The Road to Hell is Paved with Good Intentions

As a long time high school coach (some people say that I coached Ponce de Leon and Pedro Menendez), I have used that expression ad infinitum. It is usually in reference to a youngster who wants to run too many miles, or one who goes out too fast in a race in an attempt to beat a superior opponent. In recent years, the expression seems to fit more and more parents who want the best for their young athlete, but in reality end up creating a negative situation.

I’m specifically referring to parents hiring an outside coach for their young runner because they think that the coach at their child’s school is not pushing their child hard enough, or simply that their child is not progressing to the parent’s satisfaction under the school coach’s tutelage.

This seems to be prevalent in schools that have an affluent student body. Some parents believe that if you are not paying a significant amount of money for instruction that it cannot have any real value. Some also fall prey to a resume that would have them believe that the hired coach is superior to the school coach.

Granted, there are many schools in the area where coaches were selected by default (“Is there anyone in here who runs? O.K., you have the job.”). AT best these people are nice, and harmlessly inept, at worst they are damaging and dangerous.

However, there are some coaches in the area who are superior in knowledge, pedagogy, work ethic, and most importantly, CARING, about the well-being of their charges. These coaches are EASILY IDENTIFIABLE in the community.

When parents bring in a “supplemental” coach, at best it creates confusion, and at worst, a disaster. Visualize two doctors, independent of each other, treating and prescribing for a patient. Visualize two pharmacists, independent of each other, filling prescriptions for the patient. Visualize two engineers, independent of each other, working on the same bridge. It cannot work, to say nothing of being an insult to the team coach, and potential disruption to the team morale (and TEAM is the most important).

Middle and high school runners need to be “eased” into their running careers. They need to be taught proper habits (war-up and cool-down, etc.). They need to be taught a proper appreciation of the history of the sport. They need to learn the basics of the principles of training. And, most importantly, they need to be trained by ONE person. To reiterate: they competent (superior?) coaches in the area are EASILY IDENTIFIABLE!

Oftentimes, the “supplemental” coaches can indeed create a leap in performance. Anyone can throw a bunch of intervals at an athlete, and show a quick spike in performance. Usually this is akin to glugging one of those caffeine-laced energy drinks available today, with the resultant “spike,” and the subsequent “crash.”

The (competent) school coach has a long term plan. There is no “quick fix,” or immediate gratification in the sport of running. The (competent) school coach is cognizant of all the peripheral influences of an adolescent athlete. For example, the female triad, academic load, high school “romances,” anticipation of upcoming homecoming activities, team rivalries/jealousies, etc. And the coach is able to factor in these environmental influences into the plan. The “supplemental” coach is not usually privy to all of the influences on the adolescent mind and emotions (hormones?).

Parents, of course, are the ultimate “deciders” of what is best for their child, and any school coach would have to defer to the wishes of the parent. However, it would probably (and should probably) preclude that child’s participation on the school team.

The competent (and caring) coach would know full well the potential disaster of “too many cooks stirring the broth,” and would not want to endanger the child. The “supplemental” coach SHOULD know of all the potential negatives, and if legitimate, should decline to be the extra “cook.” The fact that they do not, indicates an agenda NOT in the best interests of all concerned.

They won’t starve, as there are plenty of adult runners for them to ply their trade on that are not members of any school team. Then again, these “supplemental” coaches, if pure in their stated intentions of helping young people, could easily obtain an adjunct position at many of the high schools in the area. After their BACKGROUND CHECKS, DRUG TESTS, CPR TRAINING, AND PAYING OF THE NUMEROUS FEES, many schools would be ecstatic to have them.

They could proceed to recruit (within the school, of course) athletes, create training plans for a multitude of youngsters with widely varying abilities, process the physicals and parent permission forms, check academic eligibility, find an appropriate course to stage a meet on, recruit dozens of volunteers to help at the meets they host, create a schedule, raise money, issue and collect uniforms, design team t-shirts, beg for time in the weight room, arrange for transportation and hotel rooms for overnight trips, and, of course, collect those pricey sums doled out by their athletic departments for their efforts (25, may 50 cents per hour?). But then again, we know that these “supplemental” coaches are just in it for the kids, just like the school coaches.

The road to hell was paved in good intentions!

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  • gpc3 / 2 Years Ago
    While I fully respect Coach Nowicki as one of the (very!) competent and caring school coaches, I'm afraid he over-estimates just how many there are. The 'average' school coach is not as competent (or caring!) as the 'average' private coach, so there's the dilemma for the parent. Do they settle for 'average' if their child is obviously above-average? If they have the resources, they typically don't. There are plenty of school coaches who grossly under- AND over-train their athletes. Private coaches almost always work out an individual plan for his/her athletes, but far too many school coaches just send everyone out on the same run.

    I'm not saying there aren't many cases where the private coach is NOT as good as the school coach, but yes, there are also many times where the private coach is substantially better than the school coach.

    There's more to this issue than meets the eye.
  • CoachRaposo / 2 Years Ago
    @gpc3 From a general point of view, yes. With an anecdotal viewpoint, this argument could go back and forth, but in the vast majority of circumstances, I'd argue that the private 'coaches' are doing more damage than good.

    What's missing here is that private coaches only seek out top tiered athletes, regardless of the program they are coming from. The issue is that the majority of parents are hiring these private individuals, without knowledge of the real background of either coach, and are just going off of self-promotion from the private coach. Now compared to the top-tiered HS coaches, these individuals are fairly humble and don't walk around spouting their resume, whereas the private individuals who usually over-embellish theirs just to make that quick buck.

    On top of that, one of my favorite points that Coach Nowicki makes is "runners need to be “eased” into their running careers", through proper annual training plans and structured progression. Again, this isn't what the private coaches are concerned with. These 'coaches' don't do any real coaching, as listed in the last paragraph of the article, they're just concerned quick trick workouts to get fast results without that proper annual structure. So even in a case of a new young dedicated coach that might not have a lot of training knowledge, taking stronger athletes away from them will hurt their ability to learn and grow with that athlete as most all coaches need.

    But in any scenario, unless the coaches are working together, the training of the athlete will result in overall failure for the athlete. And because the athlete needs to compete for their HS, and train with their HS during the prescribed training season, and not for their private 'coach', the results will be negative way more often then not. This is why the majority of parents opinions on the subject don't matter, they're not coaches or running experts, they're just guessing what to do.
  • jason / 2 Years Ago
    I hate agreeing with Ryan @CoachRaposo but I totally do in this case.

    THERE ARE CLEARLY GREAT PRIVATE COACHES and there are definitely some cases where it is for the best. For example... Bobby Haeck is a GREAT pole vault coach and has done wonders for athletes. I know a kid right now who flies over regularly from The Bahamas to work with him. @gpc3 is also a great pole vault coach. There is a lack though of good pole vaulting coaches in this state. So Bobby is doing a great service and I'm pretty confident that he does everything in his power to communicate and work with the school coach.

