USSA Coaches' Certification
Certification for Coaches
Consider when you go to get your haircut, you see the barber’s certification on the wall. When you get your car repaired, you see the repair technician’s trade certificate in the garage. But to be a ski or snowboard coach at many clubs across the country, certification is not an expectation or requirement. Consider the responsibilities of supervision and the expectations of safety and improvement in a mountain, winter environment placed on your coaching staff. It is essential that every coach have training to prepare them for their job!
The USSA recently added a requirement that all member coaches complete a basic training course for ski and snowboard coaching before their membership is valid. This “Fast Start Coaching Course” is an on-line course that introduces the essential concepts coaching, long-term athlete development, child protection and safety, teaching skills, competition coaching and communication. This helps clubs by ensuring their coaches have some basic knowledge.
The USSA Sport Education Department offers coaching courses specific to each USSA sport. Based on participation in these courses and passing the corresponding exams, coaches earn certification. The certification track is designed for all coaches, from volunteer to full-time, youth level to elite team. The certification levels start at Level 100 and go up to Level 500.
For most USSA sports, each level has an in-person clinic and an on-line component. Level 100 training is recommended for all coaches, including volunteer coaches, within the first year of coaching. Part- time coaches are encouraged to complete at least Level 200 within their first few years of coaching.
This gives them a fundamental basis for coaching at training and competition. Full-time and lead coaches should have Level 300 certification. Coaches that start their coach training when they start
coaching would generally complete Level 300 at around their fifth year of coaching. Head coaches and program directors should have or be working toward Level 400 certification. Level 500 is for coaches who have completed the previous levels and also have national team or international coaching experience or equivalent. NOTE: The coaching curriculum is still being developed to Level 500 in some USSA sports. Information is on the certification webpage for each sport under the coaches tab on the USSA website.
USSA schedules coaches’ clinics across the country. However, due to our large geography, clinics are not always scheduled at a location or date that all can attend. USSA Sport Education will work with clubs on clinic scheduling if the existing schedule does not meet local needs, though minimum clinic sizes must be met. USSA also offers a “club delivery” option for alpine coaches. If the club’s head coach or program director is a Level 300 or higher coach, they may teach the Level 100 curriculum to their staff as part of staff training. This allows the clubs to fit the training in creatively with their schedule, and the participant cost is half of a normal clinic. For more information, contact USSA Sport Education at 435.647.2050 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.