The Little League® Diamond Leader Program, a new initiative focused on educating volunteer coaches on their role supporting the social and emotional well-being of children, is now available for coaches everywhere to complete for the 2023 season and beyond.
“The mental, social, and emotional well-being of children is paramount to all of us at Little League International and is vital for us to be able to provide additional resources to educate volunteer coaches and Little League families on how to help support these areas,” said Nina Johnson-Pitt, Little League Senior Strategy Director. “Through this program, we aim to provide insight and education to all our volunteer coaches on how they can support the social and emotional learning of their athletes and join together with the other organizations within the Susan Crown Exchange cohort to reach our goal of educating one million coaches in youth development by 2025.”
The Little League Diamond Leader program, which was first piloted with nearly 1,000 Little League volunteers throughout the 2022 season, was created as part of the Susan Crown Exchange’s Million Coaches Challenge and developed in coordination with the Aspen Institute’s Project Play. Focused on ensuring children have a positive, well-rounded experience on and off the field, the Little League Diamond Leader Training Program is a FREE educational resource that provides coaches with an understanding of the impact that mental, social, and emotional well-being has in youth sports through detailed information, interactive scenarios, and a variety of additional resources.
Through this course, which navigates Little League volunteers through real-life scenarios that are being faced in local leagues all around the world each year, coaches are provided a better understanding of the impact they have on their players, both on and off the field. Starting with the 2023 season, completion of the Little League Diamond Leader Program will be required for any coach and/or manager to be eligible to participate at any level of the Little League International Tournament.
“While we believe it is important for all our volunteers to take part in the Little League Diamond Leader Program, the journey through the Little League International Tournament can often times be a stressful time for players as the competition level grows throughout the summer, making it more and more important for our coaches to understand the impact they have on their players,” said Mrs. Johnson-Pitt. “By requiring all our tournament coaches to complete the program, we are able to enhance the ability of those coaches to support the mental, social, and emotional well-being of their players every step of the way. We hope that all our volunteers join us in maintaining this player-focused approach to everything that we do within the organization as we continue to find ways to enhance the Little League experience.”
Designed to allow users to take in as much information as they’d like, with comprehensive learning opportunities spread throughout the full program, completion of the course can be done in less than a half hour to fulfill the tournament requirements. However, Little League strongly encourages every volunteer who takes part in the program spends as much time as needed to learn the areas of focus that are interesting to them while also saving the resources provided to assist in continued education throughout the year.
The Little League Diamond Leader Training Program is one of the many free resources that Little League Baseball and Softball provides to its volunteer coaches to ensure that its players are making the most out of their Little League experience each year, including a variety of resources available on the mental health of youth athletes. To learn more about the Little League Diamond Leader Program, including how to sign up for the program and a list of frequently asked questions, visit LittleLeague.org/DiamondLeader.