    However, there are clearly certain private coaches who do not. They do not seek to work with school coaches. In some cases, they exaggerate or even invent things on their resume. They stalk on the hopes and aspirations of the talented athletes and their parents. Then the parents pay them for results... and so they deliver what they are paid to do: quick, tangible results. Then it is a self fulfilling prophesy... the parents are convinced of their superiority because of the quick results and then the private coach has another great athlete that they can add to their resume and pretend that they made them what they are. When really they are taking credit from years of hard work from the school coach (and the kid).

    I agree 100% with this article in the sense that it should be very obvious if you have a great school coach. Because they will be well known, have a history of successful teams and athletes, and they will be very active in the local running community. If you have one of those great coaches then what are you doing wasting your money on a private coach? They are hurting the team, hurting your kid's experience of being a part of that team, and possibly sacrificing their future for short term gains.

    If you are at a school where this doesn't apply then possibly you might want to think about a private coach on the side. Maybe think about only outside of the season directly working with them. And at very least ensure there is communication and cooperation. Many of the newer or less experienced coaches may fully realize they haven't coached an elite athlete before and you might be surprised... they might fully welcome the help.
  • adeyabo / 2 Years Ago
    Totally wrong! What you've done with this article is commit the classical logical fallacy of creating a straw man and comparing it to an ideal that doesn't exist in reality.


    This article paints with a very wide brush all none high school coaches and erroneously glorifies high school coaches.

    If your whole point of writing an article is avoid bad coaches, then just say that. And be honest and truthful about by pointing out that bad coaches exist in high schools, clubs and everywhere in between. If your whole point is to say that two captains sink a ship, then say that. And again be honest and truthful about it by pointing out that it could be the hs coach that is the problem.

    "outside" coach? Who decides who is outside and who is inside? Maybe it is the hs coach interfering with the development of the athlete that is benefiting from a personal coach.

    But the simplistic, erroneous idea that hs coach=good, none hs coach=bad is laughable.

    How do you even judge a good coach from a bad one? Not the obvious but the not so obvious.

    # of state champions, individual and team. # of state, county or other records?

    Thankfully with the internet today it should be easy to figure out who is actually a good coach, but even then talented kids can obfuscate the actual competence of a coach. I've seen plenty of hs coaches benefit from having athletes who were coached by a club coach (sort of like a private coach). The kids would set records and help win championships, but the coach had no clue.

    To address just one of you points: If a "supplemental" coach, as you term it, isn't aware of what an adolescent is dealing with, then they shouldn't be coaching, but I know plenty of hs coaches who don't take that into consideration either.

    Based on your analysis, an athlete and his parents should just accept whatever coach is at their hs because getting "outside" help, as you call it, would only hurt. Do you not see the logical fallacy here?

    Should athletes be held prisoner to their zip codes?

    Why would a personal coach automatically be bad for the team? Why couldn't a personal coach teach that too?

    If parents are paying for a bad coach then that's their fault. They should make sure they're getting results for their money or fire the coach. Which they can't do with a hs coach btw.

    Your last paragraph, although intended to insult "supplemental" coaches, actually points out the very reason why they are necessary, because of the limitations of a hs coaching situation.

    This whole article is way off base.
  • adeyabo / 2 Years Ago
    And let me say, not that it should matter, but I've been a hs coach for a decade, club coach and personal coach. I've been all three at various times, sometimes at the same time.
  • CoachRaposo / 2 Years Ago
    adeyabo
    "outside" coach? Who decides who is outside and who is inside? Maybe it is the hs coach interfering with the development of the athlete that is benefiting from a personal coach.

    You're claiming logical fallacy and then you're going to say this above statement? 'Who is to say who is outside'? The Florida High School Athletic Association and the governing bodies of HS athletics. You've got to be kidding here. If someone's intention was to compete in an AAU League as part of their youth career, they wouldn't have gotten involved in HS athletics to begin with. Private coaches seek out HS athletes for financial reasons and to feign their own resumes, don't pretend it's anything more than that.

    adeyabo
    Your last paragraph, although intended to insult "supplemental" coaches, actually points out the very reason why they are necessary, because of the limitations of a hs coaching situation. This whole article is way off base.

    @adeyabo There are no limitations to good HS coaches as pointed out in that last paragraph. That whole last paragraph points out all of the things that private coaches are too inept to do, which is why they DON'T have the position that HS coaches do. Let's not even get into the background checks and proper certifications and whatnot. Anyone who knows anything about coaching knows that this article rings 100% true, you're obviously not in that category, which speaks volumes for your coaching career.


    adeyabo
    And let me say, not that it should matter, but I've been a hs coach for a decade, club coach and personal coach. I've been all three at various times, sometimes at the same time.

    @adeyabo Of course that matters. And if you've been a private coach and a HS coach at the same time, that's pretty shady taking money from the kids you coach. Good job!



    Here we go Jason, the action starts once again!
  • KBrnnr / 2 Years Ago
    There are "Private Coaches" that coach for free. I could name a handful that have other jobs or coach at High Schools and help out kids from other schools that don't have the coaching structure needed to get to the elite level. Not all private coaches are the menace to society that Ryan thinks they are.
  • CoachRaposo / 2 Years Ago
    KBrnnr
    There are "Private Coaches" that coach for free.

    @KBrnnr Those are volunteers. That's NOT what this article is talking about. HUGE difference.
  • adeyabo / 2 Years Ago
    @CoachRaposo

    "You're claiming logical fallacy and then you're going to say this above statement? 'Who is to say who is outside'? The Florida High School Athletic Association and the governing bodies of HS athletics. You've got to be kidding here. If someone's intention was to compete in an AAU League as part of their youth career, they wouldn't have gotten involved in HS athletics to begin with. Private coaches seek out HS athletes for financial reasons and to feign their own resumes, don't pretend it's anything more than that."

    What color is the sky in the world you live in? On what planet do athletes only do hs sports and no other sports leagues outside of hs, like AAU or USATF? Apparently you are so small minded that you, like the article author, believe that hs athletics is the end all be all for students and no other form of athletic participation is appropriate.

    Your last statement is a gross exaggeration and again, just like the article, a complete generalization. I would expect such statements from a teenager, but not from an adult. All private coaches? Really? What exactly does "feign their own resume" even mean?

    "There are no limitations to good HS coaches as pointed out in that last paragraph. That whole last paragraph points out all of the things that private coaches are too inept to do, which is why they DON'T have the position that HS coaches do. Let's not even get into the background checks and proper certifications and whatnot. Anyone who knows anything about coaching knows that this article rings 100% true, you're obviously not in that category, which speaks volumes for your coaching career.

    You prove my point for me. I really shouldn't even waste my time responding to you. You speak only in generalizations and insults. You draw conclusions out of thin air and it is obvious that you are only interested in gainsaying. No limitations to good hs coaching? If you mean good coaches try to overcome limitations, that's fine, but to say there are no limitations is false. Again, this goes back to the measure of success you are using. If a girl xc runner wins states running 18:00 minutes, is that success? What if her true potential was 17:00 minutes? Perhaps she has to train in an urban setting with few opportunities for trail running or decent long runs due to the school campus setting. But, outside of school, under proper supervision, she could get the training that helps her realize her full potential. Inept? Wow. Anyone who knows anything. LOL.


