A Few Good People

I am writing this post today in reaction to what I am seeing today in the field. We have more certifications that ever before, more educational programs and resources than ever, yet we have less people qualified to be Athletic Development coaches. How is that? The problem is that there are not enough people who have experience or worked to gain the experience of hands on, down and dirty coaching. I do not mean supervising a weight room or personal training. I mean putting together a whole program, that incorporates all components of athletic performance. Being responsible for your athlete’s performance in the game, meet or match, having to take ownership and put your ass on the line. I run into more book smart young men and women today who think they are qualified to coach at the highest levels and yet they have NEVER coached. Let’s get real here. I am looking for a few good people who have coaching experience, I mean real coaching, little league, Pop Warner, any situation where you must organize and teach A to Z who also have the education and want to learn and grow and define the profession. I am going to post more specific criteria on the web site next week. There will be jobs for you. You must be dynamic and passionate and willing to work for peanuts. You must be willing to pay your dues. You have to live it. I am working to create jobs for people, but I cannot find enough people who are committed and willing to pay their dues to fill the jobs.


At 1/5/07, 9:52 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Vern - I completely agree with you on the point of people gaining vast academic knowledge, but being unable to design programs, relate to athletes and do actual coaching. After my playing career, I coached youth soccer for about 7 years before switching over to the athletic development side. That pure coaching experience was incredibly valuable in working with athletes and designing my programs. We are now taking on interns from a well-known university in our area and we have found that as part of their education these students should be required to coach youth sports teams to gain that experience, which would complement their academic knowledge well.
When we train, we try to touch on the psychological and technical sides of the sport to help the athletes as much as we can, but that took the experience of coaching to be developed.

Thanks for your continued work and definition of the field!

At 1/5/07, 12:25 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...


Couldn't agree with you more! The afternoons spent coaching sophomore football and friday nights spent scouting opponents were great - even essential preparation for working in athletic development. The most profound experience in coaching was working with the sophomore throwers in track under the supervison of the varsity coaches 20 years ago. And, I have always said that my best preparation was probably as a first grade teacher. Developmental processes are always step by step with each step informing the next - keepin the goal in sight and putting the person first. Nothing teaches you that like helping a 6 year old learn to read. Scouting games after coaching players also gives you the opportunity to really see how the pieces fit together. I am going on here but, even today when I work mostly with soccer players I go to practice, watch the coaching, go to the games and meet with the coaches to understand exactly what I'm seeing. I can't imagine how you could do it otherwise. I don't know how you can seperate the science from the person and the sport. Keep up the good work Vern

Tim C.

At 1/5/07, 10:36 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

What are folks suppose to do Vern? Experience is valuable but all of the experience at one place is not the answer. How many folks want to give these people an opportunity with out any/much formal background? Can a person make a living with out any certifications? Can they make a living with them? I would venture to say it is much harder to move through the ranks now with out some certifications than it was for folks in the 70's and 80's. In one sense I see it being really cool living in the back of my truck while I study under you and be your gopher but then what? I think most folks must have some formal training. Hopefully someplace they have been on the playing surface and had to go to practice everyday. Hopefully maybe their coach required them to help out with some peewee camps at the time for some experience. Hopefully when their playing days are over they had a good experience and want to give something back through coaching. Do people need to pay some dues? Yeah, but it should still be fun and rewarding regardless of the level. If you feel like you are just paying your dues until you get that big job, then you might be in it for the wrong reason. Just a few random thoughts after carrying a cattle showbarn fan with a hundred foot extension cord around a sweating gym floor to dry it so that some 3 and 4 graders could play some hoops action tonight. Oh, I was also the referee because we did not have any. It was kind of fun calling those TV timeouts so that I could go grab the fan to get the floor dry again. Other folks were pushing mops and on their knees with towels. I was even paying for the gym out of my pocket. Never could have done all that though without my formal training and day job.



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