Program Orientation for High School Sport Coaches
The National Association for Sport and Physical Education (NASPE) believes that prior to the start of each season, all high school head coaches, assistant coaches, and volunteer coaches should be required to participate in a comprehensive orientation to the sport program. This orientation should be planned and conducted by the athletic director or individual who has administrative responsibility for the overall sport program and monitors coaches’ compliance with all school, program, and state association policies. This orientation is not a replacement for the need for coaching education, certification, and ongoing professional development.
The orientation guidelines provided below assume that all coaches hired by the school have appropriate background, preparation, and credentials to coach in their specified sport(s), as defined by the National Standards for Sport Coaches (NASPE, In Press), and that there are regular meetings between the athletic director and coaches.
A comprehensive program orientation for high school sport coaches should include the following elements:
Introduce all sport program staff to one another (e.g., coaches, athletic trainers, team physicians, administrative personnel). Introduce other school administrators and support staff as appropriate.
Provide, review, and discuss the philosophies, policies, and expectations of the school, sport program, and state association. Provide and discuss the school and program’s athletes’ code of conduct.
Provide and discuss the school and program’s coaches’ code of conduct, and require each coach to sign an agreement that he or she will abide by it during his or her coaching tenure.
Provide and discuss athlete eligibility guidelines and discuss the rules and procedures for monitoring and enforcing the guidelines. Discuss how this information will be provided to the athletes and their parents (e.g., by the coach or athletic director).
Discuss the reasons and procedures for removing or suspending a player from practice, a game/meet, or the team.
Provide information and discuss the roles of the coach and athletic director in college recruiting guidelines. In addition, discuss the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA)/National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA)/National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) and state association rules and regulations regarding recruiting to ensure that athletes are treated fairly by prospective colleges and universities and will not lose their eligibility to participate on college and university sport teams. Discuss how to assist athletes and their parents in understanding the rules and processes.
Discuss the components of privacy issues related to personal health information (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act - HIPAA).
Discuss the school and program’s safety policies and procedures.
Provide and discuss the school and program’s emergency medical procedures, paperwork, and notification responsibilities. Discuss the roles of the program’s National Athletic Trainers’ Association (NATA) certified athletic trainer, team physician, and athletic director in the event of an emergency.
Discuss liability issues and insurance coverage for coaches.
Discuss requirements regarding a pre-participation physical and insurance coverage for athletes.
Inform all coaches about their responsibilities regarding the purchase, storage, maintenance, and inventory of equipment.
Inform all coaches about their responsibilities regarding facility maintenance and operations. Discuss the roles of the coach, athletic director, and maintenance staff.
Discuss expectations for coaches’ communications with the athletic director about topics such as injuries and emergencies, reporting issues with parents or fans, event results, and athletes’ academic or behavioral problems. Inform coaches of all required meetings with the athletic director.
Discuss procedures for communications with athletes’ parents about all important topics including, but not limited to, program and school policies, eligibility requirements and issues, injuries and medical emergencies, practice and event schedules, college and university recruiting, parental involvement in the program, spectator behavior, etc.
Discuss the roles of the coaches and athletic director in regard to procedures for scheduling practices and events, scheduling transportation to off-site practices and events, and canceling and rescheduling practices and events.
Discuss the roles of the coaches and athletic director in regard to athlete recognition (e.g., school announcements, school newspaper, end-of-season banquet and awards).
Discuss the roles of the coaches and athletic director in communicating with school administrators (e.g., principal) and school staff (e.g., teachers).
- Inform coaches of the program and school requirements, internal and external opportunities for professional development (e.g., workshops and certifications), and the procedures for requesting permission and/or support to participate in professional development.
Discuss the procedure and roles of the coach and athletic director in developing individualized goals and objectives for each coach and sport team.
Discuss how coaches will be evaluated in pre-, regular, and post-season as it relates to the school and program philosophy, program and team goals and objectives, and coach’s performance as defined by the National Standards for Sport Coaches.
Introduce new coaches to experienced coaches and establish mentoring relationships.
National Association for Sport and Physical Education. (In Press). National standards for sport coaches. Reston, VA: Author.
Alberts, C. L. (2003). Coaching issues & dilemmas: Character building through sport participation. Reston, VA: National Association for Sport and Physical Education.
Dougherty, N. J. (2002). Physical activity and sport for the secondary school student (5th ed.). Reston, VA: National Association for Sport and Physical Education.
Dougherty, N. J. (2002). Principles of safety in physical education and sport (3rd ed.). Reston, VA:
National Association for Sport and Physical Education.
National Association for Sport and Physical Education. (In Press).
National standards for sport coaches. Reston, VA: Author.
National Association for Sport and Physical Education. (2001). Coaching education: Designing quality programs. Reston, VA: Author.
National Interscholastic Athletic Administrators Association. (). A guide for college-bound student athletes and their parents. Reston, VA: Author.
The Coaches Code of Conduct http://www.aahperd.org/naspe/pdf_files/pos_papers/coaches.pdf
Rights and Responsibilities of Interscholastic Athletes http://www.aahperd.org/naspe/pdf_files/pos_papers/RightandResponsibilities.pdf
Coaching the Parents http://www.aahperd.org/naspe/pdf_files/pos_papers/Coachingtheparents.pdf
Parents’ and Coaches’ Guide to Dehydration and Other Heat Illnesses in Children http://www.aahperd.org/naspe/pdf_files/FINALparent-coach.pdf
Sexual Harassment in Athletic Settings http://www.aahperd.org/naspe/pdf_files/pos_papers/sex-harr.pdf
Guidelines on Lightening Safety http://www.aahperd.org/naspe/pdf_files/pos_papers/guidelines_lightning. pdf
Reprinted with the permission of the American Alliance for Health, Physical Education, Recreation and Dance.
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