All-conference coach-training alternative

Author: Jerry Reeder, ASEP assistant executive director


It’s hard to believe we are in week eight of our football season here in Illinois. We went all summer without any rain and now that football season is here we have had four rain games out of seven this fall! I guess we need to be thankful for the rain; if you’re like us here in Illinois, any moisture is a real blessing for our farm families.

With the winter sports season quickly approaching, I want to share a method of certifying coaches that we adopted while I was an athletic director in Evansville, Indiana. The Southern Indiana Athletic Conference (SIAC) consists of eight high schools in Vanderburgh and Warrick counties. The athletic directors from those eight schools voted unanimously to meet the Indiana High School Athletic Association (IHSAA) coaching education requirements by providing ASEP’s Coaching Principles classroom course to all non-certified coaches in the SAIC. We also agreed to share the responsibility of delivering the classroom courses by training three ADs as ASEP-certified instructors.

Julian Tackett, Kentucky High School Athletic Association (KHSAA) commissioner, was a member of ASEP’s national faculty at the time, and he came to Evansville to conduct the instructor training. I was fortunate to be one of three ADs selected to teach the course and to experience the training Julian provided. Simply put, Julian and ASEP not only changed my personal coaching philosophy, but also my view of the coaching profession and the influence we have on student-athletes. I became a certified Coaching Principles instructor that day, but beyond that, I became a champion for the professional development of all interscholastic coaches.

The SIAC hosted three Coaching Principles classroom courses annually for any coach in the conference who was required to meet the IHSAA requirements. The course was taught in late-July for our fall sport coaches, mid-October for our winter sport coaches, and late-January for our spring sport coaches. The three ADs each taught an equal number of course units and added what we felt were pertinent teaching points throughout the clinic. Sharing the workload not only reduced the time we needed to prepare to teach, but it also provided us an opportunity to interact in the classes as mentor coaches while the other ADs taught their sections of the course. The expenses for the clinics were shared proportionately by each school in the conference that had coaches in attendance.

There were also some hidden advantages that we were unaware of when we made the decision to host a conference-wide clinic. They became very apparent when we tackled the first Coaching Principles classroom activity included in the course, “Recordbook Rodney.” The discussion this activity generated from multiple sport coaches representing several schools was unbelievable! It carried over to the remaining classroom activities making for a very interactive and rewarding day for the coaches in attendance. I also believed it sparked an attitude of camaraderie among coaches from different sports representing multiple schools in our conference. This would not have happened if the course was conducted in each individual school or if the class was delivered in an online format.

I encourage you to explore the idea of conducting classroom clinics that bring together coaches from all schools in your conference. As the leader of the athletic program in your school, you strive to provide the best sport experience possible for your student-athletes. I think we can agree that the quality of your kids’ sport experiences begin and end with your coaches and, in my opinion, there is no better tool for training a coach than the Coaching Principles classroom course. Don’t hesitate to give me a call or drop me a line if I can assist with any of your coaching education needs.

God Bless,

Coach Reeder
800-747-5698, ext. 2325