Frequently Asked Questions

What type of organization is the Institute for Sport Coaching?
The Institute for Sport Coaching is an IRS certified 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization dedicated to developing and delivering the educational experiences and leadership tools critical to the advancement and continued improvement of American sport coaches. It is based in Acton, Massachusetts.

Why is sports coaching education important? To parents? To athletes? To community leaders?
We believe well trained sport coaches are the key elements to providing quality sports experiences for America’s youth. Studies indicate there are thousands if not millions of sport coaches who would benefit from formal, sport coaching education. Parents and community leaders desire the best sports experiences for their children. Good experiences lead to healthy lifestyles. Some pertinent facts from studies:

  • Less than 5 percent of volunteer coaches in community-based programs receive any coaching education. Less than 8 percent of school coaches receive any coaching education. [Coaching Education in America: A White Paper National Federation of High Schools, 2001]
  • Studies have found athletes who played for untrained coaches reported an attrition rate of 26%; whereas those athletes play for a trained coach reported a drop out rate of only 5%.
  • Additional studies show athletes under 12 yrs old increase their self-esteem when coached by a trained coach.

Why is leadership development important to sport coaches?
Sport coaches need leadership development to become better coaches because coaching entails leading and teaching athletes. Also, the sports industry needs leaders among coaches to lead coaching associations, promote particular sports in their communities and to participate in their respective sport national governing bodies. Of particular concern is the growing need to recruit and train sport coaches to replace the baby boomer generation coaches who are entering retirement by the thousands each year.

Why are quality coaches important to athletes and their communities?
We believe trained sports coaches are better equipped to create positive sports experiences, which in turn keeps youth involved in sports. The Institute agrees with the strategy from the federal government’s, “Promoting Better Health for Young People Through Physical Activity and Sports” study. “Enable youth sports and recreation programs to provide coaches and recreation program staff with the training they need to offer developmentally appropriate, safe and enjoyable physical activity experiences for young people.” [A report to the President from the Secretary of Health and Human Services and the Secretary of Education: Promoting Better Health for Young People Through Physical Activity and Sports -- Strategy 7]

Is there demand for coaching education in the United States?
The Institute believes American sport coaches at each layer of sport are an underserved community. Each year, veteran coaches, sport scientists and coaching educators expand the knowledge pool of how to coach more effectively. Yet the majority of coaches do not have easy access to this information. The Institute, as a steady supplier and organizer of sport coaching professional development training and education, can provide this information to more coaches. What coaches are saying about professional development and education:

  • 67 percent — Paying a fee would not be discouraging
  • 72 percent — Mandatory coaching education encouraged them to continue
  • 85 percent — Prefer a league that requires training
  • 85 percent — Believe that training increases skill and confidence
  • 86 percent — Would attend training even if not required [Coaching Education Survey: National Youth Sports Research and Development Center, 2000]

Who leads the Institute for Sport Coaching?
Hickey has been the creative force behind ISC since its creation. A Naval Academy graduate, he has been in numerous leadership and management-leadership development positions in the federal government, government contracting, the Navy, and moreover—sport coaching. A track and field coach since 1989, Hickey is deeply committed to the growing professionalism movement for American sport coaches and to the critical importance they play in our communities and specifically, our young people’s lives. Currently, Hickey is also the Executive Director of the National Council for Accreditation for Coaching Education (NCACE) where he is responsible for the evaluation of coaching education programs nationally.

The Institute’s Board of Directors and Board of Advisors are a group of prominent leaders and business entrepreneurs from whom many ideas and concepts on starting and sustaining the Institute have flowed.