Exploring interscholastic athletic coaches' development: The athletic director's perspective
Langston, Lisa Lynne
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The purpose of this qualitative study was to explore how interscholastic athletic directors would control for the professional preparation and development of athletic coaches. Research questions guiding this study were (a) what should be professional qualifications for coaches entering the coaching profession; (b) what training system or professional development process should be required for coaches; and (c) what type of performance appraisal system should be used for coaches. The participants were athletic directors, with no coaching responsibilities, of school districts with three or more high schools competing at Texas' largest two classifications in football, boys' basketball and girls' basketball. The participants were 9 men and 3 women. The years of experience as athletic directors ranged from 1 to 47. Face-to-face interviews were digitally recorded and transcribed to produce textual data. The data were coded and analyzed using inductive techniques and revealed nine themes. Based on the participants' perspective, the primary function of coaches is comparable to that of the classroom teacher. However, individuals entering the coaching profession lack proper preparation for the position. Support for a coaches' certification or recertification process to improve the profession varied widely. Sport knowledge is improved through attendance at clinics. Current clinic offerings, however, do not adequately address the nontechnical aspects of coaching. Although professional development requirements are viewed as beneficial, barriers and issues must be resolved before any state requirements should be established. Recommendations that resulted from the study for athletic administrators were (a) become familiar with national standards for sport coaches; (b) require first-year coaches to keep a reflective log; (c) compile a profile of new coaches to assess and direct training and development activities; (d) formalize a systemic growth process utilizing national standards to match the progression from a basic coach to a master coach; (e) provide input to state-based professional coaching associations regarding topics for coaching clinics; (f) explore self-reflective or self-evaluation process to focus on individual improvement; and (g) create a state-based coach's certification and professional development requirement.