Domains, Standards and Benchmarks

Below is an overview of each of the eight domains represented in the National Standards for Sport Coaches. To gain full access to all of the standards and benchmarks contained in the National Standards for Sport Coaches, just click on the link below!
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Domain 1 — Philosophy and Ethics

It is imperative that the coach established a coaching philosophy that focuses on the safety, development, and well-being of the athlete. As a key leadership figure, the coach must model and teach appropriate behavior in all aspects of coaching and maintain ethical conduct during practices and competitions. This domain features four standards (1-4) and 23 subsequent benchmarks that represent what coaches should know and be able to do in regards to philosophy and ethics in sport.

Domain 2 — Safety and Injury Prevention

The coach is often the first responder in the event of an accident or injury and should be properly trained in injury prevention and first responder emergency care. The coach must recognize high-risk situations, as well as unsafe equipment, facilities, and environmental conditions in order to ensure the safety of the athletes and make necessary modifications to the playing environment should unsafe conditions exist. This domain features seven standards (5-11) and 29 subsequent benchmarks that represent what coaches should know and be able to do in regards to sport safety and injury prevention.

Domain 3 — Physical Conditioning

Sport requires proper physical preparation in order to perform safely and effectively. The coach is responsible for implementing research-based, developmentally appropriate drills and teaching techniques that support athlete development while maintaining safety. the coach should encourage healthful decisions by the athlete to promote healthy lifestyles and low-risk training practices. This domain features four standards (12-15) and 22 subsequent benchmarks that represent what coaches should know and be able to do as it relates to the physical conditioning of their athletes.

Domain 4 — Growth and Development

The coach should be knowledgeable about the age and skills levels of their athletes. by recognizing the patterns of cognitive, motor, emotional and social development, the coach can create effective learning environments that allow athletes to progress and improve at different rates. the coach should be properly trained to recognize the need to modify practice and competitive strategies to accommodate the athlete's readiness for competition. this domain features three standards (16-18) and 18 subsequent benchmarks that represent what coaches should know and be able to do in regards to their athletes' growth and development.

Domain 5 —Teaching and Communication

The coach must plan and implement organized practices so that athletes have a positive learning experience. In addition to understanding the fundamentals of the sport, the coach should use a variety of systematic instructional techniques to provide a positive learning environment and maximize the potential of each athlete. Furthermore, the coach needs to be aware of his or her own expectations of an athlete's potential and how it impacts athlete performance. This domain features eight standards (19-26) and 47 subsequent benchmarks that represent what coaches should know and be able to do in terms of teaching and communicating with their athletes.

Domain 6 — Sport Skills and Tactics

The art and science of coaching includes developing skills of all team members into an efficient and successful group. Knowing how to utilize athletes' abilities to maximize meaningful participation and team success relies on up-to-date understanding of specific sport skills and game tactics. This domain features three standards (27-29) and 13 subsequent benchmarks that represent what coaches should know and be able to do in regards to teaching sport skills and tactics.

Domain 7 — Organization and Administration

The coach is an integral resource in the overall administration of the sport program. The coach provides information regarding the needs of the athlete, serves as a key communicator of program goals and policies, and facilitates compliance with established program policies. Program accountability and public trust depend a great deal on the coach's administrative skills. This domain features seven standards (30-36) and 38 subsequent benchmarks that represent what coaches should know and be able to do as it relates to the organization and administration of the sport program.

Domain 8 — Evaluation

The coach needs to be able to make accurate and timely decisions regarding aspects of the sport program. Planning program goals start with a careful analysis of player ability and program needs. Evaluation becomes a critical part of player and staff recruitment and retention as well as of maintaining program accountability. Systematic evaluation ensures that the sport program runs smoothly and efficiently and that the goals and objectives of the program are the focus for the coach, athlete and team. This domain features four standards (37-40) and 20 subsequent benchmarks that represent what coaches should know and be able to do as it relates to the comprehensive evaluation of the sport program.