High School vs Private Coaching


Just would like to pose a question to those current and former high school coaches. Do you believe that privately coached athletes should be allowed to not attend their high school track practices and instead be coached by their private coach during the track season? The reason I ask is I have heard of three athletes doing this at a local high school.


Absolutely not. Be a member of the team or not. I enter athletes into events that I have coached and that attend my practices. If they aren’t practicing with us they are accumulating unexcused absences and shortly thereafter THEIR decision will be confirmed. Never been a problem, though, at my school because we are upfront with our team expectations and policies both with the athletes and the parents.


I tend to agree. I have had kids that had private off-season coaches, and I had two different kids (one in New England and one in Iowa) about whom I sat down with their private coaches to talk about how to dovetail what they’d been doing privately with what we’d be doing as a team, but I always felt that to be on the team meant that you trained with the team. I don’t think one has to be adversarial with private coaches, but I think to have a true team, there needs to be a sense of all oars pulling together once the season begins.

I coached a year at IC Regina where we had the best high jumper in the state, and we didn’t know how to help her at all. Her private coach worked with her on the HJ and we coached her in her running events (100H/400H). I think if a HS coach recognized that they, or the staff, lacked the expertise to give the specific athlete what they needed, it would be fine to allow them to work privately on the side.


And what does it say about the program when that paid private coach of several of the athletes on the team is allowed by the coach to have influence over the daily training of his/her athletes?


Not a good move by the coach. Potentially puts the district at a liability. Additionally, if the outside coach is not certified by the state, the district could be ineligible for post-season competition. I don’t think this was the angle you were looking at, but it is the far bigger issue than whether or not competent/qualified staff members are part of the coaching program.


Has anyone been to any meets where the LM girls have competed? It looks like the LM coaching staff are just figureheads and the coaching is being done by one of the athlete’s parents. He is up and down the inside of the track. It looks like LM will do anything for a state championship. They are looking good.


If you have a problem with the coaching staff at your local school, I recommend that you discuss it starting with the coaching staff first. If unsatisfied with those conversations and a period of time has elapsed allowing for modifications discussed, then go to the AD second. Follow a similar period of time for change and if still unsatisfied, discuss with the upper administration third. Posting negative comments on a forum will not accomplish anything towards making change that will actually impact your daughter’s development and role on the team.

Now, if a parent is inside the track “coaching” during a meet, notify the meet management and that parent will be removed. But, you may want to check first whether that parent has a coaching authorization.
Search here: https://www.iowaonline.state.ia.us/boee/
They may be on staff (as a volunteer) and therefore allowed to be coaching from the inside as allowed by meet management.


Most of the smaller meets seem to allow anyone on the infield or even on the track. Maybe allow isn’t the correct term but seems impossible to police when there are hundreds of athletes and dozens of coaches and parents running around.


Even though the student may be taking classes at that particular school or home schooled,the athletic administration should have a set forth policy for participating in any of their programs whereby all athletes on the team should abide by said rules/policies and nobody allowed special concessions. I would say in the instance(s) of your inquiry, it isn’t the coaching that’s the problem but the AD’s lack of support for his/her own coaches by pandering to meddling, helicopter parents. Too bad for that school. Most coaches aren’t win-at-all cost coaches and want to do what’s best for the program as a whole before, during and after these “special” people come along. Pandering to loud mouth parents and coaches with no integrity is an administration problem that is not consistent with the IHSAA/IGHSAU mission for public school activities.

My advise for “special” people and their parents is to run unattached in competition that will allow it. They want the attention but don’t want to commit to anyone other than themselves which again is not part of the public school mission.

Also, anyone can coach a great athlete and appear to know what they are doing. Too many egos out there in front of some of these parents and knucklehead coaches that think they are the only ones that can coach great athletes. Not that all private coaches can’t coach but it’s a different thing to develop athletes from a normal/average or below average skill set to become competitive at a high level. It truly is dependent on the athletes physical, mental and emotional maturity. Often times, they don’t continue to develop beyond that maturity while others pass them by later in their athletic experience. Since many good coaches don’t get recognized for their ability to do that, they aren’t considered good coaches because they don’t have the superstar. People that believe otherwise don’t know their butt from a hole in the ground.

Again, too bad for the school, the team and the “special” kid and parent that could learn a few things about working with other people toward group goals instead of being self-centered. Maybe they will apply that skill later in life after their athletic career is over. There will be some coaches at the college level that will deal with the devil as well and they will get bit in the butt as well with these people. But it’s been my experience of working with college coaches that most aren’t interested in dealing with self centered athletes and meddling parents in their programs either.

Fire away those of you that disagree.