WIAA says not to offer advice to kids from other schools...

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rainbowgirl28
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WIAA says not to offer advice to kids from other schools...

Unread postby rainbowgirl28 » Mon May 10, 2010 11:14 pm

OK up here in WA, we are all pretty friendly and most of the coaches get along well. In some areas there are coaches with clubs, and they often end up helping many of the vaulters in the area. I did this up in Seattle for a couple years.

I have been in contact with a coach who is in this situation. He has a year-round club, so he works with many of the vaulters in the area in the off-season. He and I have both attended several meets this year, where he has been helpful both as an official and as an advice-giver, also loaning poles to some vaulters.

Let me be clear, his advice is solicited and welcomed by the coaches of the schools he was assisting. This is not a case of a coach being annoying by trying to coach everyone. As far as I can tell, he was only helping the kids he had a pre-existing relationship with, with the full blessing of their coaches. And it's not like he was taking the kids off and secretly giving them advice, he would consult with the athlete and their school coach.

Anyway, I don't know all of the background, but this has become an issue that was brought to the attention of the WIAA.

This email is from a WIAA staffer:
***,

*** forwarded your email to me for a response. There are no WIAA rules to prevent your pole vault coach from coaching a pole vault club, provided he coaches only students from other schools during the out-of-season time period. There are no WIAA rules to prevent him from coaching those students during non-school events. If he coaches any of them during a school event, however, he would then be considered to be a coach for that school, and would be violating the out-of-season coaching rules any time he coaches those students during the out-of-season time period.

He would also be placing those other schools into a liability situation that would be difficult to defend since he had not been contracted by one of those school districts. He has also placed those schools into the unfortunate situation of violating a WIAA rule, making them subject to sanctions from their league, WIAA District and state association. We need to find out what school these students attend, the number and dates of the school track meets where he coached them. The frequency of the violation will determine the penalties to be assessed.




Soooooooo... I guess any time I offer advice to an athlete from another school, I am suddenly a coach for that school? :deadrose:


Here's the kicker... in Washington, we have a rule requiring pole vault coaches to be certified. This rule has NEVER actually been enforced, and I think it's been around since 2003. Thanks to the mighty power of athletic.net, I was able to identify over 20 schools who have pole vaulters competing this year who do NOT have a properly certified coach. I am sure some have perfectly safe coaches who just didn't jump through the right hoops, but I know some of these schools have kids who are receiving little to no supervision in practice and meets, and who are unsafe.

Sooo coaches have to be certified, but we're not going to actually do anything about a school who is not providing a certified coach. But don't you dare try to help one of those kids!!! :deadrose: :no:

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Re: WIAA says not to offer advice to kids from other schools...

Unread postby rainbowgirl28 » Tue May 11, 2010 12:08 am

My email to the WIAA staffer involved:
***, I am concerned by your interpretation regarding coaches helping athletes from other schools during competition.

The pole vault is an event that requires supervision. Here in Washington, we are blessed to have a very friendly pole vault community, whose coaches are very open to sharing information and resources among ourselves. This makes the sport safer for everyone.

Many pole vault coaches are not teachers and do not have the luxury of a schedule that allows them to attend every single competition. It is quite common for them to ask a coach from another school to supervise their kids if they cannot attend the event. I have been asked to do this many times, and I STILL am thanked profusely by the head coach and parents from a 2B school for helping them when their coach was unable to attend the pole vault competition at the B State Championships ~8 years ago when it was delayed a day and moved indoors due to inclement weather.

If I am at a competition with other coaches I respect, I will frequently ask them for advice about my athletes, and I am frequently asked for advice about kids from other schools. I fail to see how a coach offering a few tips to an athlete from another school suddenly makes them a "coach" for that school. This is a ruling that makes the sport less safe, not more.

