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.

Principles and Axioms for a Productive Off-season Conditioning Program—Organization and Planning

This is the first of a three-part series on planning, developing and implementing a successful and productive off-season conditioning program for interscholastic sports programs.  A previous article, “Principles and Axioms for Effective Coaching of Fitness and Conditioning” shared some basic principles of fitness training that you may want to look at as a prerequisite.

The purpose of this series of articles is to give coaches the specific tools to develop a sound, scientifically-based conditioning program that will encourage high participation and yield quality results. Each article in the series will focus on three essentials for a highly productive conditioning program.  These three essentials are 1) Organization and Planning, 2) Efficiency, and 3) Effectiveness.  After each article you will have specific tools that can be used to implement and measure each of the essentials. This first installment will be on the essential trait of Organization and Planning.

“The better your organization and planning, the greater will be your results.”

Becoming an Effective Coach: It’s a Developmental Process

In any professional career, people frequently strive to achieve a level of excellence where they’re considered experts or at least highly effective in their chosen field of work (Nunn, 2008). The world of sport is no different, although determining whether or not coaches are effective and their subsequent hiring or firing is frequently assessed by win-loss records.

But being considered an effective coach should not only be defined solely or even predominantly by a head coach’s win-loss record. Becoming effective is a developmental process that takes time and involves much more than just game scores. Watching 10-time national champion, legendary Hall of Fame, and former UCLA men’s basketball head coach John Wooden during practices, Tharp and Gallimore (1976) found that he spent 50.3% of his time teaching his athletes the fundamental skills of basketball. Consistent with the concept of pursuing teaching & coaching mastery, Wooden spent half his time instructing his athletes (Nater & Gallimore, 2010).

A Coaching Case Study
This article highlights the complex experiences and thoughts of an effective female NCAA Division III (DIII) head women’s volleyball coach as her career developed. The information comes from a larger study on the development of effective coaches at the DIII level. The effective coaches in the study were identified as those who currently serve as head coaches of a DIII team sport, five-plus years of experience as a head coach at his or her current DIII institution, a career winning percentage of .500-plus, and peer recognition such as coach of the year (Gilbert, Côté, & Mallett, 2006).

Your Legacy Starts Today! Don’t wait!

When you happen to meet a former student out in public, do you ever wonder what is going through their mind? What do they remember from you and your classes? Does what they now remember after having you as their teacher match what you wanted them to learn from you?

In short, what do you want your legacy to be? Here’s a hint: Don’t wait. Your legacy starts now! Whether you are a new teacher or not so new, and whether you want it to or not, your legacy is under construction!  All of us should be asking ourselves, “What do we want our former students to take from their experiences in our classes?”

What I encourage you to think about is not whether you were “popular” with your former students or they viewed you as their “friend.” But rather, what’s the most important thing you want them to remember from their time with you? Is it a certain set of skills? A particular attitude? Knowledge? Or something completely different?

Youth Coach Development: Learn, Connect, and Support

There is a strong movement in the United States to improve youth sport. Non-profit organizations such as the Positive Coaching Alliance (PCA), Right to Play, Changing the Game, Proactive Coaching, and many others are promoting a positive culture change in sport through coach development, parent education, and youth sport guidelines.  This movement also extends to professional sport organizations: Major League Baseball (MLB) created the RBI program or Reviving Baseball Inner City to increase “…young people’s interest and participation in baseball and softball by re-introducing, reviving and rebuilding America’s pastime in underserved communities” (MLB Community, 2017).

Copyright 2015 NBAE (Photo by Tom O'Connor/NBAE via Getty Images)
Copyright 2015 NBAE (Photo by Tom O’Connor/NBAE via Getty Images)

Additionally, several sport governing bodies have created programs designed to grow the game and create opportunities for young people. USA Football for example, operates FUNdamentals Clinics to introduce young athletes to the basic skills of the sport.  This collective effort by sport organizations is based on a grassroots mindset that focuses on the participation and developmental aspect of youth sports (Good Governance…, 2013)

Recently, I had the opportunity to participate in a USA Basketball Youth Development Coaching Academy as an attendee and speaker.  The Coaching Academy is a clinic for basketball coaches, where a line-up of speakers share insight on a variety of topics related to teaching the game, connecting with athletes, and dealing with off-court issues. Attendees also have the opportunity to become licensed USA Basketball coaches.

Created as a division of USA Basketball in 2013, the Youth Development Division is charged with developing young people and coaches to grow the game of basketball. The Coaching Academy is only one part of the Youth Development Division’s mission. They host regional youth camps, youth clinics, a national youth tournament, and an open court program (USA Basketball, 2017).  All events follow best practices for a positive and healthy youth sport experience, as outlined by the Youth Basketball Guidelines (NBA, 2017). Recognizing the significance of the coach in growing and developing youth through sport, USA Basketball offers organizational accreditation, coach licensing, and multiple coach academies (USA Basketball, 2017).

2018 National PE & School Sport Institute Bloggers Wanted!

Thanks! First of all, we would like to thank the 400 folks who attended the 2017 National PE & School Sport Institute this summer.  We were overwhelmed to have such a large group of terrific participants representing 37 different states and 10 foreign countries.  Many thanks to everyone who was able to attend, participate or present, and for sharing your insights with all of us!

Mark Your Calendars! The 2018 dates have been set for July 23-25, 2018. As always, we will gather on the beautiful, hill-top campus of the University of North Carolina Asheville during this time.  We are very fortunate to have all of the many unique and special tourist attractions that the City of Asheville affords as a comfortable backdrop for this annual summer event.