Category: Coaching

This category includes essays and perspectives on youth and interscholastic sports. Learn more about effective coaching and ways that you can help others become successful coaches.

Coaching for the Long-Term: Staying in the Game

The retention rate for high school coaches is reportedly declining.  After the 2015 high school football season, 116 of the 601 head football coaching positions in Southern California were open, and in Florida 129 of 560 high schools were looking for a new football coach (Rohrbach, 2016).  Administrators often feel forced to select, evaluate, and retain or remove coaches based on external pressures (i.e. a losing season, unhappy parents, etc.). Sadly, this urgency to produce winning programs coupled with dwindling administrative support, is putting coaches in a constant survival mode.

To endure this win-at-all cost mentality, coaches first need a short-term action plan. Reassuring parents that all is well, convincing athletes that your strategies and tactics are working, and minimizing any conflicts your athletic director might face with parents and athletes are ongoing demands. But it’s not easy to handle day-to-day and often unanticipated non-game issues and still coach effectively. For an increasing number of coaches, the stress experienced proves to be unsustainable.  So for coaches to “stay in the game” and enjoy extended careers, a recommended strategy is to adopt a long-term action plan.  This involves three key elements: 1) become a life-long learner, 2) implement deliberate practice techniques, and 3) pursue coaching mastery.

Become a Lifelong Learner

2017 National PE & School Sport Institute Update!

What: 2017 National PE & School Sport Institute
When: July 24-26, 2017
Where: Asheville, North Carolina
Website: NationalPE.com

Just over a month remains before the start of this year’s National PE & School Sport Institute. Registrations are fast filling and the schedule is finalized. Take a look below at the amazing variety of presentation topics and the list of outstanding presenters. This year’s keynoters include Joey Feith, Greg Dale, Jim DeLine, and the entire Team PHYSEDagogy (Adam Howell, Naomi Hartl, Jonathan Jones, Matt Pomeroy, Sarah G-H, Collin Brooks & Jorge Rodriguez).

As always, the most important people at the PE & Sport Institute are the participants – you! This is your opportunity to learn from others, share your own ideas, and have a great time meeting new colleagues and getting together with your teaching and coaching friends in a warm and inviting setting. Earn 15 hours CEU credits. Learn more by visiting our website and also watch film of previous keynoters including George Graham and Jean Blaydes. Don’t miss this fantastic learning opportunity. Register now and join us in July in Asheville, NC for what is guaranteed to be a highlight of your summer.

Activities for Improving Balance

Balance is often an overlooked skill to practice unless teaching or coaching gymnastics, the very young, or students who have disabilities that effect mobility.  But maintaining and improving balance is essential for all students and should be a regular part of any PE, Adapted PE, or sports program.  Adding a few balance skills during warmup takes little time and benefits other activities.  For students with balance deficits, more time, emphasis, and practice can be allocated to improve balance. Some of these suggested activities and techniques will not only help improve balance but also athletic performance.

Balance Defined and Explained

Balance can be defined as an even distribution of weight that enables someone or something to remain upright while remaining stable and achieving equilibrium.  In general, there are three main elements that help in achieving balance:

Countdown to #PEInstitute17: The “New PE” & Our “New PE Teachers”

Three years ago, I had the pleasure to invite some of my favorite elementary physical education friends to share the center stage at the 2014 National Physical Education Institute. Included were three of the biggest names in our business – Dr. George Graham, Dr. Bob Pangrazi, and Jean Blaydes. Rounding out this trio were three younger professionals –  Dr. Guy Le Masurier, Baker Harrell, and a young third year physical education teacher from Canada – Joey Feith (pronounced “fight”).

Each of the keynotes were web-streamed live for the broader physical education community to watch.  Bob Pangrazi ended up with a huge number of off-site viewers (5,900+), Jean was next (5,200+), and George and Guy each had 1,500+ views.  Baker, our lone non-PE person had less than 500 views.  However, Baker’s keynote was probably the most insightful and provided us (in my humble opinion) with what really needs to happen to make physical education a “cause-to-action” in the United States.

The top view-getter turned out to be the youngest person there – third year teacher Joey Feith (now at 6,400+ views).   Think about this for a moment, 6,400+ views is more than the total number of attendees at this year’s SHAPE America Convention in Boston.  Even if there wasn’t any snow!  So what does this mean?  To me, this means that we have entered an entirely new way to be connected to our craft – the Internet!

Concussion in Sports: A Personal Commentary

Without question the most controversial subject in sports today is concussion risk and awareness.  This is particularly true for youth sports.  Lots of information is already in the mainstream regarding the effects of concussions, its direct sports related causes, and the preventive measures that are already in use and in development.  For readers who are physical educators or coaches I imagine that you are already very familiar with this topic and knowledgeable about the effects and causes of sports related concussions.  My commentary here will focus on my experiences and current opinions regarding the measures we are now seeing in sports.

Over my fifty plus years in sports, from my playing days and throughout my coaching and administrative years, I’ve witnessed concussions in several sports. As a high school basketball player I saw one of my teammates get undercut while rebounding and hitting the back of his head on the floor with a such huge boom that the packed crowd went deathly silent. When I was young basketball coach, one of my players collided with another player while going for a loose ball.  Our player was immediately knocked out and suffered a short burst of convulsions while on the floor.  As a soccer coach I witnessed the worst concussion incident in my entire career.  One of our players, while going up into the air to head a ball backwards, collided heads with an opposing player trying to head the ball forward.  Our player immediately went to the ground and began convulsing. It was a most horrible site indeed, but happily the player recovered nicely.

I coached football for more than twenty years and we likely had players receive concussions, but I really can’t recall one of our players experiencing a serious concussion.  I strongly believe that the reason for this is that we taught both tackling and blocking with the shoulder and strongly urged players to keep their head up when tackling or making any kind of contact with opponents.