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IESA Athletes Benefit from ASEP-Trained Coaches

Nearly 100,000 middle and junior high school students will represent their schools as they participate in the 2005-06 lineup of Illinois Elementary School Association (IESA) state series in athletics and activities that determine champions in 35 different state final events.

Now in its 76th year of operation, IESA is the nation's only state association composed of grade schools, middle schools and junior high schools. As the 2005-06 school term begins there are 683 IESA member schools and their combined enrollment is 134,475 students, primarily in grades seven and eight. Last year, there were a total of 95, 825 participants in the IESA state series in athletics. Since that first year in 1929, IESA has been a positive, driving force throughout Illinois providing leadership in interscholastic sports and activities. The impact of the Association on the lives of the schools and students its serves is best reflected in its Mission Statement.

That is: "The IESA will provide the leadership to ensure safe, equitable opportunities so students in our member schools can be enriched by participation in interscholastic activities which promote good sportsmanship, integrity and life skills."

"For all these years IESA has been the successful and popular training ground for students who will carry the lessons they learn at our level to the next level and beyond," observed IESA Executive Director Steve Endsley.

"We see the results of our efforts at the proving ground, the IHSA level. Lessons learned in the athletic arena and through competitive participation in the non-athletic activities are extremely important to a successful transition from our level to the high school level and beyond.

"Because we provide the training ground, it is imperative that those who coach students in our member schools be as well equipped as possible to be the best all-around leader and teacher as possible," Endsley added. "And that is why IESA endorses and has partnered with the American Sport Education Program (ASEP) to offer our member schools and their coaches the ASEP Level One Education Program, which features ASEP's Coaching Youth Sport online courses.

IESA Assistant Executive Director Julie Cochran is IESA's contact person regarding coaches' education, in general, and the ASEP program, in particular.

"The ASEP Level One Education Program provides coaches a better understanding of their role as a coach and the expectations placed upon them," Cochran said. "The program gives coaches a solid foundation in coaching principles to effectively help them develop their roles, first and foremost as teachers."

ASEP's Volunteer Education Program is designed specifically for coaches of youth grades one through eight and provides coaches with a solid foundation in coaching principles, sport first aid, and sport-specific techniques and tactics. Delivered conveniently online, ASEP's Coaching Youth Sport courses are available for baseball, basketball, softball, volleyball, and wrestling.

IESA coaches can purchase the Coaching Youth Sport online course of their choice through the ASEP Web site For the discounted price of $30 per coach, IESA coaches receive effective training, plus valuable reference materials that they can refer to for seasons to come. In addition to access to the online course, each coach receives personal copies of the 160-page Coaching Youth Sport book and 30-minute Coaching Youth Sport Techniques and Tactics video for the sport he or she coaches.

ASEP's Coaching Youth Sport courses introduce coaches to the rudiments of being a good coach and teacher including:

  • Essential communication and motivation skills and how to develop a positive coaching philosophy
  • How to ensure safe play, establish safety plans, and provide basic injury treatment
  • Principles of teaching sports skills and guidelines for practice and game planning
  • Step-by-step instructions on teaching the skills and tactics of the sports they coach

Deborah Carter-Hinton is Physical Education/Health Resource Specialist for Joliet Public Schools District 86. It has four IESA member schools. "We believe ASEP's program can provide our coaches with a better understanding of their role as a coach, allowing them to spend more time on athlete development and less time trying to figure out how to coach," she said. "We're excited to start ASEP's coaching education program at our four middle schools, and we look forward to seeing our student athletes benefit from better coaching as they gain the sports skills, confidence, and discipline to prepare them for the jump to high school."

The American Sport Education Program (ASEP) is the leading provider of youth, high school, and elite-level sport education programs in the USA. Through its high-quality programs, ASEP has educated more than one million coaches, officials, sport administrators, parents, and athletes. For more than 25 years, local, state, and national sport organizations have partnered with ASEP to lead the way in making sport a safe, successful, and enjoyable experience for all involved. For more information on ASEP sport education courses and resources, contact Lori Brown at ASEP. She may be reached at 800-747-5698, ext. 2299; or e-mail

Since 1990, ASEP has been working with the National Federation of State High School Associations (NFHS) to develop and deliver the NFHS Coaches Education Program. Through this program, 38 state high school associations require or recommend ASEP courses for their coaches. The Illinois High School Association (IHSA) is one of them, requiring all non-teacher coaches in the state of Illinois to complete ASEP/NFHS courses to receive coaching certification.

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