coaches in a position to be successful.”
 
Although NYSCA’s online clinics have been growing in popularity, Gladstone still prefers to hold traditional live clinics in classroom-like settings so that department staff can inform and educate coaches on specific league rules and regulations.
 
“It gives our department a place to start and provide a starting point for our volunteer coaches,” Lillis said. “Many of our coaches don't always have the experience of playing the sport or even being a team member. The training gives all the basic information about coaching and team organization, plus provides the basic skill training. It provides a common sense approach to being a volunteer coach and gives that coach the basic skills to be successful.”
 
For many leagues, scheduling live clinics that accommodate multiple schedules can be difficult – and that is why NYSCA Online is such a valuable tool. Moberly Parks and Recreation (Mo.) has been running live clinics since 1988, but like many leagues, they are now seeing more and more coaches take advantage of the online option.
 
“This program allows all coaches, new or experienced, the basic knowledge of coaching and the responsibilities that go into coaching,” said Katie Noyd, recreation specialist for Moberly Parks and Recreation. “The NYSCA standards encourage coaches to be leading by example and teaching kids fundamentals, sportsmanship and fun. The coaches appreciate the classes and are able to pull some new skills or drills from the videos.”
 
Even though many Moberly coaches are using NYSCA Online, several still attend live clinics that are held before the start of each season. Moberly mandates that all coaches receive some form of NYSCA training in order to maintain a high standard of coaching and also to effectively communicate what those standards for coaches are.
 
Annual membership for NYSCA is $20, however, many communities throughout Missouri have been successful in attaining grants that proudly support NYSCA training, such as The Daniels Fund.
 
Just recently, the Waynesville Youth Football League (Mo.) received a grant from the Daniels Fund to finance the training and certification of every coach in their league.

“The grant allowed us to give our coaches a break and not have to pay for it themselves. Our league is big enough to be able to pay for it for our coaches,” said Vincent “Jay” Schofield, president of the Waynesville Youth Football League. “They must do it for themselves if they wish to coach.”

More than 220 football players and 50 cheerleaders living in the Waynesville, Mo. area participate in the Waynesville Youth Football League each year. To guide these youngsters, between 55 and 60 volunteer residents donate their time and energy each year as coaches. As is the case with many youth leagues in Missouri, these devoted individuals are now backed by the support and training of a known and proven national youth sports organization.
 
"I took over the program four years ago and they really didn't require any form of certification,” Schofield said. “So I did some research and found that the NYSCA program was what we were looking for.”
 
As youth sports numbers continue to rise, many more Missouri youth sports leagues are beginning to follow the lead of organizations like the Waynesville Youth Football League, Moberly Parks and Recreation and Gladstone Parks and Recreation in demanding accountability from their youth sports coaches by mandating NYSCA training.
 
Other active Missouri NYSCA chapters include: Boys & Girls Club of Greater Kansas City, Columbia Youth Football, USA Ft. Leonard Wood, Less Summit Parks and Recreation, Maryville Parks and Recreation, North Kansas City Parks and Recreation, Raytown Parks and Recreation, Sedalia Park and Recreation Department, Springfield-Greene County Park Board, Union Parks and Recreation Department, Washington Parks and Recreation Department, Whiteman Air Force Base Youth Center, Wentzville Parks and Recreation, City of St. Peters, Warsaw Parks and Recreation Department, City of Farmington Parks and Recreation, Warrensburg Parks and Recreation Department, Blue Springs Athletic Association, O’Fallon Junior Renegades, Mighty Mites Youth Football, City of Des Peres Parks and Recreation, Ozarks Football League, Inc., Boys and Girls Club of the Ozarks, Laquey Community Sports Leagues, Marshall Parks and Recreation, Mo-Kan Sports Association, Harrisonville Youth Football League, Cass County Junior Athletic Association (CCJAA), Webster Groves Baseball/Softball League, Centralia Panther Youth Football, Belton Parks and Recreation and St. Clair Soccer Association.
 
For more information, or to locate an NYSCA chapter in your area, visit www.nays.org, email nays@nays.org or call (800) 729-2057.

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