The Amateur Athletic Foundation, created with millions of dollars in surplus Olympic funds, will begin a program of coaching clinics in mid-January for thousands of Southern Californians who are committed to providing good sports experiences for the children of their communities, foundation officials said Wednesday.
A six-hour training program will be offered free to any sports organization putting together a group of 10 or more coaches or would-be coaches and providing a place to hold the session.
The clinics will be offered in a single Saturday format, or as two three-hour weeknight meetings. The program is expected to cost the foundation roughly $200,000 a year.
The program will include first-aid and emergency procedures, the psychology of coaching young athletes, the importance of warmups, and general organizational techniques, as well as specific coaching techniques in basketball, soccer, track and volleyball.
Anita de Frantz, an Olympian on the foundation staff who has been organizing the program, said that other sports might be added. Initially, she said, the foundation will be able to put on 20 clinics a month. Each will be staffed by two coaching experts hired by the foundation. Video, text and live presentations will be made.
Foundation President Stanton Wheeler said the coaching clinic program is representative of "the major goal of the foundation, which is to improve the quality of sports for the youth of Southern California."
De Frantz said that materials obtained from the National Youth Sports Coaches Assn., based in Florida., and the American Coaching Effectiveness Program, based in Illinois, will be used in the clinics. She described those groups as the only two that are trying to provide training and certification for people coaching young athletes.
A workbook from the ACEP program contains this passage, getting across one of the themes of the forthcoming clinics:
"Gymnast: "What's the worst injury you've seen on the high bar?" "Coach: "I saw a fellow fly off and break his neck."
"The coach may have answered the question without realizing what was really being asked. The player may have been expressing concern about his own possibility of being injured. Active listening by the coach might change the conversation this way:
"Gymnast: "What's the worst injury you've seen on the high bar?" "Coach: "I've not seen too many injuries. Are you worried about getting hurt?"
De Frantz said that a central idea will be to teach how to encourage youngsters and give their healthy development positive reinforcement. She recalled that when she was a young swimmer in the Midwest, her father didn't ask whether she or her brother had won but asked instead: "Are you satisfied with your performance today?"
Eventually, she said, the foundation may develop its own videos, using such Southern California athletes as Rafer Johnson as narrators. Johnson is on the foundation's board of directors.