The Fundamentals of Coach Compliance—and Why It’s Crucial in Youth Sports
By Melissa Wickes
August 11, 2022
Setting rules and regulations for your youth sports coaches is one thing—but ensuring that they’re followed is a whole different story.
Coach compliance is what will create a safe environment for players where they can thrive, have fun, and feel comfortable and safe every day at practice and games. Not to mention it can protect your organization from enormous lawsuits.
Coach compliance can feel like a daunting topic, especially if you’re a smaller organization without a significant legal team. However, it really doesn’t have to be so complicated.
Read on for the basics with some advice and tips from the youth sports compliance experts who know it best.
What Is Coach Compliance?
Coach compliance can mean something different in every organization because each sport requires different degrees. It typically includes training, education, and screening necessary for a youth coach via a background check. Depending on the governing organization you’re a part of, there may be stringent requirements—in which case you’ll want to find out what those are and ensure every coach completes them.
For example, high-contact sports such as football or soccer require concussion instruction and education in their compliance education.
Scotch Plains Fanwood Soccer Club requires a background check, concussion training, and SafeSport training. This can take coaches two to three hours to complete—and it’s mandatory to be present on the field in any coaching capacity.
The more professionalized and competitive the sport, the more complex and detailed compliance rules and regulations usually become.
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Why Is Coach Compliance Important?
Failure to assure each coach is 100% compliant can result in life-threatening accidents for players and a potential lawsuit that could bankrupt your organization. Implementing and enforcing coach compliance programs can do no harm to your organization, only good.
Beyond the legal battles you can face when your coaches are not compliant, your coach has an immense responsibility to the athletes’ mental health and overall well-being.
Offering certain training to your coaches can ensure that they create a safe space for all athletes—regardless of their ability, race, ethnicity, or gender identity.
RISE is a nonprofit that educates and empowers the sports community to eliminate racial discrimination, champion social justice, and improve race relations.
How Do I Ensure Coach Compliance In My Organization?
Completing a coach compliance program should be mandatory before any coach can be involved in practice or games—no questions asked.
There are many different youth sports technologies that can streamline this process and make it easier for organizers to ensure coaches will complete these steps without having to chase them down a week before the season starts.
Yardstik is an example of a system that helps youth sports organizations run background checks and coach certification practices. They tailor their approach to your needs by designing a solution that includes safety, compliance, and flexibility, so you can keep everyone safe.
The Positive Coaching Alliance—a nonprofit with the goal of creating positive, character-building youth sports environments—offers a variety of courses and certifications for youth sports coaches. You can use these resources to have your coaches certified in recruiting, social-emotional learning, overcoming racism, and inclusivity in sports. They even offer resources for first-time coaches.
Whether you get help from these organizations or go it alone, coach compliance can’t be ignored.