Level I Coach Certification

Coaching Ethics | Coaching Performance | Level I Certification Process Reviews


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The USA Ultimate Level I Coach Certification Program was first designed by Joe Bisignano, Tiina Booth, Michael Baccarini, Barbara Denison, John Sandahl, and Kyle Weisbrod during 2003. In 2009, the Level I clinic was restructured into two workshops to better meet the needs of our coaches

To see a schedule or register for a workshop, click here 

Coaching Ethics Workshop

This half day workshop covers the basic ethics and standards required for USA Ultimate coaches. Discussions will use the USA Ultimate Code of Ethics and Spirit of Coaching documents as starting points to gain a deeper understanding regarding issues of liability and insurance, fairness, teaching self officiating and professionalizing the role of coaches in Ultimate. In training our coaches, we seek to create a safe and positive environment for our players. Whether you are a new coach or an experienced coach, an understanding of USA Ultimate’s policies in this area is a must. In order to receive USA Ultimate Level I certification, coaches must attend the full day Ethics & Performance Workshops.

This workshop covers:

    * How to behave professionally while coaching
    * Liability and Insurance
    * How to teach self officiating
    * Ethics and Fairness in Coaching
    * How to promote the sport and get new players hooked

Coaching Performance Workshops

This full day workshop includes the morning ethics workshop (as described above), followed by an afternoon dedicated to modeling quality instructional methods in teaching basic skills and running a practice. Coaches will have the opportunity to practice teaching methods and share ideas. Both workshops are interactive and instructors are well trained in creating a comfortable atmosphere for learning and building community. Coaches who participate in the Ethics & Performance Workshops will be eligible for Level I certification by passing a background check and an online assessment following the workshops.

This workshop covers (in addition to the topics from the Ethics workshop):

    * How to teach the game and strong fundamental skills to new players
    * Fitness and conditioning
    * How to run an effective practice
    * How to utilize parents

Whether you are new to coaching, or have been coaching Ultimate for years, these workshops will provide a lively and interactive experience that both builds communities and professionalizes the role of coaching in Ultimate.

And, although you must be 21 years of age in order to receive certification, high school captains are welcome to attend the workshop and will find the program useful.

Certification Process

For coaches seeking Level I Certification for the first time, the process is as follows:

(1) Have a current USAU coach, coach & player, or lifetime membership

(2) Attend both the Ethics (morning) and Performance (afternoon) workshops

(3) Complete the online assessment (emailed after the workshop) with a passing score of 80%

(4) (If not already completed) Complete the background check screening through the National Center for Safety Initiatives and receive a "Green Light"

Note, beginning in January of 2013, the NCSI background check is not provided in the cost of the workshop.

(5) Be a minimum of 21 years old

Level I Certification is valid through 12/31 of the calendar year following the date of the workshop.


Level I Coach Workshop Reviews

"The level of understanding and experience about coaching Ultimate that Michael brought to the workshop was simply amazing. He must be the ultimate Ultimate coach's coach! I learned what is important about teaching Ultimate to beginners, spirit of the game aspects, conditioning techniques and making practices fun, profssionalism in dealing with young players, etc. Michael brought tremendous integrity and a wealth of experience to the workshop and I can't imagine a better experience for people wanting to learn to teach Ultimate"

"The instruction was outstanding. I went into the workshop wanting to learn more but not really sure that coaching Ultimate was something I wanted to do. As a result of the workshop, I am inspired to be an Ultimate coach! And, becuase of the class exercises and discussion and material provided in the workshop, I feel competent and capable of teaching Ultimate to beginners."

"I learned exactly what I wanted to learn"


Coaches and volunteers who seek certification from USA Ultimate must complete a background check prior to certification. The background check is conducted by a third party, The National Center for Safety Initiatives. The determination of the check is provided to USA Ultimate for screening purposes only. USA Ultimate reserves the right to deny certification to coaches, chaperones, or other volunteers whenever the background check or other information indicates felonies, any crimes involving children, any violent crimes, any crimes of a sexual nature or any other conduct or information causing USA Ultimate to deny participation.

The USA Ultimate Coach Certification is a statement only that the coach has successfully completed a program that teaches skills, tactics, strategy, rules and the Spirit of the Game. USA Ultimate is not in any way certifying the moral character of any coach, chaperone, or other volunteer. The background check performed for USA Ultimate should not be relied upon or used as a replacement for the purposes of your own background check or investigation and/or complying with any requirement that might be imposed by a school district, sports league, etc.  USA Ultimate's background check must be current as of the time the coach or volunteer applies for certification.