Tuesday, April 12, 2011

PREP TRACK Private coaches make their way into track and field arena sparking debate

Interesting article about private coaching of Track and Field athletes:

Should athletes on your track and field team be able to work with private coaches?  Are there situations where this is ok?  Thoughts?


Anonymous said...

"In the North County," he said, "the more affluent communities seem to think that something is only valuable for track instruction when it's paid for."

That comment is so true... Just because you pay the private coach does not make them better. But just because you are a "coach" doesn't mean you know all either.

I agree...do all you want in the off season and Sundays. The other 6 days you are on the team or not, good or bad.

I heard one private coach complain to the athlete and tell them to not run so hard in the relay because it "burns them out" and the need to save their energy for the 100. Conflicting coaches, parents, etc. private or not doesn't work.

hank said...

Tom Lux. There's a name I haven't heard since my San Diego State days. A great distance runner and I'm sure a very cool/great coach.

I agree with some aspects of the story. If the school can't provide a coach then private is the way to go (especially with the Pole Vault), but if they CAN provide the coach... then let 'em coach - that's why the school hired 'em, isn't it?


Peter Brewer said...

Private coaches -- thorny subject. At worst a cancer, a tumor, a blight, a divisive team-wrecking entity from the bottomless pit. At best, another assistant coach (albeit a bit detached).

The private coaches who insinuate themselves into a track program as the expert, but are not willing to work with ordinary athletes or novices, need to be tossed out with the rest of the garbage. These are the vultures and the ego-driven predators.

Then there are the ones with the true passion for the sport who just want to improve some kid (or kids), and also respect the head coach's position and the overall team concept. These are the best.

The money issue also clouds the picture. There will always be families who judge the quality of instruction by the amount of money paid to the instructor. In these cases, the parents are as culpable as the vultures who prey upon them and their gullibility. However, a person's labor has value and if the deal is struck then there is the contractural agreement of guided practice and instruction in return for payment.

Clearly a case can be made for outside instruction filling in a gap where the school program does not provide specific coaching. Yes, the vault comes to mind, as does the high jump and perhaps do the other jumps and throws. Where care needs to be taken is when a speciality coach comes in and in essence removes the athlete from the team only to "loan" him or her back at various times. This subverts the whole idea of the team effort and dilutes the high school track experience.

I myself have volunteered time for athletes to come and do some high jumping while I watch and comment. However, I talk with the coach first and make sure that the arrangement is okay with the coaching staff, the family, and the kid.

Sure, parents want their kids to have the best chance for success, but paying the private coach is not a guarantee of providing that best chance. My recommendation, for what it is worth, is to remember that the school coach is the one who puts a uniform on the kid, and that kid represents that school and that program. If outside coaching promotes all of that, then there is a chance it is a positive situation. Otherwise it opens the door for argumentation, fragmented focus, possessive adults squabbling over a kid, and other uncivilized unpleasantries.

Peter Brewer
Northgate High

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