Train All Coaches

The Why

Coaches are the backbone of youth sports, serving as mentors, role models and inspirations for generations of young athletes.

But unlike other educators, youth sports coaches are often unpaid or underpaid volunteers, with little training beyond the mandated certifications in critical topics like CPR, concussions and SafeSport. Research has consistently shown that kids who play for trained coaches have a better experience. It is time to recognize coach training as critical to the youth sports experience, and to work together to make it more accessible to every coach.

What kids want from a coach

Adults who work with kids should know these fundamentals

Respect & encouragement

Positive role model

Clear, consistent communication

Knowledge of sport

Someone who listens

(Data: Visek et al., Journal of Physical Activity & Health, 2014)

What We Are Doing


Project Play WNY continues to train all coaches and build the capacity of local WNY youth sports organizations through our partnership with Cornerstone.

A coach can nurture or destroy a child’s love for sports. In one study, 5% of kids with trained coaches quit the next year versus 26% for untrained coaches. Cornerstone Youth Engagement (YE) positions youth sports as an important part of a child’s overall development by engaging parents, educators, coaches, and athletic administrators to create a platform for lifelong success and understands that coaches need training in:

  • Coaching philosophy for kids
  • Physical literacy and sport skills
  • Basic safety

Project Play WNY is committed to building sustainable systems for the foreseeable future where local youth sports organizations are strong and capable to handle the unique challenges driven by increased demands of participant families, consistent resource constraints and shortage of volunteer staff members. Cornerstone Strategic Assistance (SA) collaborates with Project Play WNY to increase the organizational and leadership capacity of Youth Sports and Recreation Organizations across the WNY footprint by offering strategic assistance consultations that are tailored to each organization’s specific needs; including Operational Assessment, Strategic Assistance Training Program, Strategy Development, Marketing Planning, Marketing Research, Change Management Plan, Succession Planning, Collaboration Supports, Program Evaluation, Leadership Development, and Board Development, and Financial Assessment and Controls.


Project Play WNY is partnering with the Positive Coaching Alliance to launch the Racial Equity Youth Sports Task Force for Buffalo, NY. Our collaborative mission is to remedy the negative impact systemic racism has on many youth athletes, coaches, and local youth sports organization members who believe access to high-quality youth sports is a right that all kids deserve. Our work is to dismantle inequitable systems that continue to impact Western New York communities to achieve racial justice and remove barriers. Project Play WNY and PCA will build community stakeholder ownership of a sports equity agenda by establishing a task force composed of members of the sport, youth services, municipal, academic and business communities, including after-school education leaders (K-12), youth sports professionals, government leaders, community stakeholders, minority business leaders, and professional athletes.

The task force’s key deliverables include:

  • Define a vision of what sports equity looks like for the community.
  • Identify root problems that are barriers to sports equity.
  • Define the types of data and other information necessary to determine appropriate strategies to achieve the vision.
  • Establish strategies and benchmarks of success.
  • Determine resources necessary for implementation.

Contact us

If you are a youth sports organization interested in collaborative work to facilitate programming for sports sampling, please email inquiries to

Our Initiatives


Built with input from coaches and youth sports organizations, Cornerstone offers FREE resources and tools to help organizations attract, support and retain coaches and youth while making the coaching and playing experience more enjoyable for kids, families, and communities.

Calls For Coaches

Coaching kids goes beyond simply winning games—it’s also critical to develop each athlete. As a coach, if you can focus on the social, emotional, cognitive, and physical needs of the whole child, you can help youth athletes feel safe and supported, foster important traits such as responsibility and perseverance, and guide them in building an emotional foundation for success.

How to Coach Kids

Are you a volunteer coach or interested in becoming one? Then check out this FREE, 30-minute interactive online training course for volunteer coaches for kids under age 12. Co-created by Nike and the U.S. Olympic Committee, with the support of our partners at the Aspen Institute, How to Coach Kids also offers a complete resource center with tools for coaching kids in any sport.