For as long as I can remember, coaching has been at the forefront of my future. I have participated in many different sports which have helped me develop my love for sports. The Coaching and Athletic Administration master’s program will help me become the coach that I aspire to be. There are many different sports that I would be comfortable coaching, but the throwing event in track and field is where I am most comfortable.
Growing up, throwing was something that I always wanted to do, as my older brother did it.
I started in 5th grade and I had a wonderful coach who taught me the basics of shotput and discus. Even though this coach was great, my high school coach is who I remember the most. He was someone who pushed you to be the best you could be, mainly through drills and throwing reps. He made practice fun, but difficult, which was okay with me because I saw growth.
This coach and I have stayed in touch with each other and have realized that coaches like him have made me want to become a coach. I enjoy building positive relationships, helping people grow, and being a helper through tough times. This is how most of my coaches have been, and who I strive to be as a coach. As a professional, coaching will satisfy me when I see improvement in an athlete, as it will help me see why I choose this profession. I am excited to build relationships with athletes and be able to still be a part of the sport I love.
While coaching, my core values will come into play, as they are who I am. Positivity is one of my top values, which is great to have as a coach. When I am coaching an athlete, I will make sure to not focus only on the negatives and changes that the athlete needs to make, as there will be many positives. This will help motivate the athlete to become the best they can be, as they know it is possible. During practices, I will have everyone doing the same activities as they all need the techniques to be solid, which will come through drills and having time to throw and allow me to help them where needed on their throw, this is the command coaching style with some practice coaching style as well. I want to be a coach who will do workouts with their athletes and demonstrate how to throw.
In the next 5-10 years, I hope to be coaching at the high school or lower collegiate level. I believe that I have a lot of experience in learning the fundamentals of throwing, which will be incredibly useful in high school track and field. I imagine in 5 years that I have been a coach at the school for a few years prior, and have solidified my presence at the school, as a teacher, as well as a coach. During this 5-10 year span, I hope to grow a program to be known for great throwers in the state. This will take time, as greatness is not made in a day, it needs to be built. I am currently in the process of finding a school to coach at, which will hopefully become my long-term coaching home.
To become a coach, you need to have a coaching certificate. This certification process includes CPR and first aid training, safety in sports, as well as the fundamentals of coaching. According to the United States Sports Academy, it will cost a minimum of $150 to obtain your coaching certification. As time goes on, many expect you as a coach to participate in professional development seminars to help you stay connected to the changes in the sports world. For a track coach to get connected in the field, the United States Track and Field and Cross Country Coaches Association, USTFCCCA, is a wonderful place to go. The USTFCCCA is here to “represent thousands of coaching members encompassing NCAA track and field programs…. As well as several state high school coaches’ associations” (ustfccca.org). As a member of the association, you can find professional development programs, articles about specific events, as well as open collegiate coaching opportunities. The “Track and Field Academy” within the USTFCCCA website is where you can find all of the programs for professional development for track and field coaches. The Track and Field Academy offers coaches “an organized program of instruction compromised of symposiums, courses, certification, and endorsements, containing diverse offerings addressing all levels and areas of the sport” (ustfccca.org/tfa). This is a fantastic resource for coaches to continue learning within track and field.
To be a successful coach, there needs to be continued learning by the coach. There are many studies done about throwing events in track and field. I have found that the Journal of Sports Sciences and The Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research are great places if you are looking for research in throwing physics, lifting plans, and anything else throwing-related. These journals incorporate research from the US and the world. The USTFCCCA also has a magazine “Techniques” which has articles from coaches and researchers from the US, and there are many within throwing. Along with Journals, there are many scholars in throwing research: Jay Silvester and Dr. Antoliy Bondarchuk and both are well renowned in throwing, Silvester in the discus, and Bondarchuk in the hammer throw. Silvester is the author of Complete Book of Throws which is a collection of workout programs and techniques from coaches in each throwing event. Bondarchuk has written Transfer of Training in Sports which is about how training programs help the athletes in their specific sport. There are many more places where you can find research on throwing programs, but these are the top journals and scholars that I would use.
When looking for a coaching job, there are many different places where you can find a track and field job. As previously stated, the USTFCCCA website has job listings for colleges, and when finding a Minnesota coaching job, you can look at the Minnesota State High School League website and there are job openings across the state. Each job listing is a little different but most require coaching certification, if not, CPR and first aid certified, a bachelor’s degree, some coaching experience, participation in said sport, and being able to receive the coaching certification within the first 90 days. Many of the job listings require a cover letter and resume, with only a couple needing references from supervisors. If you are not looking for a full-time coaching job, there are many volunteer opportunities within track and field, especially in the summer with younger athletes. This is something that I am currently looking into, and many programs within the Twin Cities need volunteers.
There is so much that goes into coaching track and field, specifically throws. I want to learn more about the different condition programs that will be useful as a throws coach, as I have done many different programs myself. This is something that I can be looking into now, as I prepare to become a throws coach in the coming months. In the next few years, I will find a mentor coach that I can ask questions and grow my knowledge as well as read many articles and research about how to successfully teach throwing and make a thrower out of someone who is just starting.