Over the years, as an education student, teacher, and coach, I’ve been asked to write my teaching and coaching philosophies many times. The exercise is a good time to reflect and ensure that what I’m doing in practice resonates with what I want to do as a coach. While professors like to assign students to write a 3-5 page paper on their coaching philosophy, I’ve come to the conclusion that the simpler the better as it is much easier and useful to use as a guidepost. My current coaching philosophy encompasses three points.
1. Be athletic
2. Have fun
3. Promote the sport
Obviously the key indicator for coaches in any sport at any level is the success of the team. In track and field, we are judged by how well our athletes place in conference, state, and national meets. I believe if you take care of these three keys, success on the field will follow.
Obviously to be an athlete, one should be athletic. This could mean that every athlete on the team needs to meet certain standards such as scoring a specific point total in the quadrathlon, or hitting certain lifting numbers. However, most athletes are always striving to be better and whether they are given specific standards or not, they are constantly striving to improve themselves.
Sometimes we forget that track and field as well as all other sports are games that at their core are leisure activities that are meant to be fun and engaging for those competing and watching. As a coach I know that athletes will work much harder when they are having fun and ultimately perform better.
Promote the Sport
Track and field is a rare sport that allows competitors of all ages. I want my athletes to continue in the sport after their four years of college are done. Whether that is as an athlete, coach, or as a volunteer at meets, it is important that athletes have a positive experience and go on to promote our sport for the rest of their lives. Many of us involved in track and field like to complain about the media coverage and the waning public interest in the sport. One of the simplest ways to counteract this is to ensure that our athletes have a positive experience in the sport and whether they continue in it or not, they can appreciate it.
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