Here is what kills me about this decision: Since 2003, the WIAA has required pole vault coaches to complete an approved certification course once every three years. To the best of my knowledge, this has never actually been enforced, with the WIAA mistakenly believing that liability issues would make all schools compliant. Thanks to data available to the public on athletic.net, and the published list of certified coaches on the WIAA website, I recently identified over 20 schools who have vaulters actively competing this year, and do not have a certified coach. One of these schools is in my league, and their vaulters have never received any supervision in meets, and it is clear that they do not know what they are doing, putting their safety at risk, which is why I began looking into the issue in the first place.

I passed this information on to Tim Reilly, who is in charge of the pole vault safety certification program, and he passed it along to ***, they have been discussing the issue.

Setting a precedent that essentially forbids a coach from ever offering any advice to athletes from other schools seems especially unwise given that the WIAA has not done everything on its end to ensure that each school offering the pole vault is properly staffed. I have always considered it good sportsmanship to help out other athletes when requested, I will even loan them my equipment, though it could mean that they beat my athletes.


I have attended several meets this year with ***, the coach in question, and I can tell you that his feedback was welcomed by all parties involved, and that he has been making the sport safer. I know my opinion is not worth anything in this matter, but taking any disciplinary action against any of the individuals or schools involved seems extreme. The WIAA handbook does not clearly define what level of contact with an athlete makes someone a coach. A reasonable person would assume that someone who shows up to help at practice at a school would be considered a coach, but it is certainly debatable whether an individual, when asked by the school's coach for advice, suddenly becomes a coach for that school. That seems to be a stretch, and if the WIAA wants to interpret the rule that way, it should be spelled out as such in the handbook.

I hear a rumor that a "report" is going to be filed with the WIAA regarding pole vault coaches helping kids from other schools. If this is true, I hope that you will make this information available to any interested parties.


Thank you,
Becca Gillespy Peter
Pole Vault Power
http://www.polevaultpower.com/

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Re: WIAA says not to offer advice to kids from other schools...

Unread postby rainbowgirl28 » Tue May 11, 2010 1:39 am

I got a ton of comments on my Facebook, here are a few:
hmm...their rules may be more messed up than the NCAA's!

and they want to control everything we do as coaches and even our free time.

If only they just let vault coaches do their thing

Wow, I'm shocked that this would ever be an issue! I completely agree with you!

What the WIAA doesn't know can't hurt them, them or anyone else (at least in this context)
at least they are not as messed up as the IHSA (Illinois) rules

Do you realize how many coaches are in violation? Potentially 50%. Maybe more. This is getting ridiculous. WIAA is out of control.

Most coaches want the best for athletes, regardless of the team they are on. That's why we are coaches in the first place, to help young athletes enjoy and get better at their event.
So what's "advice"? And what's cheering for an athlete from another team?
"Good job, Joe! Kick it in!"
Or showing an athlete where their footplant was on a jump?

I would trust a fellow coach to catch steps before a meet official. I've seen how bad they can be. Rick, your right. 100% control. We wouldn't have stupid rules about, different color under armour, jewelry, tattoos, etc. Every year theres a new rule that only exists here at the HS level.

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Re: WIAA says not to offer advice to kids from other schools...

Unread postby ashcraftpv » Tue May 11, 2010 2:40 am

my question is: how many actual coaches are consulted when making rules of this nature? I guess I'm the coach for a lot of different schools now :confused:
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Re: WIAA says not to offer advice to kids from other schools...

Unread postby star-vault » Tue May 11, 2010 3:28 am

More specifically, I was told not to communicate with anyone other than my high school kids, including at my practices at my club from 8pm-10pm at night.
During meets, I'm not even allowed to give solicited advice. Also, during meets, if a kid came off-the-wall after being 2-3 feet under, I can't offer help with the steps. If a kid over-bends a pole and I may hear it cracking, I must refrain from telling anyone.

Those two conditions are the only times I offer help to other schools.

It's about safety.

Other than that, I want my school to win!

Thanks Becca! :yes:

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Re: WIAA says not to offer advice to kids from other schools...

