I had a nice sit-down this morning with John Engh, chief operating officer of the National Alliance for Youth Sports. It's been almost a year since the nonprofit organization introduced the Coach Rating System - a tool that allows parents to provide positive (and negative) feedback to coaches, coaches to discover their own strengths and weaknesses, and program administrators to ensure their coaches are the right men and women for the job. I thought now would be a good time to check in and see how it's going. So far, about 130 NAYS member chapters have taken advantage of the free tool, and initial reaction has been positive. "All of the things that we were focused on in the past - coaches' training, background checks - are still challenges for us," Engh told me. "But now we're trying to draw a parallel between a volunteer coach and an employee." What about those youth sports organizations that already struggle to find coaches? Will they be tempted to set the bar low for coaches who receive negative feedback, worried about creating the need to find a mid-season replacement for a poor-performing coach? "We don't dictate to the leagues what they should do; we give them guidelines for what we think they should do," Engh says. "We're being proactive by saying that this tool is very useful to those coaches who may be borderline. Now all the parents are watching them, and those parents have a voice." Don't worry if your not a NAYS member; Engh says the association is working on ways to get the Coach Rating System out to as many organizations as possible. "If every coach in America is getting evaluated like this 10 years from now, we've done our job."
One of the best (and worst) parts of working in the athletics, fitness and recreation industry is personally witnessing how many of my readers have gotten better with age. At the 2014 Athletic Business Conference & Expo, the exhibit hall was packed with veteran single-digit-body-fat attendees testing the latest and greatest in fitness equipment. Even Fast Company cofounder and keynote speaker William Taylor tweeted that it was the fittest audience he'd ever addressed.read more
Lauren Hill, the cancer fighting, layup making college basketball player who captured the hearts of our nation, has died.read more
Joe Monroe, chief of police at the University of Kentucky, has gotten used to protecting the streets of Lexington from rioting fans. He's had to do so frequently over the past few years as the school's men's basketball team, led by head coach John Calipari, has made four Final Four appearances the past five years. Last Saturday night, after the previously undefeated Wildcats were eliminated from the NCAA tournament by Wisconsin, fans took to the streets of Lexington (yet again). Monroe and his campus police team (yet again) had to protect the community and keep the peace in collaboration with city police. Monroe, who teaches special-event planning for NCS4 and Texas A&M, shares his experiences while providing advice to other campus safety professionals in this Gameday Security exclusive interview:read more