News Article on Private Coaches for Track

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VaultPurple
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Re: News Article on Private Coaches for Track

Unread postby VaultPurple » Mon Apr 18, 2011 7:26 pm

I will post a new topic on this but I wanted to gain what people feel the difference in opinion lies between a private coach and a volunteer coach?

I recently talked to a parent of a female high school pole vaulter who told me his daughter jumped about 7' her first year at a school with no coach, but they had a guy who wanted to come volunteer and help out for free. This guy was a 5.15m pole vaulter and a 7600+ point decathlete. The problem is that the high school coaches and athletic director told him that he could not come out and help for free and there was too much liability. They don't even want him coming on the campus.

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Re: News Article on Private Coaches for Track

Unread postby rainbowgirl28 » Tue Apr 19, 2011 1:42 am

Lots of HS coaches are volunteer. Like me.

I don't know why a school would turn away a volunteer coach unless he was unwilling to do the background checks or if he only wanted to coach the one athlete.

Most schools love volunteer coaches, unless it's a weird state like Texas where I have heard they only want teachers as school coaches? A lot of schools might favor teachers as coaches, but when you get into the pole vault, it is usually SO hard to find a qualified coach, that they'll take whatever they can get.

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Re: News Article on Private Coaches for Track

Unread postby PV Official » Wed May 04, 2011 1:00 pm

http://www.maxpreps.com/news/eSeDOXKnEe ... debate.htm

Personal track coaches - the raging debate
Some high school coaches ban them from their program, others welcome personal coaches like Stacy Dragila and Toni Campbell.
Tuesday, May 03, 2011
By: Steve Brand | MaxPreps.com

Say you are a pretty fair high school track athlete but you want to get better. Quickly.

You have two choices: Stick with your high school coach who brought you along and who knows you better than anyone, or hire a personal coach.

It would be terribly tempting to try the latter, especially if that personal coach is a former world-record holder and Olympic gold medalist. And that's where opinions split, sometimes dramatically.

Some high school coaches, especially at smaller schools or ones with no budget and only one or two assistant coaches would welcome the extra help, provided the family could afford it. Others, usually those with larger and more experienced coaching staffs, find it a distraction not just to the athlete, but to the team as a whole.

Just as in sports where there have been personal assistants for a long time — tennis, golf, soccer, swimming, volleyball, even football and basketball — the success of the athlete using a personal coach depends on many factors and in no way is a guarantee of success.

Quite the opposite say coaches who have had to battle personal coaches who are teaching the athlete things that may be contradictory to what the high school coach has planned.

"Every kid at Mt. Carmel (San Diego) knows that we coach them, giving them what they need even in the offseason," says coach Dennis McClanahan, who runs the highly successful Sundevil Invitational track and Mt. Carmel Invitational cross country meets. "If they don't want to run for us, they can run for the San Diego Track Club."

McClanahan does have the luxury of six assistant coaches in track, many of whom are ex-MCHS athletes who have been with the program for years. He chafes at the thought that his athletes are somehow being cheated if they don't seek extra help.

"If I didn't know what I was doing, then OK," he says. "I'm old-style, I'm not just here to help them throw far or run fast. We teach values and improvement and being a part of the team. I realized when some of my vaulters were getting good that I didn't know enough about the event so I went to clinics where I could learn from others and teach my kids."

One of McClanahan's athletes, 7-foot high jumper Brandon Ford, says Sundevil assistant coach Mark Brownstead has been his mentor since he started jumping as a freshman.

"He knows the sport," said Ford, a senior who is also a 44-foot, 8-inch triple jumper, 22-5 long jumper and 11.25 second 100-meter dash runner for Mt. Carmel, a public school just north of San Diego. "When I started going higher as a junior, he studied the event to make me better. Actually, I've never even considered a personal coach — I just don't need one."

Basically, McClanahan says some of the personal coaches have dubious credentials at best and having an Olympic gold medal or being a world record-holder doesn't necessarily qualify you to be a coach. What worked for one athlete may not work for everyone.