Unread postby rainbowgirl28 » Tue May 11, 2010 12:41 pm

Reply from the WIAA

Becca,

I’m not sure what your position is with any of the schools, but I can assure you that the WIAA staff is authorized and responsible to interpret the WIAA handbook, rules and regulations. You may not agree with the interpretations, but the schools are obligated to abide by them. A practice is defined in the WIAA handbook – in both Article 17 and in the accompanying questions and answers found after that section.

WIAA rules do not prohibit a coach from instructing or assisting another coach, but do limit a coach’s involvement with student athletes. A coach from one school does not have the authority to instruct athletes, or to supervise athletes from another school without authorization from that athlete’s school district.

Yes, pole vault coaches are required to take or renew pole vault certification every three years. As is the case with all WIAA rules and regulations, the member schools are responsible for monitoring compliance. There is absolutely no way that five WIAA staff members can monitor coaches standards compliance among the thousands of coaches in this state.

I don’t know about a “report”, but if a member school becomes aware that a WIAA handbook violation has occurred, that school is required to self-report the violation to its league, to its WIAA District, and ultimately to the WIAA Executive Board. If a coach provides instruction to an athlete during the season, and then also provides instruction during the out-of-season time period to that same athlete, a violation of the out-of-season coaching rules has most definitely occurred. Based on the situation that was described to me yesterday, a violation will need to be reported. Regardless of their intent, school coaches do not have the authority to circumvent the WIAA rules.

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Re: WIAA says not to offer advice to kids from other schools...

Unread postby star-vault » Tue May 11, 2010 4:30 pm

Obviously, many schools are not in compliance, so it’s not working.
Simple database management will automatically keep track of those in need of certification.
I can offer this service for free in order to clear the air.
There’s a difference between instructing an athlete and raising concerns about safety issues.
As a trained, experienced and certified coach, I’m liable for any accidents occurring on behalf of not communicating any potential dangers to any and all parties concerned because I’m a trained professional acting in due care within a reasonable man’s standard as an extension of WIAA’s plumb line.
Too many mixed-messages and finger-pointing only complicates this issue and proves that with the lack of integration, we will continue to fail in keeping our kids safe! This proves that “we” don’t understand the seriousness of this issue. We need to do a better job as adults and set an example for our kids as well as for the community and make the appropriate changes, as need be, in order to protect the best interest of the kids and their parents who pay the taxes. Doing nothing doesn’t work!
Two things must be amended now!
1) We shall help those in need when safety is an issue.
2) We shall use pole series in practices in order to help the kids get on the appropriate size and weight competition pole during track meets.
Regarding number 2):
Safety! Certified coaches are trained professionals with an eye for the physics involved in proper pole usage according to the athlete’s ability. A beginner shouldn’t be expected to use a 14’ 180lb pole if that’s the only 180lb pole available. Pole series allows a coach to use the resources available in order to train proper technique so the athlete will, indeed, be able to use the 14’ 180lb pole in due time. Too many athletes get injured because most schools don’t have the luxury of purchasing every pole possible, with every weight class, and length, and type, and flex rating, and sail-piece location, in order to help produce a safer and more successful outcome for the athlete. That makes sense. Get the proper insurance?
The following memo was issued by Tim Reilly to no avail:
I got an email from Louis about some pole issues you guys
are having. He's asked me to explain why, if ever, I would use and
consider it safe to use an under weighted pole during a practice
session. The reason I do it is because the number one safety issue is
always to be safe landings in the center of the pit. Of course if
kid is landing shallow on a legal weighted pole, one could always
lower her grip until she can finally turn it over. Doing so would
dramatically delay her learning to bend a pole if she is a larger
athlete. Tall skinny kids can seem to bend their legal weighted poles
sooner. Letting them feel an easier bending pole at a lower velocity
run speeds up the learning curve safely. It is like letting hurdlers
learn on adjustable height hurdles, even though the legal height may
be higher once track meets come around. Confidence means a lot to
pole vaulters, and a sharp coach knows how to manage this. Every
athlete I've ever had uses under weighted poles now and then,
especially for short run, low velocity repetitions without stress to
learn new motor movements and land in the center of the pit. That's
straight out of the state safety certification handbook, which Louis
has studied a few times now. Another, more expensive way to get the
same learning curve going, is to have shorter legal weighted poles for
everyone. You might have all weights in lengths of 10, 10'8 then 11
and 11'5, for example. This is a very expensive and luxurious way to
do it, but kids could use these poles in meets if they are struggling
to bend as your larger 140 pound girl is. If you had no interest in
my input on this topic, my apologies. I just offer a remark as the
safety chairman for you to add to your conversation. For the actual
text in the safety book, have Louis show you the page on pole
management, and it is one of the last remarks in there. Cheers. Tim

