Coaching High School Athletes Today

May 7, 2014

As I observe today’s high school athletes, I realize it is quite a different world from the one I retired from in the late 1990’s.  I still help out with track, so I see some of the things coaches deal with on a day-to-day basis that were non-existent 15 or so years ago.  The most common one is the use of electronic devices.  Not only do the coaches have all of these at their disposal, but the athletes usually can match or outdo their coaches.  I don’t remember ever watching one athlete video another athlete at practice.  This is a common thing today.

You also are coaching a much more sophisticated athlete.  When I first started coaching, the athlete didn’t question the techniques a coach taught them.  Today, if they don’t agree with you, they will go home and look something up on the Internet and challenge you with that at the next practice.  A coach not only has to go to clinics today, but they have to keep up with the latest things on the World Wide Web as well.  It becomes a juggling act as to your knowledge compared to what an athlete believes he or she has learned.

Couple this with all the distractions they have, sometimes you are lucky to get them to every practice.  They are not only out for a sport but probably have an AAU commitment and 2 or 3 other school activities they are expected to attend.  No wonder college and pro athletes have to have managers today.  They need someone just to help them keep up with their schedules.  Thank heavens high school athletes are not quite to this point.

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