High school sports coaches have a responsibility not just to develop player skills but also to be positive role models who teach important life lessons through athletics. To fulfill this dual role, coaches need access to high-quality educational resources that can improve both their coaching techniques and ability to mentor young athletes. The free courses available through the NFHS Learning Center at NFHSLearn.com provide a valuable opportunity to help coaches succeed at both.

The NFHS (National Federation of State High School Associations) Learning Center offers more than 75 free online courses covering topics like concussion awareness, sport first aid, drug and alcohol awareness, coaching principles, sport safety, and character development. The courses are self-paced and easily accessible anytime from any digital device. Coaches can choose courses based on their specific needs and interests.

Most importantly, these courses directly improve coaching effectiveness and the student-athlete experience. Courses on sport principles equip coaches with the knowledge to develop practice plans, teach skills, implement strategies and set clear expectations that maximize learning and motivation for players. Courses focused on injury prevention, sport safety and emotional wellbeing help coaches identify and address concerns that could derail an athlete's season or long-term involvement in athletics. And character-based courses show coaches how to integrate life lessons into daily interactions with players in a positive, authentic manner.

Beyond enabling coaches to learn valuable information, completion of NFHS Learning Center courses satisfy various continuing education or recertification requirements helping to ensure coaches stay up to date on the latest approaches, research and recommendations that can impact their sports.

In an age when coaching resources are increasingly expensive and time-consuming to access, the free courses provided by the NFHS Learning Center offer a tremendous opportunity for high school coaches. The broad range of topics and flexible learning environment allows coaches to identify and fill gaps in their knowledge - from sport fundamentals to injury prevention to character development - in a way that directly translates to improved coaching and more positive athletic experiences for student-athletes. By taking advantage of these free resources, coaches can elevate both their instruction and influence for the benefit of high school sports at large.