    "Of course that matters. And if you've been a private coach and a HS coach at the same time, that's pretty shady taking money from the kids you coach. Good job!"

    Way to jump to conclusions there. Who said I took money from the hs kids I coached?

    This article slanders an entire profession. I am very surprised that such a mindset still exists, but I guess egos and isolated experiences will have a tremendous effect on a person's perspective.

    HS athletics are great and a necessary part of a student's overall development, but there is more to sports than just what happens with/on their hs teams. Fact of the matter is, if you look at how the US has fared internationally, it is the athletes who were privately coached (sprints, jumps, hurdles, throws) that have been successful where as the individuals that went through the common channels (hs to college to professional) have not been successful (distance), until very recently, with the advent of better training at the elite level from...private coaches! Take a look at the European and African model. They don't even have hs athletics. They are all club/private coaching.

    Ask Galen Rupp if private coaching was a detriment to his career or teams that he participated on.

    Again, you will find bad coaching in all areas, arenas, situations, etc of athletics, hs, private, club, whatever. But to basically classify one type of coach as all anything (bad or good) is just plane wrongheaded at best and malicious at worst.
  • Wolfpack / 2 Years Ago
    Normally, I am a rare, and reluctant poster. In this case, there needs to be a bit of clarification and context on my part.
    1. The article was written in the fall of 2009, for the Jacksonville Track Club Newsletter (well before the current discussions).
    2. It was about private coaches in the area of distance running in the particular context of cross country season.
    3. I have sought advice and counsel from many outside the school experts, not only in the technical events, but especially
    distance running (not many people ask more questions than I do at the annual track and cross country clinics).
    4. Technical events (i.e. vaulting) often have local cadres that work with everyone in the area, with the permission of, and
    encouragement from their high school coaches (myself included).
    5. An internationally known high school coach will be moving to the northeast Florida area in the next six months. He has asked for
    help finding a job. I will try to find him one as close to Bartram Trail as possible. I am not threatened, I wish to be
    enlightened. I would even consider being his assistant.
    6. I do not have a problem with private experts in the technical events making money (camps, individual sessions). I suspect
    virtually all of them have the full support and encouragement of the area school coaches.
    7. Championships are not the only criteria of competence. I can think of a half dozen (or more) coaches who may never win a
    "championship," but are the kind of people that you would want your child with, and are exceptionally competent in the areas
    of physiology, pedagogy, and caring. How would you like to be in Doug Butler's district? How about the Tampa/St. Pete area in the
    heyday of Haley and Ennis?
    8. Doug Butler has made all the appropriate arguments about cross country and team, far better than I could.
    9. The solution to the "horrible" high school coach is simple. The athlete trains with (or under the long distance tutelage of) the
    private coach, and competes in the numerous competitions provided by the USATF, and AAU. The desired marks are achieved, the
    scholarships are offered, and everybody is happy.

    Paul Nowicki-Bartram Trail High School
  • CoachRaposo / 2 Years Ago
    adeyabo
    On what planet do athletes only do hs sports and no other sports leagues outside of hs, like AAU or USATF? Apparently you are so small minded that you, like the article author, believe that hs athletics is the end all be all for students and no other form of athletic participation is appropriate.

    For the VAST MAJORITY of teenaged kids, their goal should be the STATE CHAMPIONSHIP. Also, if you're talking about things like Junior Olympics, you must be defending sprinting private coaches, because for distance runners, the majority of those meets are jokes. Bottom line, real coaches don't sucker parents out of money for coaching youth athletes.

    adeyabo
    What exactly does "feign their own resume" even mean?

    Let me help you out. Here's a dictionary.
    www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/feign
    1a : to give a false appearance of : induce as a false impression
    b : to assert as if true : pretend


    You know, like pretending that they have the athletes best interest in mind as compared to, oh I don't know, money?


    adeyabo
    You speak only in generalizations and insults.

    When talking to idiots (foolish and stupid people), yes. And when speaking about a subject matter such as this, you can't speak in anecdotes (because it's stupid), nor with scientifically based research (because there isn't any). Therefore, speaking in general terms is the only way to do so. And arguing that the vast majority of private coaches are looking out for their own best interest [financially] is a true statement. Otherwise they wouldn't charge money for coaching youth athletes.

    adeyabo
    If a girl xc runner wins states running 18:00 minutes, is that success? What if her true potential was 17:00 minutes?

    I'm bad at arguing? Hypothetical anecdotal reference THAT COULD BE USED WITH A PRIVATE COACH AS AN EXAMPLE AS WELL?! Get real. Your examples are just ridiculous.

    adeyabo
    Way to jump to conclusions there. Who said I took money from the hs kids I coached?

    If you didn't then you wouldn't fall into the category of "coaches" that this article is talking about. If you were personal training or coaching for free, you'd be a volunteer, just as I told Kyle.

    adeyabo
    This article slanders an entire profession. I am very surprised that such a mindset still exists, but I guess egos and isolated experiences will have a tremendous effect on a person's perspective.

    That's because the private "coaching profession" of individuals who seek out high school kids is crap. And this mindset exists will all of the best coaches and organizations in the coaching profession that actually know what they're doing. You know, the people who attend their state and national clinics and whatnot, the people who actually know what's going on in their sports.

    Speaking of which, at the FACA cross country clinic we even had a representative come and talk about how private coaches easily lure athletes into their wallets with discussion of supposed scholarships through immediate training results. Ridiculous. Maybe you could learn a thing or two from attending a clinic? Here's the link to their site:
    www.freerecruitingwebinar.org/


    adeyabo
    if you look at how the US has fared internationally, it is the athletes who were privately coached (sprints, jumps, hurdles, throws) that have been successful where as the individuals that went through the common channels (hs to college to professional) have not been successful (distance), until very recently, with the advent of better training at the elite level from...private coaches!

    1) This discussion is about HIGH SCHOOL coaches, not elite level or professional athletes. 2) THAT'S ALL THAT EXISTS FOR ELITE ATHLETES. There are no SCHOOL teams. And you cannot equate real elite / professional / Olympic level coaches with the people that prey on high school athletes. Not even close to the same category.

    adeyabo
    Ask Galen Rupp if private coaching was a detriment to his career or teams that he participated on.

    ANECDOTAL REFERENCE OF AN OLYMPIAN. PLEASE.

    adeyabo
    Again, you will find bad coaching in all areas, arenas, situations, etc of athletics, hs, private, club, whatever. But to basically classify one type of coach as all anything (bad or good) is just plane wrongheaded at best and malicious at worst.

    @adeyabo PARAGRAPH 5: "there are some coaches in the area who are superior in knowledge, pedagogy, work ethic, and most importantly, CARING, about the well-being of their charges. These coaches are EASILY IDENTIFIABLE in the community."
  • cnick / 2 Years Ago
    adeyabo
    Ask Galen Rupp if private coaching was a detriment to his career or teams that he participated on.


