Harbor Youth Sports (Hawaii), the youth sports organization of the Pearl Harbor Naval Base, is stepping up its efforts to ensure that its coaches are providing the best experiences possible for the children under their care by mandating use of the new coach evaluation system offered by the National Youth Sports Coaches Association (NYSCA).
NYSCA, a membership and training program for coaches provided by the National Alliance for Youth Sports (NAYS), unveiled its innovative coach evaluation system earlier this year as a way for members to evaluate their coaching performance during the season. The system is an optional member benefit offered to all communities using the NYSCA program. However, Pearl Harbor Youth Sports is the first community to officially mandate it.
“I feel this evaluation system is important because it provides a value to something that we strive to achieve,” said Joe Stanczyk, assistant youth sports director for Pearl Harbor Youth Sports. “The program can also benefit from the evaluation. We can see if what we are trying to accomplish is working or not. We can see our strengths and areas that are deficient or need improvement.”
The evaluation system consists of 14 questions designed to gauge how well a volunteer coach is performing in his or her role in the eyes of parents, administrators and officials. The system is extremely valuable for providing feedback to coaches looking to understand what areas they are strong in and what, if any, areas they should focus on improving. It is also useful for administrators looking to identify problem coaches.
“Evaluations provide us valuable information to improve our programs. A coach's influence on children is very meaningful,” said Dee Donahue,program manager for Commander Navy Installation Command. “By requiring utilization of the evaluation tool, it tells me that they truly care about their program and want to do everything they can to make it the best possible experience for the youth involved.”
Pearl Harbor Youth Sports is mandating that parents evaluate their child’s coach two times – once at the midpoint of the season and again at the conclusion.
“I have tried to get feedback in the past, but it is always a challenge to get parents to fill out the form,” Stanczyk said. “Most of the feedback I get is in the form of a complaint via phone or email. After seeing the 14 questions and the ease at which one can respond, I was sold that this is something I need our coaches to start doing.”
Pearl Harbor Youth Sports participates in the Hawaii Military Youth Athletic Association (HMYAA) with Hickam Air Force Base and MCCS Kaneohe Bay. About 50 to 65 teams participate in the HMYAA, ranging from ages 5 to15. Children enjoy sports such as soccer, baseball, flag football and basketball. Pearl Harbor usually fields 17 to 24 teams in the major sports.
Pearl Harbor offers fast pitch softball, volleyball, tennis, cheerleading, track and field and NFL Flag football.
“We’re extremely proud to hear that Pearl Harbor Youth Sports has decided to mandate coach evaluations,” said John Engh, chief operating officer of NAYS. “We are confident that in the coming year more communities will realize the potential of this valuable system and will follow their lead.”
Stanczyk and Pearl Harbor Youth Sports are regularly proactive when it comes to upping the level of the youth athletics in their community. In addition to NYSCA training, Stanczyk regularly provides his coaches with additional resources and guest speakers to help them improve their performance in their role as coach.
“I love the NYSCA Code of Ethics, I also enjoy the program’s focus on providing a positive youth sports experience for the athlete,” Stanczyk said. “I believe the most important part of the coaching program to learn is to be prepared and organized and to communicate with the parents.”
NYSCA training is designed to better prepare volunteers for their role as a youth sports coach by reminding them to maintain proper perspective. Traditional NYSCA benefits typically consist of up to $1,000,000 in excess liability insurance, a subscription to SportingKid magazine and access to various exclusive offers and specials from NAYS sponsors. The coach evaluation system is just one of many online features added in the last year that are designed to enhance and enrich the value of NYSCA membership. Interactive skills and drills, a state-of-the-art forum for coaches to exchange information and insights, an online store and access to ShapeStuff mobile technologies are just some of the other high tech features that have been added in the past year.
Although Stanczyk intends to urge his coaches to make use of all these new innovative features, ensuring that league members are using the coach evaluation system is his top priority.
“It was a no brainer,” he said. “I just looked at the ease of the evaluation and the time involved. I would also like our coaches to use the NYSCA site and resources more. We can always improve or build the knowledge we have with regards to athletics.”
To learn more about the coach evaluation system and NYSCA, please visit www.nays.org/coaches.