The Center for Ethical Youth Coaching (CEYC) is dedicated to promoting ethical, value-based, coaching principles in youth sports and, as a result, create a fun, safe, and beneficial environment for youth athletes. One of the primary roadblocks to creating this ethical environment is the lack of guidance offered to coaches on how to effectively balance winning on their team. Often, winning overshadows other important areas such as character development. Existing programs offer coaches little guidance on how to balance the demands of competition with developing the character of their players. This leads many coaches to adopt a “win at all costs mentality” and, subsequently, fosters many unethical principles on youth sports teams. The Center for Ethical Youth Coaching through its Ethical Youth Coach Certification (EYC Certification) gives coaches the guidance and training necessary to put an end to these unethical practices and create a more ethical environment in youth sports that has countless benefits for youth athletes.

CEYC the Advocate

In addition to administering the EYC certification, the CEYC is a leading advocate of ethical, value-based, practices in youth sports. The CEYC works with various groups (parent groups, civic organizations, media outlets) to help promote increased ethics in youth sports. The CEYC assures parents that their children are safe by creating a more ethical environment in youth sports.

Mission Statement:

The mission of the Center for Ethical Youth Coaching is to raise the ethical standards of coaches who work with young athletes, through research, publication, credentialing and public presentations.  As a result of raising these ethical standards, young athletes will be in the best possible position to learn and grow through sports. Sports are a tremendous way to learn about life and develop life skills. It is ,therefore, important that coaches are prepared to guide young athletes in the most ethical manner possible.


In June of 2010, Justin Mayer and Dr. John Mayer conducted research on the state of Youth Coaching. Justin and John were astounded to find that in youth sports ethics and values were given far less attention than other areas. Their research showed that ethical concerns in youth coaching are mentioned only briefly and at most given one or two paragraphs in youth coaching manuals. After concluding this initial research, Justin decided to start an exploratory committee on the feasibility of issuing a coaching certification on ethics in youth sports. The exploratory committee concluded that there was a need for such a certification. On October 4, 2010 development of the Ethical Youth Coach Certification (EYC) began. The purpose of the ethical youth coaching certification is not to replace sport-specific coaching training but to complement it by adding consideration of ethics, values, psychological development, guidance, discipline, motivation, safety, healthy lifestyle practices and parental involvement. The development of this certification also led to the creation of the Center for Ethical Youth Coaching (CEYC). The Center for Ethical Youth Coaching is a not-for-profit organization.

The Ethical Youth Coaching Certification Development Team

John E. Mayer, Ph.D. | Justin E. Mayer | Andrew Teunis

Overall Development Process

The Ethical Youth Coach Certification was developed over 18 months of careful and deliberate study. The creation of the certification was divided into eight phases:

1)-Exploratory research on the state of youth coaching

2- Content research for the book Principles of Value-Based Coaching

3- Writing-Principles of Value-Based Coaching

4- Editing-Principles of Value-Based Coaching

5- Examination Creation

6- Focus group testing of examination content

7- Examination final editing and completion

8- Finalizing of processes:

-Background check

-Online examination testing platform

-Online registration for Ethical Youth Coach (EYC) Certification

Certification Elements

The certification program is composed of three elements, all of which are administered online:

(1) A 50-question online multiple choice and true/false examination (75% score required for certification);

(2) A background check; and,

(3) A signed coach code of conduct.


The Principles of Value-Based Coaching

The examination is based on the book The Principles of Value-Based Coaching written by Justin E. Mayer and Dr. John Mayer. The book was authored over a one-year period and is based on more than 40 scholarly and scientific articles. In addition to using a number of leading bodies of research to develop the content, Dr. Mayer brought his more than 30 years of experience treating adolescent youth to further enhance the content. Moreover, Justin Mayer brought his athletic background and academic research experience to the table to ensure that the book and examination were based on both credible and cutting-edge research. Rounding out the development team was Mr. Andrew Teunis. Mr. Teunis is both the director of business development for the International Sports Professionals Association and the Head Coach for the St. Rita High Schools junior varsity lacrosse team. Mr. Teunis served as the coaching advisor for both the book and examination’s development, and insured that the content was based on practical coaching principles. Andrew Yale, a doctoral candidate at the University of Chicago, conducted a final review of the book.

Ethical Youth Coach Certification

The following is a list of the subject areas touched upon in the Ethical Youth Coach Certification program. Each subject area was thoroughly analyzed by the EYC development team and based on scholarly and scientific research:

  • Ethical Player Development
  • The Complete Player
  • Playing Time-Strategies for utilizing all players
  • Dealing/ Communicating with Parents
  • Progressively implementing Winning-“The Winning Factor”
  • Practice Planning
  • Game Planning
  • Season Planning
  • Pre-season meeting
  • Communicating with Youth athletes
  • Coaching Philosophy
  • Handling Special Situations
  • Positive Coaching Techniques
  • Developmental Perspective of Youth Athletes
  • First Aid
  • Player Safety
  • Sports Psychology
  • Self-Esteem
  • Confidence Building
  • Player Assessment
  • Sportsmanship
  • Healthy Lifestyle/ Nutrition
  • Hydration
  • Alcohol & Drugs
  • Player Discipline
  • Motivation

The EYC Certification Examination

The examination is composed of 30 multiple-choice questions, and 20 true/false questions. Participants have forty-five minutes to complete the examination. The content of the examination is directly synthesized from the Principles of Value-Based Coaching book. The examination is hosted online at the Center for Ethical Youth Coaching’s website and is administered through a third-party testing platform (ClassMarker.com). Participants are given their results via email within 10 days of completing the examination. The EYC development team created the content for the examination. Two focus groups, composed of ten individuals who coached a variety of youth sports, took the examination and filled out post evaluation forms. The feedback from these forms was used to adjust the examination, ensuring its content was properly calibrated toward the target group of test takers: youth coaches.

Background Check

After completing the online examination with a passing score, each participant is required to register for a criminal background check to continue the certification process. The background check is conducted by LexisNexis and includes a search of the national criminal database and sex offender registry. Candidates register online for the background check through SportsSignUp.com.

Code of Conduct

Once a participant has completed the online examination with a passing score and has registered and cleared the criminal background check, he or she is then required to submit a signed EYC Coach Code of Conduct to the Center for Ethical Youth Coaching. The EYC Coach Code of Conduct is administered online through EchoSign.com.


The Center for Ethical Youth Coaching is a member organization of the National Council of Coaching Education and is currently seeking domain accreditation in philosophy and ethics.


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