    @adeyabo Just for clarifcation, Salazar was already working with the Central Catholic team before Galen joined the team. The two have just continued working together over the years. Rupp and Salazar provide much better evidence to the argument for coaches taking a long term approach than private coaching.
  • CoachRaposo / 2 Years Ago
    Okay, seriously. The more I think about this, the more the blatant stupidity of this entire argument rises to the surface. It all starts from one basic standpoint: Helping an athlete reach their top athletic potential. But when you add all of the circumstances of what private coaching brings to the table, the kind of private coaching that is being discussed in this article and nothing more, how could any intelligent person argue in favor of it?

    Having an individual saying they can coach a high school athlete to immediate success or scholarship / recruiting potential, while circumventing discussion with the school coach, by convincing parents that they know more and therefore should be paid because of their "knowledge" without any real evidence of long-term coaching stability or a structured program doesn't sound shaky? How can anyone hear that pitch and think it really sounds legitimate? These are the kind of people who get sucked into pyramid schemes.

    Now are there inept coaches? Yes. Are there good coaches? Yes. Are there great coaches? Yes. Could we also discuss over the criteria that make a good coach or a great coach? Yes. But the criteria for what makes a poor coach are more standard, and those are the ones that should be looked at. Those underlined points above, those are the evils of private coaching as mentioned in this article. But if anyone is naive enough to belief that line pitched above, then they really have no place arguing anything in the realm of real coaching.
  • BConvey / 2 Years Ago
    I think ultimate point of the article was the generalization that private coaches should not interfere with athletes with highly competent high school coaches-- because having 2 chefs in the kitchen is disruptive/counterproductive. I think just about everyone agrees with this as a generalization-- even though I have known instances in which it made sense for an athlete to seek private help even at a school with a highly reputable coach, and if the two coaches can work together it can benefit both team and individual goals, when warranted.

    I don't agree with some of the other generalizations being made here, such as:

    1) To my mind, the distinction between "volunteers" and paid coaches is artificial. This sounds like British Chariots of Fire amateurism and aristocracy era thinking. Whether someone is paid to coach privately or does it voluntary does not dictate their success and does not necessarily speak to their motivation. To say that paid private coaches are primarily in it for the money, I think, is really misguided. In a large number of cases, they are in it because they love to coach. Whether to accept money or not is going to depend on a large number of personal factors.

    2) High School coaches-- even the best of them-- are not always able to have the individual athlete's best interests at heart. Many of the best coaches are great because they have combined a winning "formula" with enough charisma or authority to apply it to groups of kids year after year and that is successful enough to be in the top 5% year after year. Not all "great" coaches are that flexible, and even those that are, they have a limited amount of time to devote to the individual. Some individuals require more attention, and some have special training needs that as a practical matter make it impossible to devote full attention to team and to individual. In such cases, working with a private coach, and trainer makes perfect sense.

    3) Superiority of High School Coaches. I have the utmost respect for people who teach and coach. In some ways I wish I had chosen to do that myself. Nevertheless, nothing about being a teacher and the official track or XC coach of a team makes one inherently better qualified or more dedicated. Maybe 15% of the high school distance coaches in South Florida are really qualified, or devoted. Those 15% have my complete respect. Of the "private" coaches I've been exposed to down here, I'd give it a LOT better than 15% competency rate and most are VERY devoted. Arguably the best program down here uses a "private" (non-teacher) as a coach. I'm pretty sure he does it because he loves it.

    Many of the finest coaches have worn many hats. They help athletes because they love to. Sometimes they are "retired", sometimes they coach their own programs and help other athletes voluntarily, and sometimes they both Coach and run private coaching programs. I could name lots of names of absolutely top-notch people who have helped athletes in good high school programs, sometimes with compensation and sometimes without. These generalizations do them a disservice.


    EDIT: Just to avoid Raposo flamage, I would agree with the generalization that if a Coach approaches a kid or family and offers to help for money, that it is probably better not to let him get involved.
  • CoachRaposo / 2 Years Ago
    BConvey
    I think ultimate point of the article was the generalization that private coaches should not interfere with athletes with highly competent high school coaches-- because having 2 chefs in the kitchen is disruptive/counterproductive. I think just about everyone agrees with this as a generalization-- even though I have known instances in which it made sense for an athlete to seek private help even at a school with a highly reputable coach, and if the two coaches can work together it can benefit both team and individual goals, when warranted.

    Agreed. And in our personal situation, I know where we both stand on this issue.


    BConvey
    Whether someone is paid to coach privately or does it voluntary does not dictate their success and does not necessarily speak to their motivation.

    I disagree. Seeking out particular individuals for financial reasons isn't the same as establishing a youth club team where you take a variety of athletes and attach a fee. This article isn't talking about youth organizations, it's talking about individual private coaches.

    BConvey
    Not all "great" coaches are that flexible, and even those that are, they have a limited amount of time to devote to the individual. Some individuals require more attention, and some have special training needs that as a practical matter make it impossible to devote full attention to team and to individual. In such cases, working with a private coach, and trainer makes perfect sense.

    Agreed with everything until the last line. And in reality, the kids that need the most attention are the ones with personal and emotional issues, not the best athletes. That's a misnomer. In such cases, coaches need to dedicate more time to their sport and athletes, not have parents pay an outside individual for personal coaching.

    BConvey
    Nevertheless, nothing about being a teacher and the official track or XC coach of a team makes one inherently better qualified

    It does when referencing all of the paperwork process that public school educators and coaches need to go through, versus any Joe Schmo off the street who isn't required to have all of the specified parameters established by the FHSAA, their counties, their conferences, and/or their schools. Being an employee of a school system ensures this structure, if nothing more.

    BConvey
    Arguably the best program down here uses a "private" (non-teacher) as a coach.

    If you're speaking of Miami, I haven't the faintest idea of whom you speak. The rich traditions and the coaching staffs at Belen Jesuit and Ransom Everglades are by far the best programs around and have been since the inception of the sport of cross country in Miami / Florida.

    BConvey
    Many of the finest coaches have worn many hats. They help athletes because they love to. Sometimes they are "retired", sometimes they coach their own programs and help other athletes voluntarily, and sometimes they both Coach and run private coaching programs. I could name lots of names of absolutely top-notch people who have helped athletes in good high school programs, sometimes with compensation and sometimes without. These generalizations do them a disservice.

    I'd argue the kinds of individuals you mention are far and few between. And at the same time, these kinds of coaches don't seek out specific individual kids, but rather they are in it for the sport as a whole.

    BConvey
    EDIT: Just to avoid Raposo flamage, I would agree with the generalization that if a Coach approaches a kid or family and offers to help for money, that it is probably better not to let him get involved.

    @BConvey Bingo.
  • Alsoran / 2 Years Ago
    For me, Coach Nowicki's point number 9 ("The solution to the 'horrible' high school coach is simple. The athlete trains with (or under the long distance tutelage of) the private coach, and competes in the numerous competitions provided by the USATF, and AAU. The desired marks are achieved, the scholarships are offered, and everybody is happy) raises more issues than it resolves. He is obviously a great coach and this sentiment might have been written in haste and does not accurately reflect his position, but why should the "horrible" high school coach be enabled in this way? If the coach is "horrible," shouldn't he or she be let go rather than force the student-athletes to forgo the opportunity of running for their school? Why would such incompetence be tolerated? I cannot think of any valid argument that could justify why such a "horrible" coach should be retained, thus forcing the student-athletes to either put up with the "horrible" coaching or simply resign themselves to the fact that they will never run for their school.
  • CoachRaposo / 2 Years Ago
    Alsoran
    Why should the "horrible" high school coach be enabled in this way?

