This fall, BU’s Institute for Athletic Coach Education is collaborating with two of Boston’s biggest youth sports leagues to address one of their major challenges: coach development and training.
Thanks to a grant from the Boston Youth Sports Initiative, the institute will work with MetroLacrosse, a year-round league that includes more than 500 players and 100 volunteer coaches, and G-ROW, a division of Community Rowing that encourages girls from Boston to participate in crew, to develop and implement coach-training systems. Researchers from the institute have been observing practices and meeting with league leaders to discuss current methods and assess the organizations’ long-term coaching needs.
“One of our tasks is to do research and work in the community, and we have a particular interest in working with coaches at the community level,” says John McCarthy, a School of Education clinical assistant professor of curriculum and teaching and the director of the institute. “These are organizations that are clear on their goals and objectives, and we are trying to learn more about how to serve these different constituencies to learn how they can develop their training to suit their needs.”
MetroLacrosse, founded in 2000, is a “lacrosse and character education” program that serves inner-city Boston, according to its managing director, Emily Helm. “This project was interesting to us because we work with so many different coaches and have always done a lot of coach education,” Helm says. “We wanted to find out if there were ways we could improve upon that, and therefore improve upon the program we offer to the kids.”
G-ROW is a competitive rowing program open to 7th through 12th grade girls in the Boston public school system. Approximately 200 girls participate each year; rowers compete in local races, take training trips around the country, and can be eligible for partial scholarships for college.
The institute received the grant from the Boston Youth Sports Initiative last spring, and began working with MetroLacrosse and G-ROW in the fall. “We’re going to help them organically grow a coach-training system that makes sense in their community,” McCarthy says.