Why We Need Trained Coaches

At Nike, we’ve reached nearly 100,000 volunteer coaches around the globe, critical work that’s near to our hearts.


But why is training coaches so important?

A great coach is often at the beginning of a kid’s journey with sport, and they can make — or break — their experience.

Kids with trained coaches not only play longer, but feel better about themselves. When youth players are paired with a coach who has gone through a training program, the kids’ self-esteem is improved. And those who start with the lowest self-esteem often show the most improvement.

This is important for all kids, but even more so for girls. By the age of 14, girls are dropping out of sport at twice the rate of boys.

Research from the Women’s Sports Foundation shows that when girls connect with their coaches, they’re more likely to keep playing. Yet, of the 6.5 million U.S. volunteer youth coaches for kids 12 and under, only 30% of them are trained.


We know coaches need a confidence boost, too: Many don’t feel equipped to succeed. They’re stressed about last-minute practice plans; they played the sport themselves but don’t feel knowledgeable about working with kids; or they feel like they got roped into it and aren’t equipped or inspired.


That’s why Nike trains thousands of coaches each year through our Made to Play commitments and the Nike Community Ambassador program, and why we developed the How to Coach Kids free online training in partnership with U.S. Olympic & Paralympic Committee.

Because a trained coach can build a team culture that’s focused on building kids’ confidence — motivating them and empowering them to opt into play.

It’s also why we just launched Coaching Girls, a free online course as part of the overall How to Coach Kids platform that gives coaches gender-specific tools to build a culture that’s girl-inclusive, and makes coaches aware of the unique challenges girls face in terms of puberty, body image, physical safety and social pressure.

“Empowering kids in sport starts with great coaches,” said Caitlin Morris, General Manager of Nike Social & Community Impact at NIKE, Inc. “Kids deserve coaches who can directly connect with them, understand their experience and encourage them to persevere.”

Know a coach? Tell them about the free online training courses, How to Coach Kids and Coaching Girls 


Thinking about becoming a coach but need inspiration? Check out stories from Nike employees and everyday heroes who are coaching kids in their communities.

Read more here.