    @Alsoran I read comment in jest; hence the quotations. Meaning that painting the high school coach as the "horrible" one is ironic when they're the ones trying to properly establish a team and a program versus the private coach which stands for the complete opposite; individuality. Because seriously, who takes a job as a teacher and a running coach in order to make kids and a program fail? If anything, some high school coaches are lazy and don't care, in which case, they wouldn't argue to begin with, they could care less how anyone trains or with whom. This article wasn't written pertaining to those situations either.
  • gpc3 / 2 Years Ago
    Point of order - outshouting your opponent in a debate does not mean you're winning.
  • Wolfpack / 2 Years Ago
    "Horrible." In quotes. Sarcasm.
  • CoachRaposo / 2 Years Ago
    gpc3
    Point of order - outshouting your opponent in a debate does not mean you're winning.

    @gpc3 WHAT?! THEY LIED TO ME IN DEBATE 101!!
  • CoachRaposo / 2 Years Ago
    Wolfpack
    "Horrible." In quotes. Sarcasm.

    @Wolfpack I love you, Paul. LOL!
  • Alsoran / 2 Years Ago
    CoachRaposo
    AlsoranWhy should the "horrible" high school coach be enabled in this way?

    @Alsoran I read comment in jest; hence the quotations. Meaning that painting the high school coach as the "horrible" one is ironic when they're the ones trying to properly establish a team and a program versus the private coach which stands for the complete opposite; individuality. Because seriously, who takes a job as a teacher and a running coach in order to make kids and a program fail? If anything, some high school coaches are lazy and don't care, in which case, they wouldn't argue to begin with, they could care less how anyone trains or with whom. This article wasn't written pertaining to those situations either.


    @CoachRaposo

    Well, Obviously I don't know anyone on here so forgive me if I cannot detect "Sarcasm." And I'm not being sarcastic. I agree with your points about private coaches who are only out to line their pockets and we know that there are high school coaches who take the stipend and do little for it also. As a volunteer club coach who coaches distance runners between high school seasons, I'm not particularly happy when I read comments like "for distance runners, the majority of those meets are jokes." Yes, we struggle to assemble competitive distance fields in most of our meets. And we all know why. The high school season takes precedence so we're left with a few months out of the year to provide other competitive opportunities.
  • jason / 2 Years Ago
    One thing I really disagree with @CoachRaposo and agree with @BConvey on is that whether the private coach accepts money or is a "volunteer" is irrelevant. This country is all about capitalism and making money is not evil. I try to make a living on this site. That doesn't make me evil. I provide a service. Same with a coach... if they can make a living as a private coach and provide a good service in the process... God bless them and God bless the USA.

    Money has nothing to do with it.

    It's about communication with the high school coach. And it's about the quality of what they do. There are scammers out there promising huge results fast and stealing credit... much like all the get rich quick schemes I hear on every day when I listen to CNBC. That doesn't mean there aren't great, honest, well-intentioned, private coaches out there as well. Let's make sure we don't blanket the whole profession and I don't think that's what Paul's article did. For me the target is the negative influence of fast-talking scammers promising results fast and deriding the quality high school coach and undermining the team concept.

    Let's also not forget that these are high school kids. You can't get your high school years back. And being a part of that team and experiencing the high school season is something so awesome. It's a slow process to being elite and avoiding burn out. Let's not take the fun out of the journey in pursuit of overnight results.
  • jdpsu / 2 Years Ago
    This is a tough one for me. One of my kids had the "misfortune" of having a "less than qualified" Coach. This was his 1st varsity race. His Coach had no summer training scheduled, and when they practiced, it was-"Run to the corner of Main & Elm and back"-not sure how far it was and didn't give them any other instructions:

    108 Dey, X 22:02.89

    The Coach told the team their last meet was the Metro meet, saying they didn't qualify for the District meet.....I got him a private Coach and he improved dramatically. As soon as they hired a "competent" head coach, the private coach was history.
  • BConvey / 2 Years Ago
    CoachRaposo


    It does when referencing all of the paperwork process that public school educators and coaches need to go through, versus any Joe Schmo off the street who isn't required to have all of the specified parameters established by the FHSAA, their counties, their conferences, and/or their schools. Being an employee of a school system ensures this structure, if nothing more.


    Technically that is a fair point, but arguably a private "paid" coach has accountability directly to the parent, which the school coach does not. In the grand scheme of things I don't think either thing makes one a better coach inherently

    BConvey
    Arguably the best program down here uses a "private" (non-teacher) as a coach.


    If you're speaking of Miami, I haven't the faintest idea of whom you speak. The rich traditions and the coaching staffs at Belen Jesuit and Ransom Everglades are by far the best programs around and have been since the inception of the sport of cross country in Miami / Florida.

    I'll answer this behind the scenes to you privately
  • CoachRaposo / 2 Years Ago
    jason
    is that whether the private coach accepts money or is a "volunteer" is irrelevant. This country is all about capitalism and making money is not evil. I try to make a living on this site. That doesn't make me evil. I provide a service. Money has nothing to do with it.

    You're trying to equate entrepreneurship, and creating your own website empire from scratch, with someone who steals athletes away from their high school programs and charges hundreds or thousands of dollars? LOL! Not even close. But hey, if money has nothing to do with anything, where's my paycheck? I've been getting gypped for a half dozen years by you!!

    jason
    There are scammers out there promising huge results fast and stealing credit... much like all the get rich quick schemes I hear on every day when I listen to CNBC. That doesn't mean there aren't great, honest, well-intentioned, private coaches out there as well.

    Correct, but his article isn't focused towards the latter part of this statement.

    jason
    Let's also not forget that these are high school kids. You can't get your high school years back. And being a part of that team and experiencing the high school season is something so awesome. It's a slow process to being elite and avoiding burn out. Let's not take the fun out of the journey in pursuit of overnight results.

    @jason Bingo again!

    BConvey
    Technically that is a fair point, but arguably a private "paid" coach has accountability directly to the parent, which the school coach does not. In the grand scheme of things I don't think either thing makes one a better coach inherently

    It obviously doesn't make a better coach, but that structure, I feel, is necessary.
  • jason / 2 Years Ago
    @jdpsu I agree and disagree... but I think we're on the same page when it comes down to it.

    If there isn't much of a team to speak of that's one thing. And if the school coach is really inexperienced or one of those collect the stipend and go home kind of coaches that's one thing. I still contend that the private coach should seek to communicate with the school coach in those cases. But I think this article and what most of us are talking about here is cases where there are very well known quality coaches involved who clearly know what they're doing and have a track record of showing that.

    How insulting is it to a coach like that to say hey I wanna be on your team, but I don't trust you enough to train me? For real?? How can you argue that.