One personal coach who fits the gold medal-world record-holder mold — Stacy Dragila — agrees 100 percent.

"I'm not one to say ‘Do it my way or the highway,' I know there are different ways to reach different athletes," says the Sydney Olympic women's pole vault gold medalist, three-time World Champion and record-breaker in the event 16 times indoors and out.

"I've coached high school kids, Masters athletes, soldiers returning from Iraq — anyone who has a passion. The goal is to make it a positive experience."

Naturally, she brings her own experiences from when she was a hurdler at Placer (Auburn, Calif.) and her high school coach was the wrestling coach who knew nothing about the hurdles. So he lined her up with the Yuba Community College coach whom he knew had a great reputation dealing with hurdlers.

While staying at the Olympic Training Center in Chula Vista, Calif., Dragila had an opportunity to start coaching and now works full-time at it, conducting clinics and camps in the summer and becoming a personal coach to those who seek her help.

"Having the OTC available, being able to train in a casual environment, is an awesome opportunity," she admits. "You never know who might be coming by. For the pole vault, safety is the key and many of these kids just don't have the facilities.

"One of my students, Brett Huff (Christian High, El Cajon, Calif.) had to go to nearby Granite Hills High (El Cajon, Calif.) to practice last season because his school just didn't have the facilities," she said. "He was a 14-foot vaulter last year and he's already cleared 15 this year. I believe he'll go 15-7 before the season is over."

Dragila says she asks each of her students to write out their dream goal and their realistic goal. She will then sit down with them, one-on-one and discuss each goal, just as her coaches did for her in the past.

"Some of them will put down being an Olympic champion as their ultimate goal while others won't give themselves enough credit," she says. "We let them determine their goals and every one of them is on target."

She and another veteran personal coach, former world-ranked hurdler Toni Campbell, can't quite understand the concern of high school coaches.

"It would be criminal to hold a kid back who wanted to make him or herself better," says Campbell. "I never solicit athletes, they find me. I never step on another coach's athletes; I consider it a partnership so there are no hard feelings.

"We both have the same goal — to make the athletes better. I like to use this analogy that if you could help your son or daughter get better SAT scores by getting a tutor, wouldn't you want to do it? Of course you would."

A former assistant coach at his alma mater, USC, Campbell is now coaching at Southwestern Community College is Chula Vista, Calif., but still keeps in touch with as many as 150 athletes he has helped. Campbell says he has never turned down an athlete who has asked for help but couldn't afford his fee, trying to get sponsorships to make up the difference.

He has another analogy he uses when a frustrated hurdler or sprinter seeks his advice.

"I tell them to picture a nice, big cake or pie, make it a big chocolate cake and imagine sitting down and eating the whole thing," he says, smiling. "It would seem impossible. So I tell them the only way to do it is one piece at a time and it's the same thing in getting better. One step at a time."

One his most successful students is sprinter Jenna Puterbaugh, who with the blessing of her coach at Santa Fe Christian High (Solana Beach, Calif.), went from a decent 12.3 and 25.05-second sprinter to bests of 11.69 and 23.7 last year, earning a scholarship to USC.

"If you asked what area he helped me the most, I'd just say everything," says Puterbaugh, who is running everything from the 100 through the 400 this year. "But I still call him a lot for help with mental toughness.

"I had never tapped into the mental toughness side before. He also worked on my start and getting a race plan before every event. The goal is to be able to live with yourself afterward and not get down on yourself."

With that in mind, Puterbaugh still consults with Campbell, saying he has taught her to take responsibility for her performances and instead of beating herself up, analyze every aspect of the race and learn from it to do better the next time.

There was never a conflict with her high school coaches, she says, because they wanted what Campbell wanted, for her to be the best she could. That, and not a shallow promise of a scholarship, which is very rare in track and field, is the goal of both Campbell and Dragila.

Asked what she charges, Dragila was up-front about that, too.

