OSU-OHSAA LiFEsports Alliance

Million Coaches Challenge

The Million Coaches Challenge

Less than one third of the United States six million coaches have been trained in youth development practices, yet most coaches recognize the key role they play in promoting youth development.

To bridge this gap in training, the Susan Crown Exchange (SCE) launched a new initiative in 2020 with the goal to train one million coaches in youth development techniques by 2025!

LiFEsports and nine other organizations were chosen as a part of a cohort to achieve this goal and to build our national knowledge of innovative practices to strengthen coach trainings in PYD across the country.

To see the other organizations involved in this work, see here.

Our Goal

Our goal is to reach at least 15,000 coaches from across Ohio to equip them to address the ever-changing needs of their communities’ youth and promote sport-based positive youth development (PYD).

Currently, coaches in the Ohio High School Athletic Association (OHSAA) member schools receive coach training in basic safety-related procedures (i.e. first aid, concussions) and coaching fundamentals, yet there is a lack of coach preparedness social-emotional learning and positive youth development (SEL-PYD) topics, such as developing positive adult-youth relationships or using effective leadership strategies that emphasize effort,  autonomy, mastery and learning.

Current research, however, suggests that coach training in SEL-PYD can improve youths’ motivation, satisfaction and continued participation in sports!

So, that’s where we come in. LiFEsports is a national model for SEL-PYD awarded Project Champion by the Aspen Institute and Bright Sport in the National Youth Sport Strategy. So, we will leverage our expertise in SEL-PYD to train coaches across the state.

In partnership with OHSAA, seven school districts across the state of Ohio and state regulatory bodies, we plan to audit current coaching certification requirements, develop, pilot and implement new coach training modules and advocate for changes in the Ohio Pupil Activity Permit to ensure that all coaches are prepared to develop their athlete’s sport and life skills on and off the field. 

Staff training

70% of coaches in OHSAA are non-school employees with limited background in education and child development.

Our partners

Along with the Ohio High school Athletics Association (OHSAA), we will partner with seven local school districts.

Our school district partners:

  • Akron Public Schools
  • Dublin City Schools
  • Elgin Local Schools
  • Hilliard City Schools
  • Logan-Hocking Local Schools
  • Mansfield City Schools
  • Newark City Schools
  • Wheelersburg Local Schools

If you or your school district, would like to get involved, contact us here!

Our Project Timeline

The OHSAA and Lifesports Alliance envisions embedding SEL-PYD learning modules into coaching training and certifications needed to coach at middle and high schools in Ohio. That way all coaches in Ohio will be better prepared to use and continue to grow SEL-PYD coaching practices to promote positive youth development in the years to come. Over the next three school years we will:


  • Audit current coaching certification requirements in Ohio.
  • Gather thoughts from coaches, student-athletes and other experts
  • Create SEL-PYD in person training
  • Pilot SEL-PYD in person trainings

2022 - 2023:

  • Create six interactive SEL-PYD training modules
  • Pilot SEL-PYD training modules
  • Begin marketing of SEL-PYD trainings
  • Work with local and state organizations to improve certification processes for coaches

2023 - 2024:

  • Launch in person and online SEL-PYD trainings!
  • Implement marketing strategy for SEL-PYD trainings
  • Approve and implement new processes for coach certification

Beyond 2024:

  • Embed SEL-PYD trainings across the state of Ohio
  • Create ongoing coach skill building in SEL-PYD and positive youth development
  • Support future coaching efforts related to SEL-PYD

Interested in seeing additional research around coaching and social emotional learning and positive youth development?

In 2020, LiFEsports at The Ohio State University (OSU) conducted a coaching study to help explore the quality and quantity of youth sport in the region as part of “The State of Play Central Ohio” led by The Aspen Institute and The Columbus Foundation. The purpose of this study was to explore coaches’ background, experiences, philosophies, current practices, and perspectives on youth sport.

About Ohio High School Athletic Association (OHSAA)

Established in 1907, OHSAA supports member schools in Ohio as a voluntary, unincorporated, non-for-profit association of public and private high schools and 7th-8th grade schools. Currently, OHSAA has 1,690 school members, oversees 26 sanctioned sports, and leads statewide efforts to support tournament administration, student-athlete eligibility, coach education, and other practices essential in Ohio schools.

To learn more about OHSAA, visit their website here.


About Susan Crown Exchange

As an organization, the Susan Crown Exchange (SCE) supports nonprofits that prepare youth to thrive in a rapidly changing world.

To learn more about the Susan Crown Exchange, visit their website here.

To learn more about the Million Coaches Challenge, visit the website here.

Susan Crown Exchange

Message OSU LiFEsports

For any inquiries or questions for the LiFEsports staff, please feel free to contact us.