    If you feel that way then you should either transfer or simply not run for the school team and just hit the AAU/USATF/Road/NCAA circuit.

    High school sports is not just about one person... it's not about egos either... it's about being a part of a team. And expecting to get special treatment or do your own training plan (without input or okay from coach) is just silly... and that's not being on a team. So if that is what you feel is your best course of action, then you should just go train with that private coach on your own. And don't undermine the team concept that the good school coaches work so hard to build.

    Again there is nothing wrong with a (paid or unpaid) private coach in some cases. And it can be highly beneficial. But if you are part of the school team then it needs to be done with permission from or in concert with the school coach. Period. It's common sense that two coaches with two different training plans simply can not work.

    "No one can serve two masters. Either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other." - Matthew 6:24
  • JoeMcKinney / 2 Years Ago
    In about 20 years, my agreements with "Wolfpack" have been limited. However, in respect to the contexts he put forth - and with the exception of the last one - I completely agree.

    Especially, with "5. An internationally known high school coach will be moving to the northeast Florida area in the next six months. He has asked for help finding a job. I will try to find him one as close to Bartram Trail as possible. I am not threatened, I wish to be enlightened. I would even consider being his assistant."

    What good "coach" doesn't want expertise from other coaches, private or school-related? When I coached in Volusia County, I spent EVERY available minute chewing on Peter Hopfe's ear, as I knew he knew more about distance running than I. Dan Dearing is probably one of the best "all around" coaches one can find. When I was in Jacksonville, Coach Devine and I, spent hours upon margaritas questioning him about events that we were certainly less than ideal at coaching. Including, sending athlete's to Bolles for off season conditioning and coaching. Doug Butler was a rival at both school's in which I was a head coach. Although we are old now, I am sure we can both remember many night's sharing EXACTLY what each of our better athletes were doing training wise, and why.

    That being said, I have been on both sides of this and I will add ... there are certain times when a private coach is needed. Mostly, it's not when a HS coach is incompetent as much as doesn't care. In these cases, I fully support parents doing what is best for their children. And, from my experience, in very few cases, is leaving your HS team to train on your own what is best.

    Just my opinions.
  • bantazmo / 2 Years Ago
    www.elitetrack.com/blogs/details/6046/

    I think this does a good job of pointing out how to do this right
  • lrak / 2 Years Ago
    @CoachRaposo Iam just chiming in to give another side to this. I am a parent of two highschool track athletes. I have also used the service of two "private" coaches over the past year. I live in dade county and happen to follow the majority of youths prior to them entering high school. If not for club track and field, aau coaches, and the "private" coaches alot of these high schools would be suffer. You have coached for years at the high school level. How many of the programs in your county have quality coaches that really care about building and maintaining a quality cross country and track program? 20% maybe 30%. I can hardly think of any athlete in dade county that is an elite kid that did not have outside coaching in some form or another.
  • CoachRaposo / 2 Years Ago
    lrak
    How many of the programs in your county have quality coaches that really care about building and maintaining a quality cross country and track program? 20% maybe 30%. I can hardly think of any athlete in dade county that is an elite kid that did not have outside coaching in some form or another.

    @lrak In Miami, you're completely correct. The "coaching" in this county is horribly abysmal. And with more than 50 high schools in this county, 20% still might be a little high if you're counting top-tiered cross country / track & field programs, particularly in the public circuit. Also, there is a lot more to add to the discussion when talking about summer track & field, and the extension of a season, versus the cross country private coaches, which typically interrupt a prep phase or a competitive phase of a season (which is primarily what this article points towards). But, you're definitely correct.
  • gator / 2 Years Ago
    Bottom line. As Jason has referenced in Matthew 6:24 : "You can not serve two masters."
    It is noted in the Bible, therefore End-of-Discussion.....
  • CoachRaposo / 2 Years Ago
    gator
    Bottom line. As Jason has referenced in Matthew 6:24 : "You can not serve two masters."
    It is noted in the Bible, therefore End-of-Discussion.....


    @gator LOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOL!!!!!!!!!!!!!
  • jason / 2 Years Ago
    @gator lol... Don't get atheist @CoachRaposo started on that. Regardless on how you feel about the source (which I happen to think comes from good authority!), the simple truth in that statement is hard to argue. Either the two coaches are communicating/coordinating/cooperating or you are serving two masters. Which will never lead to good things. If that's the case, then you need to choose.
  • gator / 2 Years Ago
    @Jason: Definitely a good authority!!!!!!
  • JMarquez / 2 Years Ago
    So to summarize, although the majority of the present coaches aren’t good coaches, an athlete should only seek / receive outside assistance, if it is provided without payment, as those that ask to be paid are scam artists. Hmmmm.

    It would be interesting to see what percentage of athletes we are talking about that have private coaches. Since more than 90% of high school athletes will not compete in college, I would assume the number is a very small one.

    I believe that a high school coach’s role in an athlete’s career is key. For the majority of the athletes, this will be the end of their athletic career, and these will be the memories they will have the rest of their lives. For a small number, this is just another step to the next level. I believe this is where the conflicts start to appear, and this is where the good coaches and the bad coaches are shown. The key definition is what makes a good coach. From a parent’s point of view, my list of a good coach would be as follows.

    1.For the coach to sit down and set challenging but achievable goals with the athlete, and a plan how they will be achieved.
    2.To accomplish #1, while keeping the athlete healthy. If the athlete gets hurt, do not use him until he is healthy again.
    3.For the coach to maintain the communication open with the athlete and parents, and this should develop trust.
    4.Ensure that the experience is enjoyable.
    5.These should apply to all athletes, from the first runner to the last runner.

    In my opinion, a coach that can say he does these, can consider himself a pretty good coach. If in the way they win some state titles, consider that a bonus, but titles do not equate to a good coach. Same thing for individual goals, a state title should not be a goal. If you set a time goal, and you meet or exceed it, you had a good season. Any awards along the way are welcome, but they should not define how your season was, one way or another. An athlete in this sport can only control what he does, not what others do, so if his goal was not good enough to win a state championship, it doesn’t mean he didn’t meet the goal that was set.
    Now the great coaches, are those that know they have some athletes that are in the small percentage that will go on to compete at the college level, and make sure they give them the help to get there. Depending on the college, there are different time standards that need to be met for scholarship consideration. As hard as it is to believe, being in a strong “team” results school could work against those athletes. It’s no secret that as successful as York High school program is in Illinois, colleges were not rushing to sign their runners to scholarships. I realize that for some coaches this would be difficult, as they want to treat all the athletes the same way, but the reality is that each athlete is different. If you have developed the trust with the athlete, I would be surprised if they wouldn’t have faith that you would have their best interest and help them get to the college level, hopefully with a scholarship.

    Now in this and other discussions on the same subject, no one has asked if any of the coaches has sat down with the athlete and parents to ask what they think they were getting from the outside party that they were not getting from the school program. I’m willing to bet the answer will be no in most cases. See #3 above.