"I charge $50 per session," she said. "Ten lessons are $450 and I charge $500 a month, which is four days a week."

She also says while she's able to make a living, it isn't anything like when she was on the pro track and field tour and besides, that isn't why she's doing it.

"I love what I do," she said. "Anyone in my position wants to give back to the youth, to help them achieve whatever their goals. This is all I do, coaching and running camps. I want to reach as many kids as I can to help them love track like I do.

"The camp features beginners who have never vaulted before to 16-footers. We bring in coaches to help and the kids live and train at the OTC for four full days. Everything is taken care of and I have never had an athlete say they didn't like what we were doing."

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Re: News Article on Private Coaches for Track

Unread postby CowtownPV » Fri May 06, 2011 3:04 pm

There has been alot of good discussion on this and many times I know that the HS coach sucks and the private coach is great but not always. Another thing to consider is that kids and parents are often looking for someone to blame. If their kid isn't jumping as high, then it has to be that dumb school coaches fault. I see many people paying speed, strength,pitching, hitting,QBing, conditioning and vault coaches for no reason. They are getting the same instruction from them that the hs coach is given them. (We had a guy here charging $50 a lesson for speed developement using our equipement) Everybody is looking for that magic secret and not willing to admit it is more about hard work and dedication than anything.
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Re: News Article on Private Coaches for Track

Unread postby Branko720 » Sat May 07, 2011 12:50 am

I don't think anyone is denying the fact that an athlete's hard work is the top priority. I always tell my kids that the hardest worker will be my best vaulter. What I don't understand is the fact that you are denying the fact that there is a need for vault coaches and clubs help fill that void. If clubs weren't needed, and if I never had kids and parents approaching me for lessons when I was coaching at West Milford High School, that's right I started as a HS Coach, I never would have started my club. You are a good pole vault coach, but you must notice that many schools never even have vaulters, and others never had a girl jump 9' or a boy jump 13'. Do those schools not have hard working kids? No they don't have a vault coach or the proper equipment. I don't understand what you have against clubs. And the reason I commented on this topic in the beginning is because I think it is ridiculous that I and other vault coaches are being chased away from meets. I know, background checks and liability right. Last time I checked if a kid gets seriously injured I don't think it matters that a school approved coach was coaching. I'm pretty sure the coach and the school will be sued. And if the coach can be proven to be negligent, it won't matter that he or she was board approved.

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Re: News Article on Private Coaches for Track

Unread postby rainbowgirl28 » Sat May 07, 2011 1:14 am

Branko720 wrote:Last time I checked if a kid gets seriously injured I don't think it matters that a school approved coach was coaching. I'm pretty sure the coach and the school will be sued. And if the coach can be proven to be negligent, it won't matter that he or she was board approved.


If a school "allows" a club coach to coach their kids at meets w/o jumping through the proper hoops, it would almost certainly increase the school's liability should something go wrong. Lawsuits are all about the deep pockets, schools and governing bodies are the ones who are aggressively pursued. Sure, a coach could get taken to the cleaners by a lawsuit, but no lawyer is going to say, "clearly this is the coach's fault, we should not pursue the school." They sue the coach, the school, the state association, etc.

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Re: News Article on Private Coaches for Track

Unread postby CowtownPV » Sat May 07, 2011 8:42 am

I have nothing against the good clubs, they have filled a need. The two points I was making was that kids will blame the coach even if he is good, not just hs coaches but private coaches. I have seen kids switch from club to club and still blame the coach. Sometimes coaches contribute to this by also blaming other coaches. Sometimes a kid needs to be told to listen to his coach and do what he is told. Which leads to my 2nd point in that some clubs are in it for the money. Not many pv clubs but I have heard a private coach tell kids, "your coach doesn't know what he is talking about, come to me and I can fix your problem in just a few lessons". Here in the Ft Worth area we have some great PV clubs with coaches who care about kids but I can't say that is true everywhere. There are some bad hs coaches and some bad private coaches. Just because someone vaulted in hs or even college doesn't make them a great coach.
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