Mandatory Certified Coaching?
Earlier today, like many of you perhaps, I visited the new RHA website. Included among the pages I read: One of the goals of RHA is to educate people, which include coaches. With a united effort, we are going to offer coaching certification and will make it mandatory that coaches are certified to be behind the bench. Our goal is to certify all coaches by the end of 2010. Dates and locations of coaching clinics will be available shortly.
Not intending to challenge or dispute the RHA, I am, however curious to know more from IHC forum readers regarding their opinions for Mandatory Training and Certification.
As you likely know, most other sports take coach and official certification, and even safe haven and background checks, both seriously and as a matter of routine. Just try to get your child into an AYSO soccer program and find out how much there is involved to certifications from coaching even entry-level 6 year olds. Think you're qualified to teach T-ball to a five year old? Better pass the test or sit in the stands.
Programs for (so-called) mandatory training have long been in place for this sport but seemingly lack both support and the teeth to enforce same in most cases. There is a certain, built-in resistance within the sport - maybe it's the maverick, non-mainstream nature of the beast. I have heard some, but not all of the arguments before:
"I don't check for certifications because I don't want to upset my coaches."
"What does training or certification do for the sport?"
"Will it make my players better or my team improve if I get certified?"
"I've been in hockey all my life. I know more than the teachers."
"I could write the book. Why should I have to test?"
"Heck, I wrote the book."
"I'm too busy to bother with certification and you can't make me!"
Any of these sound familiar to you?
As proponents of certification, our High School League instituted a graduated certification program this season. We began with a mandatory coaches training rule  using the NFHS' Fundamentals of Coaching model (http://nfhslearn.com) at its core. As a scholastic sport, all coaches are required by the California Interscholastic Federation (CIF) to comply regardless of sport or tenure. Our League incorporated this model as one strategy to both certify and to demonstrate compliance with mainstream interscholastic sports. In our case, Coaches compliance is indeed mandatory and enforceable within our League and its sanctioned functions.
Granted, the scholastic segment of hockey is unique when compared to travel or recreational segments. The scholastic segment of roller hockey presents challenges in contending with student athletes, schools, districts and a litany of rules and issues not relevant to other segments.
So, what are your thoughts about Mandatory Training and Certification. Inquiring minds want to know.
P.S. I actually have in my possession two color-covered training booklets: Inline Hockey Coaches Manual Level 1 and Inline Hockey Coaches Manual Level 2 as produced by USARS/AAU. They're pretty easy to come by.
 IHF RULES 2008-09
SECTION II. GAME MANAGEMENT
1. All Head Coaches and Assistant Coaches must have a current AAU Inline Hockey Registration and Coaching Certification as required by IHF.
a. All IHF Coaches must meet a minimum Coach Certification requirement in accordance with CIF guidelines for basic coach training: All Coaches, paid or unpaid, must be certified in Coaches Education by December 31, 2008. Coaches can now become certified online for $52 or in a classroom setting by one of California's Instructors as offered through the NFHS Fundamentals of Coaching Course at http://nfhslearn.com/. Coaches must provide the League with certification in advance to the first game in January, 2009. Failure to provide requested evidence of certification will result in ineligibility to coach any team in playoff or postseason and/or IHF sanctioned competitions in 2009.
b. All IHF Coaches and Assistant Coaches must be in compliance with Scholastic level certification requirements as may be defined by USARS, the AAU and/or the IHF by or before the beginning of the first regular season game of each season beginning after 2008.