Time to Train the Next You!


Time to Train the Next You!

by Dennis A. Johnson, EdD

I work with personnel from the Institute for the Study of Youth Sport at Michigan State University to deliver the NWCA Leadership Academy at the annual summer wrestling convention. This program is designed to educate collegiate coaches on how to develop and utilize CEO skills to manage their programs. Hopefully, the more educated college coaches become in the areas of communication, program promotion, safety, ethics, fund-raising, and promoting educational values; the more our sport will evolve and grow. As a facilitator in that program, I was surprised to learn that a large number of coaches even at the highest level have never been enrolled in a coaching foundation class or participated in a coaching education/certification program.

Coaches have been recently listed as the most important influence on young athletes in a recent survey by the United States Anti-Doping Agency (2011). Therefore, experienced high school coaches should take it upon themselves and work to help mentor and educate our next generation of coaches. Coaches might encourage newly-recruited coaches in their programs who do not possess a physical education teaching degree or some type of coaching certification enroll in the National Federation of High School’s coaching programs. Specifically, the Fundamentals of Coaching course delivers research-based content in the areas of training, rest and recovery, hydration, growth and development, and philosophy development. However, possibly the most important topic for a scholastic wrestling program is that of educational athletics, in other words learning to become a transformational coach and emphasizing the teaching of life skills. The cost for the course ranges by state, e.g., North Carolina is $35 while coaches in Pennsylvania will pay $50. Also, in some states such as North Carolina all new hires in public schools must take and pass the course in order to coach.

The NHFS also offers a wrestling-specific on-line course entitled Coaching Wrestling: Sport Specific Course which was developed by the NWCA. It offers information on risk management and the very basic tactical-technical aspects of wrestling. This course would be of special interest to new coaches who have limited knowledge in the tactical-technical aspects of wrestling.

The research is pretty clear that coaches who participate in and complete some type of coaching education program that emphasizes educational coaching and the development of life skills have a much higher retention rate from one year to the next. In one study Little League coaches who participated in a coaching education program had only a 5% dropout rate from one year to the next compared to a control group whose dropout rate was 29% (2). So, experienced high school coaches should approach this season with the intention of training the next YOU by introducing future coaches to a coaching education program.

“Find a way and make it happen”….dj




  1. U.S. Anti-Doping Agency. (2011). What sport means in America: A study of sport’s role in society. Journal of Coaching Education, 4, 2-27.
  2. Barnett, N.P., Smoll, F.L., & Smith, R E. (1992). Effects of enhancing the coach-athlete relationships on youth sport attrition. The Sport Psychologist, 6, 111-127.

NWCA Sport Blog
High School Coaches: Time to Train the Next YOU!
Dennis A. Johnson, EdD

Associate Professor-Jamestown Community College (SUNY)
Former wrestling coach & author of Wrestling Drills for the Mat and Mind

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