Youth Sports

Announcing SCE’s Million Coaches Challenge Partners

When we announced our Million Coaches Challenge last Fall the world was at the height of the pandemic and nearly all youth sports were halted. Even pre-pandemic, fewer kids play sports each year. When many team environments place more emphasis on winning than on having fun, that’s unsurprising. A good coach can play a transformational role in a child’s experience. The solution? Train one million coaches in youth development techniques by 2025.

Now as the world gets closer to “normal” and more sports and activities resume, high-quality youth development training for coaches becomes even more critical. The last year has been challenging for youth and their families and they are aching to return to sports. Sports are a place for building community, exploring interests, physical activity, and increasingly, healing from trauma and stress. They can also be an ideal context to develop critical life skills, teaching kids how to work together, celebrate success, manage failure, and build healthy relationships with peers and adults. Each of these benefits has become increasingly valued as the pandemic wears on.

However, less than one third of the country’s six million coaches have been trained in youth development practices. This is a missed opportunity. So, we have selected the boldest, most innovative actors to close this gap.

We’re proud to partner with 10 exemplary organizations to train one million coaches by 2025 and build a future where all youth are equipped with the skills they need to thrive. Over the next three years, we’re excited to collaborate with this cohort, learn from their expertise, and share our learning with the field.

Read on to learn more about our Million Coaches Challenge partners.

Center for Healing & Justice Through Sport – The Center for Healing and Justice Through Sport’s mission is to make sport healing for all youth, everywhere, through training, consulting, and movement building. Their project will expand healing-centered coaching through training and dynamic support tools in order to reach 15,000 sport practitioners and 250 organizations. In addition to the expansion of trainings offered, CHJS will produce resources complementary to trainings including a Healing-Centered Sport Toolkit and CHJS Office Hours.

Girls on the Run International – Girls on the Run’s mission is to inspire girls to be joyful, healthy, and confident using a fun, experience-based curriculum that creatively integrates running. Their three-year initiative will enhance the Girls on the Run National Coach Training model, allowing GOTRI to reach and train 70,000 new coaches across all 50 states and the District of Columbia.

Laureus Sport for Good Foundation USA – Laureus Sport for Good Foundation was founded in response to Nelson Mandela’s challenge, issued at the first Laureus World Sports Awards in 2000, that “sport has the power to change the world.” Their vision is to use sport as a powerful and cost-effective tool to help children and young people overcome violence, discrimination, and disadvantage in their lives. Through their initiative, they will train 10,500 youth sport coaches throughout the US in sports-based youth development, including positive youth development & social-emotional learning approaches.

Little League International – Founded in 1939, Little League International is the world’s largest organized youth sports program, with millions of players. Little League believes in the power of youth baseball and softball to teach life lessons that build stronger individuals and communities. Their initiative will ensure proper coaching preparation by level and division focusing on age-appropriate youth development, SEL, and inclusion. Little League endeavors to train 120,000 coaches across the country by 2025.

LiFEsports at The Ohio State University – Since 2009, LiFEsports, held at The Ohio State University, has grown to address the ever-changing needs of our community’s youth and the field of sport-based positive youth development (PYD). Through in-person and online Social-Emotional Learning (SEL) trainings and modules, they will reach at least 15,000 coaches from across Ohio with this initiative.

Positive Coaching Alliance – Founded in 1998, the Positive Coaching Alliance (PCA) mission is to transform the youth sports culture into a positive youth “Development Zone” where all youth and high school athletes have a positive, character-building experience in which they can develop social-emotional learning (SEL) skills. As an anchor partner of Million Coaches Challenge, PCA will train over 400,000 youth sports coaches to incorporate SEL and PYD into their coaching practices.

U.S. Soccer Foundation – The mission of the U.S. Soccer Foundation is to provide underserved communities access to innovative play spaces and evidence-based soccer programs that instill hope, foster well-being, and help youth achieve their fullest potential. In the next three years, 30,000 adults will be trained as coach-mentors.

The U.S. Olympic & Paralympic Foundation – The U.S. Olympic & Paralympic Foundation serves as the primary source of philanthropic resources for the U.S. Olympic & Paralympic Committee (USOPC). This critical financial support allows the USOPC to invest in areas that promote excellence and innovation for Team USA. Founded in 1894, the U.S. Olympic & Paralympic Committee is focused on protecting, supporting and empowering America’s athletes, and is responsible for fielding U.S. teams for the Olympic, Paralympic, Youth Olympic, Pan American and Parapan American Games. The USOPC will work individually with National Governing Bodies to create supplemental sport-specific materials to further enhance the learning opportunity and promote the initiative to over 250,000 coaches nationwide, training 40,000 over a three-year period.

USA Fencing, USA Triathlon, and USA Weightlifting – USA Fencing, USA Triathlon, and USA Weightlifting are the National Governing Bodies (NGBs) for their respective sports and are headquartered in Colorado Springs, Colorado. They will work together to create a grassroots SEL Program, including an online coach Module, Refresher Course, and in-person Clinic. Through this initiative, they will train 6,000 coaches in their organizations and work collaboratively with other NGBs to implement SEL coach training that utilizes best practices in adult learning. 

Washington Interscholastic Activities Association – The Washington Interscholastic Activities Association (WIAA) is the governing body of athletics and activities for secondary education schools in the state of Washington. CoachUp! Washington is a collaborative initiative between the WIAA and the University of Washington’s Center for Leadership in Athletics that will bring foundational SEL training to 44,000 middle and high school coaches in WA State, provide opportunities for coaches to deepen SEL practice and bring more women into the coaching profession.