Posted at 6:00am -- 8/7/2011 GBMWolverine: Coach's Corner -- Michigan ..."/> Posted at 6:00am -- 8/7/2011 GBMWolverine: Coach's Corner -- Michigan ..."/>

GBMWolverine: Coach’s Corner — Michigan Football — Preparation for Entering the Coaching World


Posted at 6:00am — 8/7/2011

GBMWolverine: Coach’s Corner — Michigan Football — Preparation for Entering the Coaching World

In times past, coaching preparation was a simple situation; a prospective coach completed a degree in teacher preparation, likely taking some coaching courses along the way, and applied at a chosen school district. This still happens, but many districts struggle to fill coaching spots and even some head coaching spots are contracted to “outsiders” who are not employed as educators within the system.

Why so, is a logical question. Teaching duties makes up the bulk of a young coach’s salary, with coaching providing a minimum return regarding time to money ratio. Some young beginning coaches make a few hundred to a few thousand dollars for coaching duties that may equate into hundreds of hours of real time investment. By equating the time served to a per hour rate, beginning assistant coaches at the middle school or high school level may make less than minimum wage. Head coaches at lower levels, most of which worked up the same ladder of salary, sacrifice, and success, make considerably more, but still have no qualms of getting rich.

A young coach may spend a few years working to get up the ladder of success, only to find obstacles that may steer the coach away from the profession causing a potential shortage for the high school and middle school levels.

These obstacles reflect real life drama and may include negativism from the parents, players, or community members, minimal talent or resources within a particular district, changes in family situation and the needed decision for prioritizing coaching versus family, the need to take a better paying second job, or a failure to technically advance coaching skills through lack of time, ability, effort, or institutional shortcomings (providing little or no opportunity for growth or advancing the young coach’s knowledge base).

And so as a result of the jeering, lack of appreciation, realization that the time spent will not yield the money deserved, perceived failure or incompetence, or other causes, the young coach exits, leaving a void for a district to fill with another young teacher-coach who must be assimilated within the district (tougher to pull off these days) or an outsider.

The world of the college or professional football and basketball coach is much different. Salaries now range into the millions for head coaches, and assistants at big time schools receive salaries in the six or seven figure range. The same can be stated about major professional sports. Many in the two worlds above have taught little (a few years starting off perhaps) or not at all in a classroom setting, but these coaches are teachers, just of a different nature.

Small colleges do not pay well at all, with many assistant coaches earning an income that is significantly below public school teaching wages. If these coaches do not advance to bigger schools and bigger salaries, they frequently leave for another profession or enter back into the high school teaching/coaching pool.

The discussion below about various preparation necessities is directed mainly at the middle school and high school coach. As stated above, frequently the college or professional coach skips traditional preparation (some do not and were education majors) and enters coaching based on college or professional player status and connections. That is not to say those not formally prepared cannot coach.

Coaching by nature is very interdisciplinary, and so preparation involves a variety of areas that may be important for future coaching success. But at the time a young coach is taking preparation courses for coaching, the realization that a golden opportunity for future success is present may not be fully understood or implemented.

Playing for a master coach and learning from a master coach through professional preparation are advantages not readily available to many. This is why pedigree trees mean so much in college and professional coaching hires.

With the background for professional preparation for coaches put forth, the discussion turns to the tenets that are universal in nature. The degree that coaching candidates are exposed to and given a high level of proficiency in these base tenets can, to a large degree, determine eventual coaching success. There are of course many other factors in coaching success, namely, the proficiency of the combined staff, talent, and certainly hard work. But below are the foundational stones where proficiency can separate poor to excellent.

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Written by GBMWolverine Staff

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