There is No Off-Season

Author: Jim Schmutz, ASEP Executive Director


Across the country, high school athletes eagerly anticipate the first day of practice for fall sports. Coaches and administrators share this urge to get started and have been busy throughout the summer preparing to welcome athletes back to school. Coaches dedicate countless hours to map out season plans and to secure new equipment and uniforms, while mending those “well worn.” Administrators and coaches collaborate to manage risk by painstakingly preparing safe facilities. They implement policies to monitor the heat index and require regular water breaks to ensure a healthy experience for every athlete. While student-athletes catch a break and enjoy some down time over the summer, there is no off-season for coaches and administrators.

At ASEP, we have also been busy over the summer working hard to enhance the value and extend the reach of ASEP offerings to more coaches who seek to provide a meaningful and safe experience for scholastic and youth sport athletes. Recent efforts have resulted in a number of developments worth noting.

In May, I was invited by the House of Representatives Committee on Education and Labor to testify (read written testimony here) at a hearing focused on “The Impact of Concussions on High School Athletes.” This important health and safety issue requires continued attention and commitment to developing concussion management systems that serve athletes of all ages. We are expanding our reach by working with leaders like Kelly Sarmiento at the Center for Disease Control to help channel valuable resources to the coaches, parents, administrators, and athletes, all of whom play a critical role in the process. To that end, in about two weeks we are scheduled to release an upgraded version of our Sport First Aid online course that includes the most current concussion management information and direct links to valuable CDC resources.

In addition to the Sport First Aid upgrade, we are adding value by scheduling a series of free webinars on important topics. Our first webinar is scheduled for August 11 (see related article in the ASEP News section), when certified athletic trainer John Storsved will lead a 60-minute session designed to help administrators and coaches prevent, detect, and care for exertional heat illnesses in their athletes. Click here to register for the webinar. In September, we have secured nationally renowned sports concussion clinician and researcher Micky Collins, who joined the UPMC Sports Medicine Concussion Program as assistant director when the program was established in September 2000. He is also co-founder of imPACT, a leading provider of concussion management programs. If you are interested in these topics, keep an eye out for webinar invitations in ASEP Insider and other e-mails from ASEP and Human Kinetics.

The ASEP Coaching Orientation course, released just last year, became only the second online course to be accredited by the National Council for Accreditation of Coaching Education (NCACE). NCACE was founded in 2000 and is dedicated to advancing the National Association for Sport and Physical Education’s (NASPE) coaching standards to promote quality coaching education for all practicing and prospective coaches. More importantly, Coaching Orientation is gaining momentum among state high school associations as an excellent entry-level coach education solution. While ASEP Coaching Principles and Sport First Aid remain the standard for coach education, Coaching Orientation offers a valuable first step in the ongoing coaching education progression. In California, thanks to funding provided by the LA84 Foundation, 250 coaches in the Los Angeles City Section will access a customized version of the course beginning mid-August at the discounted price of $18. In finalizing the details to deliver our course, LA City Commissioner Barbara Fiege responded, “We, too, are excited about this partnership, the opportunity it presents for our new coaches, and the support of the LA84 Foundation and the California Interscholastic Federation. Thank you for agreeing to make this happen.”

In the youth sport arena, we just launched the American Youth Football (AYF) Web site designed to deliver the just-completed Coaching Youth Football: The AYF Way online course, based on our fifth edition Coaching Youth Football book released in June. We are working closely with AYF to introduce this course to coaches across the country in preparation for the upcoming season. In addition, we continue to seek opportunities with national governing bodies of Olympic sports. Over the last several months, USA Team Handball, USA Rugby, and USA Badminton have adopted various ASEP courses, most notably Coaching Principles, Sport First Aid, and Coaching Orientation. Additionally, we are working with the National Alliance for the Development of Archery to develop a customized re-certification course that all instructors seeking re-certification will be required to take when we release the course in January 2011.

Finally, ASEP has developed the “Coaches’ Workshop” for athletic directors, school administrators, and sport governing body administrators who want to enhance the online education experience. This course delivery alternative not only has coaches taking online courses independently, but also participating in an interactive classroom session delivering valuable peer-to-peer interaction that cannot be replicated in the online environment. This is not a replacement for our classroom courses, merely one more option available to athletic administrators to enhance the coach education experience. We remain committed to classroom education and in fact hope that athletic directors who experience success with the coaches’ workshop format will see the value of the classroom delivery model and be motivated to become certified instructors. For more information on Coaches' Workshops, contact Jerry Reeder.

ASEP will continue to be aggressive in identifying and delivering much needed valuable resources to more coaches across the country. It is that important.

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