The New York Times ran an article with exactly the title you see above (dated March 11, 2020). The subtitle might be even worse “Woefully underprepared instructors are contributing to a shockingly high dropout rate among young athletes.”
Here are some excerpts:
“I have played for, coached with and watched great coaches. At every level, there are capable sports instructors providing positive experiences for our children. The problem is, such coaches are greatly outnumbered by those who don’t seem to know what they are doing. This is true of programs both inside and outside of schools.”
“The youth sports industry is heavily dependent on the services of volunteers, typically parents or teachers. While these coaches may have wonderful intentions and enthusiasm for the game, that doesn’t mean they have the skills to provide useful instruction. The National Council for Accreditation of Coaching Education reports that in the United States, approximately 4 million out of 7.5 million youth and school coaches are volunteers. Fewer than 5 percent of youth sport coaches have relevant training; among middle-school and high school coaches, only 25 percent to 30 percent do.”
“Please, coaches: Take a moment to consider how your behavior affects the athletes. Don’t make my children hate the sports they once loved. Don’t make them switch disciplines every season in a desperate search for a coach who knows how to be a coach.”
“If you are fortunate enough to be called “Coach,” carry that moniker with pride. Seek out education and mentoring and do everything in your power to make sure that my child, and every child, has fun playing the sport with you because they feel valued and accomplished while learning to be competitive.”
Jennifer L. Etnier is a distinguished professor of kinesiology at the University of North Carolina, Greensboro, and the author of “Coaching for the Love of the Game: A Practical Guide for Working With Young Athletes.”
Arrogance on display aside (“Please, coaches: Take a moment to consider how your behavior affects the athletes.” So, she assumes coaches haven’t done this because if they had . . . ?) could this be a valid criticism of archery coaches? Possibly. But most academic researchers and writers on this topic focus almost exclusively on team sports. I have stopped buying and reading “how to coach youths” books and articles because of this focus, e.g. Chapter 1 How to Build Teamwork, etc.
Okay, I have a radical idea that is absolutely part of a solution for this “problem.”
Pay the damned coaches!
Archery organizations (primarily USA Archery) are notorious for adding additional requirements to acquire or keep a coach certification (and usually charging for the process, but not always). I resigned my Level 4 coaching certificate and USAA membership basically because they were charging me to provide them services. (Even though I have run JOAD programs in the past, I can no longer coach in them because I do not have a current (L2) certificate . . . not even as a guest coach.)
At a bare minimum, how about if you, coach, make it through an entire JOAD season as Head Coach, that they waive your membership fees for the next year? Or that they establish a fee structure for JOAD classes and how much of that income goes to pay the coaches. (We did this while in a community not exactly “rich” . . . we had waivers for student-archers who didn’t have the means to pony up for lessons. Otherwise you come across as saying “I am not going to pay you for your work but I am going to tell you how to do it,” and that doesn’t sit well with Americans, or really anyone.
When someone is being paid for their service the payer is in a better place to make demands upon those people regarding their service, training, and preparation.