    As far as the “private coaches” are concerned, I have faith in free enterprise. If they are bad coaches, they will be gone soon enough, as you can scam people so much before word gets around. If there is a lack of coaching quality in our schools as it is indicated here, the challenge for all high school coaches is to convince the parents that they are one of the good ones. I’d be very surprised to hear of one that would admit he is one of the bad coaches. I am sure that there are many good coaches outside the high schools, and for anyone to make a blanket statement about all of them, or any group, you would think in this time and place we had evolved past that. The notion of whether anyone’s competency depends on whether they get paid or not, puzzles me as well.

    I believe the bottom line of the problem is that there are some athletes that believe they can improve their chances of getting into a college program by hiring a private coach. Their high school coach is not informed of what they are doing, and they blame the private coach for this.

    I believe two words can solve most of the problem. Communication and education.

    Education – I think flrunners could be a huge help to the high school runner by having a series of interviews of college coaches to have them tell the running community what they look for in the high school runner to potentially offer them a scholarship. These guys have limited resources and need runners who will help their program at the college level, so I am sure they have a check list for those runners they will invest thousands of dollars to come to their school. If the information comes from an unbiased source such as flrunners, parents and runners should be able to trust it. If anyone tries to tell them anything different, then they know they cannot trust them, as they have already heard it from the horse’s mouth.

    Communication –
    HS coach and Private coach. To be fair, the business contract is between the parent and the private coach, therefore the parent needs to be the one that makes that connection. If the parent does not wish that to happen, no private coach will go behind their back and make the connection, that would make lousy business sense.
    HS coach and athlete / parent. Only the athletes and the coaches involved know what communication was made before making the decision of hiring a private coach, as I am sure that is not a decision made from one day to another. If there was no communication made before, I would hope the coach would talk to them after he learns of the private coach and again try to determine the reason, and tell them how his program will accomplish the same thing. If the athlete’s goals are unrealistic, the coach should tell them so and the reason why. If an athlete who is a 6 minute miler in his junior year has a goal of running 4:15 his senior year, any reasonable person would know that is not going to happen without serious risk of injury.
    If the communication and trust is broken, then you have a difficult situation that appears to be where some coaches are. Once the damage is done, then it has to be a case by case of how it gets resolved. Obviously the goal would be not to let it get there. I don’t think we have the situation where the athletes are deciding which of the two coaches to listen to, as I am sure they have one in mute.
    Having the athlete just run AAU and USATF meets is not a solution either. I would venture to say that these meets rather than being a joke, are the opposite, especially at the young age levels. We are lucky to have some outstanding persons who truly believe in our young runners and have established FLYRA which gives them an avenue to compete at a higher level than before. I believe it will produce better runners for the high schools, but it will challenge some coaches, as these runners will be better prepared and hungrier than those before them when they get to high school. But getting back to those runners who can afford to hire private coaches, and are told they cannot run with the team as long as that is the case, how long do we really believe it will be before the next check they write will be to a lawyer to challenge the right to run unattached at the high school meets? Then we will see the mess that creates.
  • jason / 2 Years Ago
    @JMarquez I disagree with Mr. Raposo about the payment part. That is irrelevant. If they are a good and reputable private coach and can make money doing it... then great. Go capitalism!

    There is no issue, in my opinion, with private coaches who do it the right way. And parents who do it the right way. But YOU CAN NOT be coached by two people. For the technical events, it is totally different. Maybe even for sprints. But I think all of us here are talking about distance runners. Training is long term and not a short game. It is orchestrated. There are different philosophies at play. So, unless there is communication and either one coach is backing down to be secondary and the other is the primary, then it is self-defeating. And... like you indicated... one is going to be mute out (which if you're hiring a private coach, that means the school coach is).

    How do you think a football coach would react if one of the players said "Hey coach, I'm going to skip camp and all the early season practices... I'll report to the school team for the practice before the first game." So how do you think a cross country school coach should react if told the same? Duh...

    Either you are on the team or you're not. Either the coaches are working together or they are not. It's really impossible to do both well. You can't be running one coach's workout in the morning and the other's in the afternoon... that is going to screw you over and if not planned then you're not going to have proper recovery or doing conflicting workouts.... etc. It doesn't work. You also can't have the school coach to tell you to do mile repeats and then you go off and do a LSD day.

    THERE HAS TO BE COMMUNICATION. Either the school coach backs down willingly, the two work together, or you quit the team. But you can't not tell the school coach and do it in secret. Read above.

    I think a new coach or one who doesn't have a history of strong teams or experience with elite athletes is going to likely know they don't. Most coaches are in it for the right reason and can probably recognize a gifted athlete and if they don't know how to properly develop them... I believe most have the kid's best interest in mind and will say as much, back down and allow the private coach to do their thing.

    But you can certainly understand why a coach who DOES have a history of developing elite athletes, has good comparable athletes currently, and seeks to build a strong team-first attitude would frown upon such an outside force... especially if they offer no desire to work together or have conflicting training philosophies. In such a case, I don't see how you can fault the school coach for that. And therefore you're left with a choice as the parent/athlete of which you believe can best lead you to your goals. And whether you want to be on the team (which means training with the team) or not.
  • CoachRaposo / 2 Years Ago
    JMarquez
    From a parent’s point of view, my list of a good coach would be as follows.
    1.For the coach to sit down and set challenging but achievable goals with the athlete, and a plan how they will be achieved.
    2.To accomplish #1, while keeping the athlete healthy. If the athlete gets hurt, do not use him until he is healthy again.
    3.For the coach to maintain the communication open with the athlete and parents, and this should develop trust.
    4.Ensure that the experience is enjoyable.
    5.These should apply to all athletes, from the first runner to the last runner.

    Honestly, most parents don't know anything and fall into the category I like to call "non-existent parents", parents that you never see, not even through a four year span. The next biggest category after that is the "competition parents" which we coaches might see once every few weeks, during the competitive season. So once again, do the majority of their opinions matter as it pertains to coaching? Not really. Also, this top 5 list forgets one of the most important aspects, particularly dealing with the entire issue going on in this article, THE ABILITY TO COACH PROPERLY! That's the biggest problem right there.

    Actually, I'd argue that most parents don't care about 1) goal setting, or 3) communication, or 5) how it pertains to other athletes. Why? Again, most parents don't even bother to meet their kid's coach, so why would they care about the extra stuff? 'Don't get my kid injured', and 'let them have fun'. Parents care about those. Although 'don't make me spend money on my kid for new running shoes every three months' and 'don't make practice too long so my kid can do their homework' are probably more important than 'having fun' if we really wanted to discuss what most parents want.

    JMarquez
    As far as the “private coaches” are concerned, I have faith in free enterprise. If they are bad coaches, they will be gone soon enough, as you can scam people so much before word gets around.

    Never. That's paramount to saying that people are smart enough to figure out pyramid or ponzi schemes and they'll never exist anymore. But I think we can all agree that is crap; a sucker is born every minute!

    JMarquez
    But getting back to those runners who can afford to hire private coaches, and are told they cannot run with the team as long as that is the case, how long do we really believe it will be before the next check they write will be to a lawyer to challenge the right to run unattached at the high school meets? Then we will see the mess that creates.

