An initiative to help young people’s sports coaches, co-founded by Leeds Beckett University (LBU), is teaming up with Nike in a bid to widen its global reach through the application of tech.
iCoachKids (iCK), established by LBU and the International Council for Coaching Excellence in 2016, works with six other partner organisations to improve youth-level coaching around the world, influencing policy and practice along the way. The newly announced collaboration with Nike aims to create field-leading digital resources for youth coaches, including an online community where members can share best practice.
Research by Leeds Beckett University found that more than three-quarters (80%) of coaches in the EU work on a voluntary basis, often without relevant training or qualifications. Lack of diversity is an issue, too; in an area where role models are of particular importance, women and people from minority ethnic backgrounds are notably underrepresented.
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“iCoachKids is all about the creation of positive experiences for children in and through sport,” said Dr Sergio Lara-Bercial, the movement’s co-founder and a reader in sport coaching at LBU.
“We believe the coach is the architect of this environment and that children need coaches who care deeply about them and are keen to understand their lives in and out of sport.
“Our partnership with Nike will allow our educational resources to reach thousands of coaches and organisations globally, and will ultimately help children achieve their full potential.”
His words were echoed by Nike’s general manager of social and community impact, Caitlin Morris.
“A coach can make or break a kid’s experience in play and sport,” she said. “To make sport more accessible and approachable for all children, we need coaches who can create an inclusive play and sport environment for everyone, regardless of gender identity, background or ability.
“Through our collective efforts, we hope to increase the quality, quantity and diversity of trained volunteer youth coaches.”