Become a Youth Sports Coach

Last updated: February 27, 2023, at 10:48 a.m. PT

Originally published: February 24, 2023, at 4:47 p.m. PT

"Youth Sports Volunteers Lead the Way!" with a photo collage of kids playing sports

What does being a coach mean to you? Perhaps you’re picturing a kid learning to make that first shot after multiple tries in a row. In truth, it’s just as much about teaching kids to reach their goals as teaching them how to tap into their inner power and ability to grow when they fail. Having a Y youth sports coach who can help kids regulate big feelings is a huge part of learning the game.  

It’s in those moments when Y volunteers move beyond coaching to mentoring. Those are the coaches who change lives. 

You don't have to be a sports expert to coach. Youth sports teach dedication, empathy, growth, teamwork, leadership, and problem-solving – all skills that lead to success in all aspects of life. Chances are you have used quite a few of those skills in your daily life, regardless of whether you know anything about sports. And you can help give Y kids the opportunity to learn these life lessons early on – all while having fun and growing with their friends. 

The best part? Our kids truly need you – your authentic, full self. Imagine the impact of growing up with a role model you see yourself in – someone who celebrates you, champions accessibility and inclusion, and understands your cultural experiences. Imagine having someone who can open you up to new perspectives and values. Our kids need more volunteer youth sports coaches like Jaylen Diamond Swanson.  


Jaylen has been a game and life-changing coach for the kids at Matt Griffin Y, who look up to him as a dedicated advocate for social justice in the community and an engaged Black leader. Jaylen was also – can you guess? – a Y kid! It was through Y programs that Jaylen began to shape his sense of self and a connection to his community. He saw firsthand the importance of being there to help give kids an extra boost to reaching their goals. And as a volunteer coach, Jaylen was sure to not only get kids' heads but their hearts in the game. From learning to dribble, shoot, kick, or throw to teaching kids how to celebrate when they won – or handle it with grace when they lost – Jaylen taught them valuable lessons.  

Youth sports can do so much in kids' lives, from developing their potential to opening doors to whole new worlds through the lessons they learn. 

You can encourage kids to shine with confidence on whatever path they choose. So, whatever your path has been – even if it hasn’t been one in sports so far – you can still help a kid find theirs when you volunteer with the Y