Ohio State’s Coach Beyond program trains coaches to support athletes

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Of all the students who play sports in high school, between 3% and 5% go on to play sports in college and less than 1% will play professionally. Still, sports are an excellent vehicle for educating young people about life and leadership, said Samantha Bates, assistant professor of social work at The Ohio State University.

“Sport is a great context to learn about these other life leadership things that we know go into jobs, go into relationships, go into families,” she said.

Many people choose to coach sports because they want to help student-athletes learn these lessons, Bates said. Unfortunately, many feel they do not have the resources to do the job well.

Over the last three years, the Coach Beyond program has sought to provide those resources. Through a partnership between the Ohio High School Athletic Association (OSHAA) and Ohio State’s LiFEsports Initiative, Coach Beyond has trained more than 15,000 coaches across the state in positive youth development practices with an emphasis on how to support student mental health.

Those coaches are part of an effort by the Susan Crown Exchange, which funded Coach Beyond, to train 1 million coaches by 2025. Bates said including OSHAA and area athletic directors and coaches in the process is part of what sets Coach Beyond apart.

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