Coaching Education and Athlete Development

Coach and young soccer playerEvery professional in the field of sports—medical trainer, physical trainer, physician, sports psychologist—is required to have an advanced degree and the qualifications that meet national standards. The only exception is coaches—those with the greatest influence over the athletes themselves. This is true at the community, scholastic, collegiate and professional levels.

This is changing. SHAPE America (NASPE, 2006) and the National Council for the Accreditation of Coaching Education (NCACE) programs have developed a National Standards for Sport Coaches (NSSC). This includes the earning of an advanced academic degree in coaching.

To meet this need, Xavier University created a unique online Master of Education program in Coaching Education and Athlete Development (CEAD), a two-year cohort that focuses on the art and science of coaching, and addresses the true purpose of coaching: athlete development. This includes character development, promoting sport participation throughout the lifespan and the pursuit of excellence through sport.

The mission of the program is to extend the role of the coach as a servant-leader to all who participate in the endeavor of sport.

The emphasis in all courses is three-fold:

  1. Coaching pedagogy
  2. Long-term athlete development
  3. Character development

In the end, students graduate with knowledge in the latest research, understanding in the important personal and societal contributions coaches make, and the ability to design and implement developmentally appropriate sport programs for individuals of all ages and ability levels. Graduates also embody the mission of Xavier by demonstrating competence, compassion and conscience, while acting as sport leaders and role models in their community.

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