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Re: WIAA says not to offer advice to kids from other schools...

Unread postby baggettpv » Wed May 12, 2010 1:53 am

I have found this issue to be on of constitutional rights. If I am employed by a school district, that defines my contract times in hours and minutes, then the rest of my time belongs to me. How I spend that time belongs to me. If I decide to spend that time doing something similar the previous governing body has no legal right to regulate me. It's my time, not there's.
Simple, and thats what the ;awyers said in 1986 in Kent. Had a similar experience with the OSAA in Oregon with girls Pole Vault and Title 9.

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Re: WIAA says not to offer advice to kids from other schools...

Unread postby star-vault » Wed May 12, 2010 4:01 am

The irony is that not until today did anyone ask me if I in fact coached any kid from any other school one-on-one.
-And based on a one-sided source, the verdict was made by WIAA:
“Based on the situation that was described to me yesterday, a violation will need to be reported.”
The truth is that it’s okay to collaborate with other coaches and it’s okay to speak-up when it’s an issue of safety.
I’d like to get to the bottom of this and find out who was motivated to report this, in this way, and why.
All this is strange because I never operated any club during the fall and winter in over 15 years!
-I know I have the right to do so within certain parameters, but I didn’t… ever.
My main concern about WIAA is clearly shown in this simple thread.
Examples:
1) Inability to enforce certification.
2) Inability to track certification status.
3) Mixed-messages about pole series. Certification clinics teach us how to use pole series!
4) The need to report an alleged violation before finding out the facts.
Negligence.
Not only are we not able to help others, because of this, we can’t help our own kids with a safe pole series. -As if coaching the pole vault doesn’t have enough problems of its own. The inability for WIAA to conduct their own governing body in a streamlined, knowledge-based (re: pole vault), professional approach, raises concerns as to why and how could this happen?

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Re: WIAA says not to offer advice to kids from other schools...

Unread postby Robert schmitt » Thu May 13, 2010 1:37 pm

Dick Henrie had this issue a few years ago. He ran summer programs wich kids from several of the surrounding Bellingham schools attend and he was the Sehome PV coach. During the track season Dick would go to meets for the bellinham hs , nooksak, mount baker, lynden christian schools and this was found to be a violation. I think this is more the situation WIAA rules may apply although I don't agree with it. Not where there is no organized summer program where these other athletes are coming to and the coach is specifically going to other meets to coach those athletes.

It sounds like this situation is different b/c there is no summer program for the other athletes.
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Re: WIAA says not to offer advice to kids from other schools...

Unread postby star-vault » Thu May 13, 2010 1:50 pm

Actually I do run a summer club after track.

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Re: WIAA says not to offer advice to kids from other schools...

Unread postby rainbowgirl28 » Thu May 13, 2010 3:06 pm

I think Dick's issue was that he also had indoor winter practices - out of season contact. Also his summer club runs into August which is a no contact period. It's perfectly legal to run a club during the season and summer before August.

In Dick's case, he only became the official coach for one HS because they weren't going to be able to have PV otherwise, I think that was part of what started the whole mess.


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