Educating the Coach
Did you know that the average tenure of a high school or junior coach wrestling coach today is 3 to 5 years? Did you know that in some states, as many as 66% of the head high school coaches do not even work in the schools? We suspect this phenomenon has resulted primarily from the elimination of so many intercollegiate wrestling teams over the past 35 years. Historically, our intercollegiate teams served as the training grounds for developing future generations of high school, junior high, and elementary school teachers and coaches. Typically, a wrestler attended college, majored in education, competed in wrestling, and upon graduation, pursued a career in teaching/coaching. Having lost 474 intercollegiate wrestling teams since the early 1970s, is it any wonder we are faced with a shortage of the traditional teacher/coach?
Thank goodness we have people in the community who are willing to commit countless hours to coaching our young aspiring wrestlers. There are plenty of examples of these community based coaches who have enjoyed considerable success. Unfortunately, there are also many examples of community coaches who have really struggled. A specific area where many community based coaches struggle the most is with the concept of “educationally based athletics”. Most traditional teacher-coaches are familiar with this concept through their training as a teacher/educator. However, it is not necessarily something you would learn as a doctor, lawyer, carpenter, etc.
By referring to “educationally based athletics”, I am referring to the concept of teaching very important life lessons through participation in sport. Lessons such as sportsmanship, integrity, teamwork, and leadership are all central to the educationally based athletic concept. At the youth, junior high, and high school levels, the overwhelming majority of participants are average in skill. Too much focus on winning, particularly with a team with average talent, will result in conflict and in some cases, ugly conflict. Coaches should never forget that their words are very powerful and in many instances, can make or break a wrestler.
For this reason, the NWCA has collaborated with the National Federation of state High School Associations (NFHS) to develop an online Fundamentals of Coaching Wrestling course that is uniquely designed for any novice middle school or high school coach (less than 5 years of experience or no head coaching experience. This course is turn key and provides the coach with just about everything he needs to conduct a successful program. It takes about 2 hours to complete and is offered for 3 continuing education unit credits (about 30 clock hours). For more information, please go to coaching development webpage.