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History of BeLikeCoach

Today's youth grow up in a patchwork jungle of youth sport administered by a variety of sponsoring agencies, each of whom has unique ways of doing things.  On one extreme, there are municipal recreation departments and local programs dependent on untrained volunteers.  On the other extreme, there are club teams and commercial high-tech sports performance centers staffed with professionals employed to provide specialized year-round training in specific sports or skills. 

Regardless of their point of entry into this vast and disorganized universe, too few children participate in an athletic experience that is wholesome, exciting, fun and led by adults who set the example of chief learners.  These conditions trigger a premature dropout rate, resulting in increased rates of physical inactivity, potentially lower academic achievement, less opportunity to develop leadership and life skills, and higher health care costs.  Similarly, without balanced and effective teaching of physical, mental, emotional and social skills, our future athletic stars often become poor role models or worse, they may struggle in life when their playing days are over.

BeLikeCoach is inspired by a little-known research study on the teaching skills of an iconic figure in American sport, John R. Wooden of UCLA.  Orignally conducted in the mid-1970's, the research study was republished in 2006 and it inspired the formation of a team of interdisciplinary experts to determine whether the study offered clues that might help close the gap between "what is" and "what could be" in youth sport. After much analysis, discussion and reflection, our team developed a three prong strategy to help BeLikeCoach to become part scientist (study and preserve effective teaching in sport), part builder (problem-solve to create more access to quality teaching) and part distributor (share so effective teaching practices spread).  Each prong is founded on belief that evolution depends on improved teaching and that every adult in youth sport can improve their teaching through continuous inquiry and ongoing learning.

As an anonymous teacher once said:

No written word, no spoken plea
Can teach our youth what they should be.
Nor all the books on all the shelves,
It's what the teachers are themselves.