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Karen Collins and Russell Medbery

The coach-athlete relationship is an important determinant in creating a healthy sport environment. Educating coaches is a critical component of cultivating a positive coach-athlete relationship. It is through systematic coaching education programs that positive coaching skills are learned (Smith & Smoll, 1997). It is equally important to accurately assess current needs and demands of state high school coaching education programs. Therefore, the purpose of this research was to systematically assess the current state of coaching education. This needs assessment included descriptions of athletic departments, funding, quality, type, and content of coaching education programs, as well as the level of satisfaction with the current coaching education delivery system. The needs assessment was conducted via a survey that was mailed to every athletic director in the state of New Hampshire. There was a 49% (n = 46) return rate after two follow-up reminders. Results were organized in four categories: financial overview, sport organizational structure, coaching education requirements, and coaching education curriculum content. Overall, results indicated: a clear need to re-evaluate the New Hampshire state requirements for coaching education; how the requirements are met; the content of state coaching education,; and how coaching education is supported financially.

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Daniel Gould, Nicole Damarjian, and Russell Medbery

The effects of mental skills training in youth sport have been well documented (Efran, Lessor, & Spiller, 1994; Li-Wei, Qi-Wei, Orlick, & Zitzelsberger, 1992; Wanlin, Hrycaiko, Martin, & Mahon, 1997). This investigation focused on understanding why mental skills training information is not being used by junior tennis coaches and identifying better ways to convey this information to coaches. Focus-group interviews were conducted with 20 elite junior tennis coaches. Results revealed a need for more mental skills training coach education on content information. Understanding how to teach mental skills was also emphasized, as was the need for coaches to become more comfortable with this process. Coaches suggested that mental skills training information could be made more user-friendly through development of hands-on concrete examples and activities, increased mental skills training resources (particularly audio and video formats), and involvement in mental skills coach education efforts.