Best Careers for Teachers: Coaching Athletes And Others (page 2)
When you were working in the public school system, did you have a colleague who somehow got drafted into being the sports coach along with teaching regular classes? A large number of high school coaches are teachers who were asked to coach—or, actually, sometimes coaches who were asked to teach. The two professions definitely seem to go hand-in-hand.
Applying Your Teaching Skills to Coaching
It is understandable why the two jobs are often combined. After all, being a good coach utilizes many of the same qualities and skill sets as being a good teacher. Chances are if you are hired to be the school's coach, you may well also be the PE, or gym, teacher. Be sure to ask about that during your initial job interview so it doesn't come as a surprise down the line. Now, let's look at what questions you might want to think about before taking this career route.
- "Coaching is unlocking a person's potential to maximize their own performance. It is helping them to learn, rather than teaching them."
—John Whitmore, Coaching for Performance
What Is Your Personal Experience with Sports? Which Ones?
Have you played sports as long as you can remember? Have you been a member of either a school team or an outside organization? Are you familiar with team dynamics and the drama that can ensue when a group of athletic, competitive people are put together in a big group? Reading about sports and watching endless games on television or even in the stands is important, but personally knowing what it feels like to be in the game is far more relevant. The more you have experienced, the better coach you are likely to be.
How Much Do You Know about Motivating Others?
One of the biggest parts of being a good coach is knowing how to motivate each player to do his or her best, whether to hit the ball harder or further, or run just a little bit faster. These are the same skills you used in the classroom as you encouraged your students to try harder, study longer, or listen more closely.
How Do You Handle Disciplining Your Team or Players?
Perhaps you relate coaching with an image of the angry sideline "cheerleader," screaming after every play and reminding players of what they've done wrong in an often humiliating way. This may work well for some teams and coaches, but most probably not with many. Are you familiar with different ways of discipline and motivation that you could apply as a coach? Are you willing to research them?
Can You Spot a Potential Athlete? Do You Know What to Do with a Former Superstar Who Is Struggling?
One of the best skills a coach can develop is the ability to look at young people and spot the most likely to be the star basketball player or the fastest runner. This one has a great arm; that one has an amazing kick. Scouting for new players is an integral part of the job. At the same time, you have to be able to help the other players who may be struggling to improve their game. You will need to develop realistic goals for each person, as well as create drills and practices that will improve everyone's abilities. It is a lot like creating lesson plans, but with a higher emphasis on individuality.
How Do You Respond to Competition?
Do you enjoy competing? Almost more important (because it's much tougher), how do you feel about losing? It is important that you provide your athletes and/or team with a good role model in the face of losses. One of the most vital lessons that anyone should learn when playing any sport is the element of good sportsmanship.
What other responsibilities will you have as a coach? You will need to:
- teach the basics of multiple sports
- develop winning game strategies
- select, purchase, and store necessary sports equipment, materials, and supplies
- work irregular hours and be at games on weeknights and weekends
- be available to your athletes/team members when they need you
- teach elements of form, techniques, endurance, and skills
- join school sports associations
- represent the school during intramural competitions
- direct team strategies and call out your recommended plays during games
- "Many coaches are afraid to pick who they want to coach. They worry that they are walking away from something, such as a missed opportunity or potential clients. They worry that they are being too narrow or limiting by specializing. What you really walk away from is an unproductive strategy. You cannot coach the whole world successfully."
—Deborah Brown-Volkman, Four Steps to Building a Profitable Coaching Practice
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