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USA Basketball Announcing New Coaching Safeguards

14 Mar, 2015

By: Tracey Schelmetic
Organization Offering Youth Coach Certification to Include Background Checks; Program Expected to Improve Safety and Uniformity in Coaching Methodologies

While youth basketball coaches are increasingly being screened for criminal backgrounds, methods for determining the quality of the work they will do have been seriously hampered due to the lack of a national coaching certification program that will help (among other things) teach the fundamentals of coaching. USA Basketball, the governing body for basketball in the U.S. since 1974, has taken steps to solve the problem. The group recently announced a new certification program with a goal toward improving and screening youth coaches.

According to USA Today, USA Basketball is hoping its program will provide a uniformity of coaching techniques through instruction and a consistency of safety standards with a background check for all coaches.  Organizations can become accredited if all their coaches and administrators obtain their USA Basketball coaches licenses.

‘The USA Basketball youth development mission is to promote, grow and elevate the sport. One of the ways to do this is the establishment of national standards in the area of youth development. Our vision is to bring more structure to the youth space. We believe these programs will help launch us down that path," said Jerry Colangelo, USA Basketball chairman. "USA Basketball's goal is for young players to have the opportunity to play in a fun, safe and supportive environment, while being taught the fundamentals by USA Basketball licensed coaches." 

USA Basketball chief executive officer Jim Tooley told USA Today that the problem is that the sport has become “splintered and unstructured,” and was not benefitting from the kind of uniformity in coaching that other countries had attained.

“We were delegating too much of that and we want to take a hands-on approach to coaching, not just for the elite level, but for the other 99 percent of people in the sport,” he said.

While the program is new, it’s already being implemented. USA Basketball has worked in partnership with the NBA to train and license coaches and instructors across New York City to implement these standards throughout the 100 clinics taking place at schools during this weekend’s NBA All-Star 2015 festivities.

To become licensed by USA Basketball, coaches must complete the USA Basketball online course, complete the SafeSport certification program (an online training program designed to teach about how to eliminate misconduct in sport) and pass a background check. (The latter requirement is bound to be met with approval from parents’ groups.) To become accredited by USA Basketball, organizations are bound to require all coaches and administrators to obtain their USA Basketball coach license. Once they earn their licenses, coaches will be provided with a license card, be listed in USA Basketball’s database and receive age-appropriate teaching techniques from the USA Basketball Youth Development Guidebook.

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