A good coach, like a good teacher, can turn a child's life around, setting him or her on a path to high self-esteem and a successful life. Youth sports are excellent opportunities to teach important life lessons and to build personal character. A good coach isn't necessarily the one who wins the most games, but the one whose players improve as athletes, grow as individuals and, most importantly, have fun!
The Positive Coaching Alliance (PCA) is a national training program for youth athletic coaches. The PCA teaches coaches how to create a culture of respect for the game, for the opponent and for the players themselves. A good coach certainly isn't overly hard on his or her players, but not too soft, either. Empty praise can be equally damaging to a child's development as an athlete and his or her emerging sense of self-worth. The PCA guidelines talk a lot about "filling the emotional tanks" of kids [source: PCA]. For example, tell them three things they did well before correcting a swing or improving a jump shot.
Most middle school and high school coaches are also teachers at the same school. That means you would at least need a college degree, preferably in education or physical education, to be paid to coach youth sports. The Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts that the number of jobs available to coaches and scouts will grow by 25 percent over the next decade [source: BLS].