Minnesota program builds top-notch youth sports coaches

The benefits youth sports provide kids are nearly countless, and they demand quality coaches.

"Everybody knows what the problems are in youth sports, but nobody has come up with any solutions," Dan Klinkhammer, Executive Director of Minnesota Youth Athletic Services (MYAS), said.

MYAS oversees about 150,000 kids each year in some of the biggest youth sports events, like the Grade State Basketball Tournament.

"Other than their parents or teachers, coaches have the most influence on kids," Klinkhammer believes.

MYAS recently unveiled an online program called the Trusted Coaches Verification Program, which involves a national background check -- most organizations only require a statewide check. Trusted Coaches also provides the state-mandated concussion training, but they also include first aid training, which many organizations don't offer. In addition, the program also ensures applicants complete an online "Double-Goal Coaching" workshop administered by the Positive Coaching Alliance (PCA).

"Winning at all costs. Double goal coaching talks about that. It sounds corny, but we're trying to build character, good character in kids," Klinkhammer said.

Dawson Blank helped design the program, which he says uses video, quizzes, and other techniques to train youth coaches online in two hours. The idea is for local sports organizations to require their coaches to complete the $35 program.

"If we don't do it, no one else is going to do it. And I'm not the kind of guy that's going to sit back and let somebody else do it. We're in this business. This is our chosen field. We're going to do our best to make a positive contribution," Blank said,

Hundreds of coaches are already using it and MYAS expects that could soon be thousands or tens of thousands. They're already getting interest from other states -- Minnesota likely leading the nation.

To learn more about the program visit http://www.trustedcoaches.org. 

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