The following are two letters to coaches. They are not actual letters rather they are composites of letters. The first letter is from 1970 to me in my first year coaching, the second letter is from 2013 that a colleague shared with me. Compare and contrast the content and tone of the letters.1970 – Dear Coach (Letter)Enclosed in the insurance form for Johnny?s participation in track. Also encl
Wow… That’s something. I’d almost consider telling 2013 athlete’s parents to take a hike. A HS kid? Good grief. Any very good HS athlete thinks he has shot at a D1 scholarship and an olympic career. I know I did. And I know one of my big regrets was not listening to coaches early on because I thought I knew more than they did. Who needs prima donna high school athletes. If they have half a brain, they’ll realize that they won’t get a scholarship if not competing (in lots of events and lots of meets at the HS level). Unless you’re Felix or Jones or Bolt, you’re not good enough to go outside the normal scholastic ranks.
In the business world, if I have clients responding in that manner, I respectfully suggest they look at alternative options.
I personally know many who have gotten full rides, in fact, 2 sprinters from my daughters club were turning away offers from some of the best D1 schools in the country… Tatum Taylor and Hannah Cunliffe…
Those two athletes were also running 10.2 and 11.5 as high schoolers. In those instances, it makes sense to skip some or all of the high school competition experience. I think this letter is referencing the fact that this goes on with athletes that have much less of a future. I have seen this kind of thing go on with 15.6 hurdlers and 11.2 sprinters. Parents will try to pull kids out of practices to train with their club coaches, or play club soccer on top of a track season. It gets crazy, and only makes a coach’s job harder.
I guess my concern is how much data needs to be collected to say a coach or personal trainer is the better choice? In some cases it is obvious. However, there are truly bad coaches and great coaches at each level. I believe researching your choices ahead of time could be very useful. I do think a coach who has produced numerous school record holders, state medalists, etc. are worth listening too over a personal trainer as they have a lot more data and longer track record to show they are making a difference. This can also be seen at the club level. I have benefited greatly by being involved at the AAU and USATF level. Are kids have gotten stronger and more experienced by keeping up their training in a competitive plus structured environment. The reality as coach at the high school level you are usually dealing with parents that don’t understand high school athletics or even know what your program is about. I believe a parent meeting at the beginning of the school year can go a loooooonnnng way in taking care of these problems ahead of time. When I knew I was getting a potential high school national record holder I felt it was very important to meet with the parents ahead of time. I learned a lot from that experience and my hope is it will help me again as I have a young super talented freshman who has a father the recently retired from the NFL. He is a future Hall of Famer. I want to do right by him and the trust he has put into me coaching his daughter.
"Nature hides her secret because of her essential loftiness, but not by means of ruse." -Albert Einstein
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