Virtually 100% of you said yes to the question above.
You also almost unanimously agreed that a criminal record check should be part of the process. But this Nose-2-Nose debate also generated some strong responses and a few surprises. And when it comes to who should test, how it should be done, and who makes the tough calls, opinions varied widely. More comments below.
First, observations from WebBall...
While most everyone is against drugs and child abuse (no surprise) more than twice as many as were anti-smoking were anti-gay. This is one that suprises WebBall - as role modeling goes, we think smoking is a habit more likely to be picked up from a coach than sexual orientation. We assume that there is an unfounded fear that orientation somehow leads to child abuse - a disturbing assumption.
On a lighter note, for those who thought WebBall should be the one to do the testing, we thank you for the vote of confidence but no thanks. Besides, many more people are in favor of local coaches and associations (rather than national) doing the testing and certifying the coaches. For the record we here are in favor of national standards. One note below explains the Canadian Minor Baseball approach using the 3M program, one we highly recommend.
Comments from voters...
I am in firm agreement on certification on coaches. I coach in a minority community and it seems a lot of the youth coaches here have no knowledge on baseball and try to load up their teams with the best athletes, skipping the teaching of fundamentals. At [lower levels] coaches can win with good athletes and poor fundamentals. But what it does is destroy the youth when entering [older level] baseball. I have been coaching for some 20 plus years and I have seen coaches who shouldn't be on the field due to criminal background and drug involvment. You will get no argument from me for a national certification.
- Ed Acrie, Western Pennsylvania Police Athletic League
It would be great to have the luxury of certifying coaches. The reality of insufficent parental involvement/volunteers is our league's biggest hurdle. A problem we have yet to solve. Retaining good coaches (whose children have moved up) is an area to explore. It's just tough to keep people involved in their community. Perhaps youth baseball is a microcosm of today's [societal] problems.
I picked smoking as a ban, at the ball park at least. Since we are dealing with young impressionable people we should absolutely be held to a higher standard and you should know that even before volunteering. Just as you wouldn't expect to leave your child at a day care with people who have fallen short of what society or the law has deemed acceptable behavior so should you not be expected to do so when you bring your child to the ball park.
- Bruce Butler
I coach boys bantam ball in Alberta, Canada. Here the team has to have at least one coach certified at the 3M coaches level to take a rep team on to the Provincial championships. This is a national certification that sets a standard and gives some consistency for all teams that compete. You don't need to be certified to coach at the house-league level, however we try to get more coaches certified so that the players are still exposed to the same standards and methods that are taught by the certified coaches. To take a team on to National level competition, the coaches must also be certified at the second level in the technical component of the 3M certification. These levels of certification show that the coach is dedicated enough to the sport to try and make a difference to the kids.
- Warren Eisthen
As a Little League coach I have seen a lot of leagues not have enough coaches for the teams that they field, so making standards too tough you would have even fewer coaches. I do believe that there should be some kind of standard for how we behave on the field as coaches. We are there for the childern and not our own egos.
- James F. Martine
As a coach young coach myself, I feel we are role models to our young athletes. We should also be certified for the same reasons school teachers are. To provide a safe environment and to teach players, not only about baseball but also about life skills.
- Chris Chisholm