Interscholastic athletic programs in South Dakota are an extension of the classroom. Athletics have been valued in our society for teaching traditional American values such as competition (achievement, motivation), sportsmanship (ethical behavior), leadership, and building character. Competition is highly valued because through competitive experiences in sports, young people can develop ethical behavior. They can learn a basic code of sportsmanship that transfers to a moral code for living. In competitive sports, where winning is a valued prize, opportunities for making moral decisions reflecting fairness, integrity, and sense of ethics often occur.
The development of young people with quality leadership skills has always been an important goal of sport. Young people must understand that every member, regardless of skill or talent, has a role to play in a successful team effort. No one wins or loses alone. It takes skilled coaches to counteract a message popularized by the media that it is the "star" who makes a team successful.
At the heart of the high school sports experience is the quality of coaching provided to student-athletes. A key element of having high quality coaching is ensuring that coaches have proper and ongoing training.
Young people will experience the positive outcomes of athletic participation only if they have a qualified coach. A well-qualified coach knows how to plan dynamic practice sessions, teaches sound fundamentals with good learning progressions, and plans training programs appropriate for the sport. Successful coaches communicate with the athletes effectively and understand the kind of positive motivational approaches that result in achievement. Athletes who receive good coaching will also be injured less frequently. As a consequence, they will have more opportunities to experience the excitement and receive the positive values of athletic competition, while perform at their best possible level.