Recently, I had the pleasure to work with a number of kids outside our high school student body. These handfuls of kids I believe have benefited from the openness of our off season training group. I enjoyed the experience to have my kids work with other coaches as a part of our summer track and field team. As I blogged previously different coaches working with an athlete can be advantageous if all parties involved don’t over step their bounds. I have seen these benefits from a more serious training group, different training cycles, a use of a different prompt, or just simply a fresh pair of coaching eyes with the ability to identify a problem that might have been previously invisible.
However, it is important to have an open line of communication so that egos don’t get in the way of what is truly best for the athlete. Many summer track and high school coaches have yet to figure out this important lesson.
From personal experience I have seen the positives and negatives of sharing an athlete. Fortunately, most of these encounters have been overwhelmingly positive. Enclosed below I included a few tips to help you share an athlete with another coach and limit drama.
One: never agree to train outside athlete in the off season without first communicating with their high school coach. Call and e-mail. Let the athlete know they must communicate what they are doing with their main coach. It is better to make sure you are the one contacting the coach because often high school kids are forgetful. Plus, the coach my want to join forces and the group gets stronger.
Two: you must avoid comparing yourself to the other coach. If an athlete is with you they have chosen to train with you for good reasons. It’s your job not to try to better then the “other” coach. Instead it is your job to be the best coach you can be. This is not as easy as it sounds and I have to catch myself from doing this even now.
Three: always err on side of less when choosing daily work load. The last thing you want to be known as is the coach who hurts everyone kids.
Four: be careful how much credit you take for an athlete’s success. If push comes to shove and you feel uncomfortable give the credit to the athlete. After all they are the people really busting their butt day and night. Ken my assistant coach still reminds me of this often. (I get a little too excited at times)
Five: don’t be secretive. Share what you are doing with the athlete’s main coach. Meet with the coach a couple times if possible. If the coach requests you include certain types of training or drills do your best to respect the coach’s wishes in the athletes training. Anything you can do to keep the coach and athlete comfortable the better!
Six: don’t ever put a kid from another program ahead of your own kids. Avoiding favoritism might seem tough to do at times. Remember you will only be really judged by what your kids produce at your school.