May 6, 2020 • Coaching

Covering the coach’s duties

If only coaches could solely focus on teaching the fundamentals of their sport, scouting and developing a game plan for opponents, and making decisions on strategy and player motivation during competition.

Unfortunately, there’s much more to coaching than this, especially in today’s world of college and high school athletics. Athletic directors understand this, and that’s why most have created a coaches handbook that they update and review with coaches before the start of a season.

coachesIf you’re reviewing your coaches’ handbook or creating one for the first time, here are items to make sure you cover. These tips come from David Paling, former director of athletics, health and physical education at Middleboro Public Schools in Massachusetts. 

  1. Coaches are responsible for the planning and delivery of daily practices, which include sport-specific fundamentals and techniques, formations and strategies, positioning, rules, conditioning, and safety. 
  2. Coaches are responsible for staying current with changes and trends in their sport through college courses, participation in clinics, and professional interaction with fellow coaches. It’s easy to become entrenched in doing the same thing for years. Professional development is just as critical for the new coach whose repertoire of skills and overall knowledge may be limited. 
  3. Coaches are responsible for all paperwork, which includes completing and submitting all local, league, and state requests for information, in accordance with established timelines and procedures. Throughout the course of the season, coaches have a lot of forms to process and numerous deadlines to meet, from eligibility paperwork to game schedules.
  4. Coaches are responsible for the supervision of all team members, beginning with their arrival in the locker room prior to the start of practices or games, and ending when the last student-athlete has met with transportation home.
  5. Coaches are responsible for enforcing compliance with all rules in both the student-athlete, conference, or state handbooks. They are also responsible for establishing and maintaining specific team rules and taking appropriate disciplinary measures when necessary.
  6. Coaches are responsible for the continuous promotion and publicity of their sport by working with the media and parents. They also should be involved in school-sponsored endeavors such as spirit week, the school newspaper, yearbook, and program booklets. Promoting student-athletes and their accomplishments will yield nothing but positives for the athletic department, plus it helps attract newcomers to the fan base and keeps alumni connected with the school. 
  7. Coaches are responsible for emphasizing student-athlete welfare, including the areas of drug and alcohol use, sportsmanship, hazing, academic eligibility, and concussion protocol. 
  8. Coaches are responsible for actively assisting student-athletes in achieving their college acceptance or post-education goals. Coaches should write references for athletes upon request, for both the college entrance application and the college coach if that athlete is interested in playing at the next level. 
  9. Coaches will interact positively with coaches of other sports, and work to promote the best interests of all student-athletes at all times. Coaches understand they are all striving toward a common good within their athletic department and need to support one another.
  10. Coaches are responsible for maintaining all applicable safety standards with regard to student-athletes, fields, facilities, equipment, and training as a matter of routine, and to conform with athletic department general injury/training procedures and emergency medical procedures, as well as state laws governing the care of student-athletes with concussions. 
  11. Coaches are responsible for meeting with parents during the preseason. Coaches should address the following in their preseason meetings: concussion protocol, required paperwork, team rules, alcohol and drug abuse, hazing, transportation policies, injury procedures, and general philosophy.
  12. Coaches are responsible for their personal conduct and player conduct during all practices and games. Since coaches serve as role models for young people and are representatives of our school, they must exemplify the highest standards of conduct at all times. 

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