“ASEP is committed to improving amateur sport by encouraging coaches, officials, administrators, parents, and athletes to embrace the 'athletes first, winning second' philosophy and by providing the education to put the philosophy to work.”
–Rainer Martens, PhD, Human Kinetics and ASEP founder
In the early 1970s, Rainer Martens, sport psychologist and physical education professor at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, was studying the psychological aspects of youth sport. Through his research and the pioneering work of the Coaching Association of Canada, Martens thought that a major way to improve amateur sport in the United States was to improve the education of coaches. So in 1976 he founded the American Coaching Effectiveness Program (ACEP), which later expanded into the American Sport Education Program (ASEP).
ASEP is a program offered through Human Kinetics, founded by Martens in 1974. The company is an international publisher of sport, physical activity, and health resources with more than 250 employees and subsidiaries in Canada, Europe, and Australia.
In 1981, Martens produced and released the first coaching course, which focused on coaching philosophy and the basics of sport science, sports medicine, and sport management. By 1986, ASEP had 1,400 certified instructors who had trained more than 50,000 coaches. In 1994, ASEP added educational programs and resources for volunteer coaches, officials, parents, and sport administrators affiliated with youth sport programs.
In 1990, the National Federation of State High School Associations (NFHS) partnered with ASEP to offer Coaching Principles and Sport First Aid courses. Over the next 15 years, the NFHS and ASEP worked closely with state high school athletic associations to implement the courses as required education, or if not required, at least highly recommended for all high school coaches.
In 2006, ASEP began working independently with state high school associations, state departments of education, individual school districts, and national governing bodies of Olympic sport in delivering its coaching education program. Our courses train thousands of coaches each year.
Beginning in 2001, ASEP began revising its high school curriculum, which consists of Coaching Principles, Sport First Aid, and advanced sport-specific courses. In addition to updating and expanding the curriculum, in 2004 ASEP began offering the courses as online courses that coaches could take anywhere they could access the Internet.
While much of ASEP's efforts have been directed toward educating high school and advanced club coaches, educating volunteer coaches has been and remains a major objective. The Coaching Young Athletes course for volunteer coaches was launched in 1981, which gave way to the Rookie Coaches Guide to [Sport] series in the early 1990s, which later became the Coaching Youth [Sport] series that we offer today.
In 2003, ASEP began releasing the Coaching Youth Sport series of online courses. Now coaches can take our nine sport-specific online courses at their convenience and without travel expenses, and busy youth sport administrators do not need to organize educational sessions and prepare to teach the courses.
Our online Coaching Essentials and Coaching Youth Sport courses are endorsed by the National Council for Youth Sports (NCYS).
In recent years, we have forged alliances with major youth sport organizations including Babe Ruth League and Cal Ripken Baseball, PONY Baseball, Dixie Baseball, American Youth Football and Cheer, Special Olympics North America, and National Catholic Youth Organization Sports to offer customized online coaching education courses.
Over the years, colleges and universities nationwide have increasingly adopted the Coaching Principles and Sport First Aid courses as components of graduate and undergraduate physical education and coaching programs. Martens' textbook Successful Coaching is the most widely adopted coaching textbook on college campuses today.
Human Kinetics' global reach and our expanding relations with international coaching and sport organizations have heightened awareness of our company and product offerings worldwide like never before. Our partnership with the International Council for Coaching Excellence (ICCE); extensive business ties developed through our offices in Canada, United Kingdom, and Australia; and the borderless communication and business technologies of today have made our resources accessible by coaches and administrators from all over the world.