By Dan Hiner
Becoming a coach at any level has become one of the most specialized professions in the country over the past several years. Now, Youngstown State University has given its students a way to pursue a coaching career post graduation.
Last Fall, YSU’s department of physical education launched its newly formed coaching minor to give students the skills needed to coach at any level.
Mary LaVine, program director of health and physical education, said the concept of the program started during the spring of 2013. Marcia Matanin, the chair of the physical education department, and LaVine started to develop the program after speaking to students in Beeghly College of Education and members of the Youngstown sports community.
“My colleague, Marcia Matanin, and I were listening to students, as well as community members in the sporting area, looking for qualified coaches that had some education behind them, because coaching education is very big and actually requires coaching certification in other countries,” LaVine said.
LaVine said that the minor is open to all students on campus and teaches them to coach sports from youth to high school.
“I had students from the college of business, criminal justice, out of religious studies, and they’re coaches,” LaVine said. “The timing of it for YSU was really good timing. For me, it’s what will better our students, and what will better equip our students to go forward and excel as best as they can.”
The classes will be taught by members of the physical education department and will focus on the interactions a potential coach will have with players, fellow coaches and parents.
“They also take an ‘Ethics in Sport’ [class], which … kinda gives them a little bit of help with ethical behavior [and] dealing with parents in youth sport,” LaVine said. “And the students this semester are actually taking a course that’s related to organization and event planning in sports. If their aspiration is to go into any level of coaching, they may be the head coach and/or running the league.”
According to LaVine, the program will teach students how to plan sporting events including: when and how to book venders, when teams should arrive, game management, dealing with parents and more. Information like this could better prepare an individual for a job as an athletic director or other forms of sports management.
The minor requires the students to complete an internship with a sport in a student’s sport or area of interest.
“For us it was related to the national coaching standard … coaching education is something that’s becoming more and more prevalent,” LaVine said. “When a youth coach is shot or beat up by an angry parent, that makes the education piece even that much more important and relevant.”
YSU built its curriculum around the Society of Health And Physical Educators, a group that focuses on developing coaches, administrators and parents to follow the National Standard for Sport Coaches, a set of guidelines used to improve sports instruction and programs.