    @JMarquez Governing bodies dictate these rules. Not the high school coaches. Someone would have to take on the FHSAA any local authorities before that would ever happen. Even then, most coaches would still ignoring the ruling even if it happened to go in the opposing direction. What would they do? Fire us? I think most of the good coaches would rather not coach in a situation where an idiot parent and a lawyer can't dictate what really establishes your team. I know I wouldn't.


    jason
    That is irrelevant. If they are a good and reputable private coach and can make money doing it... then great. Go capitalism!

    @jason You definitely could NEVER be a teacher, nor a legitimate school coach. Too much money on your mind. This isn't an argument of capitalism or not. It's civil servants versus scam artists. Again, REAL personal coaches don't seek out individual athletes. They let athletes come to them and coach EVERYONE. The scam artists, of which this article is pertaining to, seek out particular individuals because those are the easiest once to make money off of. Point blank. And once again, the problem lies in the fact that many people (parents) are stupid enough to think that just because you pay for something, it must be better than the free option. And if no one has figure it out from reading this article and all of the comments, this is obviously not the case.

    I know what you're trying to argue, J. But as it pertains to this article, you're off base. Now as it pertains to coaching in general, I personally think there is a problem when school coaches are trying to make money off of their own athletes during non-FHSAA time frames, e.g.: summer. Maybe I'm not a capitalist, maybe I'm not big on taking people's money, but from a logical and realistic point of view, I find it VERY DIFFICULT to justify taking money from my athletes just because we're not in a technical FHSAA season at the moment. To me, it's just shady. But that's a whole different discussion.
  • JMarquez / 2 Years Ago
    @CoachRaposo
    Honestly, most parents don't know anything and fall into the category I like to call "non-existent parents", parents that you never see, not even through a four year span. The next biggest category after that is the "competition parents" which we coaches might see once every few weeks, during the competitive season. So once again, do the majority of their opinions matter as it pertains to coaching? Not really.

    Can’t really comment in the different situations, as in our schools I see where many parents attend. Some of those who do not, I know is for reasons such as work obligations or conflict with something else. I know that these parents feel terrible they cannot see their child compete, but they have no choice as some are working several jobs. That doesn’t make their opinions any less valid.

    Also, this top 5 list forgets one of the most important aspects, particularly dealing with the entire issue going on in this article, THE ABILITY TO COACH PROPERLY! That's the biggest problem right there.

    I would assume that coaching properly would be to get the best out of the athlete in a safe manner. So setting the goals, discussing how they will get there and then having constant communication on the progress would seem to cover it.


    Actually, I'd argue that most parents don't care about 1) goal setting, or 3) communication, or 5) how it pertains to other athletes. Why? Again, most parents don't even bother to meet their kid's coach, so why would they care about the extra stuff?
    I would hope we can agree that a coach should set the goals with the athlete, constantly communicate with them on their progress and encourage them to help them achieve those goals. I would argue anyone who does not do so, should not be coaching, as these are the basics
    .

    'Don't get my kid injured', and 'let them have fun'. Parents care about those. Although 'don't make me spend money on my kid for new running shoes every three months' and 'don't make practice too long so my kid can do their homework' are probably more important than 'having fun' if we really wanted to discuss what most parents want.

    I would hope that everybody wants to avoid an athlete being hurt. Academics should be priority number one, many schools at all levels do a terrible job in the main reason for their existence. It is alarming to see the graduation rates in high schools and colleges. I can also understand buying new shoes every three months could cause some hardships on the family budget. These are tough times for many families with our economy not improving.

    Never. That's paramount to saying that people are smart enough to figure out pyramid or ponzi schemes and they'll never exist anymore. But I think we can all agree that is crap; a sucker is born every minute!

    That is why I suggested the running community be educated by having interviews from college coaches. I find it very interesting to listen to them and discuss what they look for in a long distance runner for the college program.
  • JMarquez / 2 Years Ago
    @jason

    How do you think a football coach would react if one of the players said "Hey coach, I'm going to skip camp and all the early season practices... I'll report to the school team for the practice before the first game." So how do you think a cross country school coach should react if told the same?

    We are talking of two very different things. Football, basketball, baseball and lacrosse need for each player to know each other’s tendencies and coordinate and communicate during the game, which can only be done with practicing with each other. If you put the best player in the state at each position, and had them play against a very good team without practicing, they will probably loose. Do the same with Cross Country, swimming or golf, and you will see a romp by the all stars each and every time. Also you see the elite athletes for football or basketball playing in leagues in the off season so I wouldn’t be surprised if they missed some team practices.

    But you can certainly understand why a coach who DOES have a history of developing elite athletes, has good comparable athletes currently, and seeks to build a strong team-first attitude would frown upon such an outside force... especially if they offer no desire to work together or have conflicting training philosophies. In such a case, I don't see how you can fault the school coach for that. And therefore you're left with a choice as the parent/athlete of which you believe can best lead you to your goals. And whether you want to be on the team (which means training with the team) or not.

    I agree that communication is a must. I think that you would have to know the details of each case to make a judgment in each one, which we do not have, nor should we. However it is evident that the trust of that school coach has disappeared. I think you would agree if the athlete approached the school coach to see of how they could be faster, and that coach refused to help, is a total different situation of the athlete not saying anything before seeking outside help. We are also assuming that the outside coach doesn’t take in consideration what the school coach is having them do in training before designing any additional workouts. If you are a good coach you take all the points you mentioned into consideration to make sure you are doing the best for the athlete. Nothing will kill the business faster than getting a reputation of breaking an athlete you were coaching.
  • CoachRaposo / 2 Years Ago
    JMarquez
    I know that these parents feel terrible they cannot see their child compete, but they have no choice as some are working several jobs.

    Ridiculously small margin, particularly in my neck of the woods. Most really don't care about cross country, nor do they really know what it is.

    JMarquez
    That doesn’t make their opinions any less valid.

    Most parents see with blinders on and most of their opinions don't matter at all. e.g.: If I listened to my own father, my kids wouldn't run more than 5 miles EVER. Because "Why would they need to run more than twice the distance of their competitive race length? That doesn't make any sense. Don't make your students run so much so they don't get injured." Great job, dad. You're the man! LOL!

    JMarquez
    It is alarming to see the graduation rates in high schools and colleges.

    Yep.

    JMarquez
    I can also understand buying new shoes every three months could cause some hardships on the family budget. These are tough times for many families with our economy not improving.

    When they stop walking around with iPhones, iPods, or iPads, sometimes all at the same time, then I'll buy into that. Good coaches can figure out which kids have the means and which kids don't. Many families do, but they just don't.


    JMarquez
    We are talking of two very different things. Football, basketball, baseball and lacrosse need for each player to know each other’s tendencies and coordinate and communicate during the game, which can only be done with practicing with each other.

    Although different skill wise, I run a pack program with my team and they have prescribed types of running and training regiments daily. When they run on their own, they KNOW it's not that same as running with the team.

    JMarquez
    We are also assuming that the outside coach doesn’t take in consideration what the school coach is having them do in training before designing any additional workouts.

    That was the whole point of the article to begin with. Outside coaches only caring about their paychecks and showing quick performance boosts to justify those paychecks.