Minimum requirements??

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altius
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Minimum requirements??

Unread postby altius » Tue Sep 05, 2006 5:04 am

Since the majority view appears to be that a teaching background brings no real benefit to a coach I would like to turn the equation around and ask - "What do folk think the MINIMUM requirements should be if someone wants to coach the pole vault."

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Re: Minimum requirements??

Unread postby cdmilton » Tue Sep 05, 2006 9:00 am

I think it depends on the circumstances. The first priority would be the safety of the athletes. I have seen some coaches in HS do some completely insane things. Just a little knowledge can be a dangerous thing for some coaches. Just being a vaulter does not guarantee that you know something about pole vaulting. I think you need to at least be around someone knowledgeable to learn about the event and have similar resources to bounce ideas off of so that you can be smart and safe with your coaching. A test or a certification like the http://www.pvscb.com/ could be a good first step.
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Unread postby rainbowgirl28 » Tue Sep 05, 2006 11:11 am

A background check is a really good place to start. :confused:

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Re: Minimum requirements??

Unread postby ADTF Academy » Tue Sep 05, 2006 11:53 am

altius wrote:Since the majority view appears to be that a teaching background brings no real benefit to a coach."


Personally, I think this is the opposite. Of course a teaching degree and knowledge would come in handy. So would a communication degree, a biomechanics degree, etc. There are a lot of different studies that would help make you a better coach. The problem is how long should someone go to school. Yes, constantly learning is one thing and I encourage, but last time I check money doesn't grow on trees in the US despite the thought of many from other countries.


Obviously if you have been put in a situation to work with the youth in a wide range of talent levels in a school teaching setting as practice your more likely to take those skills in other areas such as coaching. I have coached with people who are great when talking to kids (was a grade school teacher), but have her talk to parents she would freeze. Most parents thought she couldn't coach because of how she interacted with them so they wouldn't bring their kids to see her. She was a very good beginner coach, but it didn't matter.

The question I bring back to you and others is simple this. When anyone starts teaching or any profession do they always go in the right direction right away or does it take a couple years to figure out how to go in the right direction and do things correctly.

Yes they have books and an outline of what the right direction is. (in the vault community we have the work of those that came before us) However, a beginner teacher struggles with the same things your talking about a young coach struggling with. How to deal with a large group and get them all on the same path. I don't see the difference there.

A minimum requirement should be maybe an aprentenship of a few years with a well established coach. What determines a well established coach, who knows but we have to start somewhere. In the teaching community they call this student teaching as you finish your degree.


The bottom line is that any profession when someone first starts out they are not going to be perfect. They are not going to always go in the right direction. Is this fair to your supposed cliental. Probably not, but thats why well established coaches get thousands of people to contact them and new coaches don't.

The overall coaching structure in the US is different then other countries. If your a high school/youth coach you get the kids when they are young and learn quickly. So anything you do will make them better. Most people if they see improvement they feel they are doing something right so they continue to do it till the kid leaves for college. So they never work with mature kids that take more precise coaching to improve. To them anything they do will make the kid better so what difference does it make. Is this the right mindset NO, but it happens.


As far as I was in the impression Alan how long does the average kid stay with a coach in Aus. Is track a club sport or a state sport? The average kid that starts with you at lets say 14. How long would that athlete be with you.

Here in the US in some areas if that kid is from a different school with a vault coach. Then usually till they start high school. 1 year. If they don't have a high school coach then maybe till they are 18 when they leave for college.

Another question is do you have complete control over your vaulters training. The average high school vaulter is also a sprinter, jumper or some times distance runner that trains with other coaches as well. You might get them 45 minutes a practice. Most high schools compete 3 times a week. The system over here is not designed to produce, but for social activity. Simply put we just have more athletes so the cream is bound to come to the top. :(

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Unread postby lonestar » Tue Sep 05, 2006 12:57 pm

Interesting topic.

Having been a teacher for 3.5 years prior to coaching full-time, I can say without a doubt that my experience there greatly enhanced my coaching skills. I learned how to interact well with young people, how to be diplomatic with older people, how to develop teaching progressions, how to be structured and regimented, how to manage time, how to be patient, and how to make boring activities more fun; and I wasn't even a PE teacher! English, of all things!

What should be the requirements? For whom? To be a school coach, club coach, college coach, elite coach? A few thoughts:

School coach, at any level. Mandatory certification. This doesn't exist yet. I believe Washington has it, but don't know if it's mandatory. Jan started the ball rolling with PVSCB, but it's an elective, not mandatory, not required, and other than the knowledge, offers no other benefits. For safety purposes, I think the NFHS and NCAA should require mandatory certification that can be done at approved clinics throughout the year around every state. A major undertaking to organize, yes, but well worth the effort to prevent any more deaths or catastrophic injuries. I think safety, basic teaching progressions, risk management, training structure, adjustments, and pole selection would be basic necessities of the curriculum - PVSCB does a good job of it.

As for club coaches, that would be a lot harder to regulate. Anyone can call themselves a club and not be registered. Perhaps if they're a registered club with USATF or AAU, those organizations could require certification of the coach in order for their athletes to be eligible to compete under their club name.

I've seen some of the worst pole vaulters make great coaches. I've seen some of the best pole vaulters make lousy coaches. I've seen coaches with degrees in biomechanics, exercise physiology, kinesiology, physical education, and sports management. I've seen coaches without any degrees, that work in a trade, that were far better. There's a lot to be said for personality, patience, caring, and motivation, despite a person's qualifications. That's why I don't feel a degree should be a requirement - there aren't enough good coaches for all the hungry vaulters out there. Still, with safety being the utmost concern, I see no reason why every school or club couldn't cough up $40 or $50 to get their coaches certified, so they can at least be sure the basic knowledge of how to not get someone killed has gotten across.

Jan, lead the way!
Any scientist who can't explain to an eight-year-old what he is doing is a charlatan. K Vonnegut

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Unread postby rainbowgirl28 » Tue Sep 05, 2006 1:08 pm

lonestar wrote:School coach, at any level. Mandatory certification. This doesn't exist yet. I believe Washington has it, but don't know if it's mandatory. Jan started the ball rolling with PVSCB, but it's an elective, not mandatory, not required, and other than the knowledge, offers no other benefits. For safety purposes, I think the NFHS and NCAA should require mandatory certification that can be done at approved clinics throughout the year around every state. A major undertaking to organize, yes, but well worth the effort to prevent any more deaths or catastrophic injuries. I think safety, basic teaching progressions, risk management, training structure, adjustments, and pole selection would be basic necessities of the curriculum - PVSCB does a good job of it.


It is mandatory in Washington and several other states now. If I had to guess, I would guess at least 10 states have some sort of mandatory pole vault coaching certification.

I think the NFHS should require certification, but I think they should leave it up to each state how they want to do it. PVSCB is good, but if a state has the resources to go above and beyind this with hands-on clinics, they should.

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Unread postby rainbowgirl28 » Tue Sep 05, 2006 1:10 pm

One of the big issues being debated at the USATF National Convention last year was mandatory background checks for club coaches.

Most school districts perform background checks on anyone working with their kids. It's time our clubs started doing the same.

I would also be in favor of USATF requiring certification of pole vault coaches, as long as it wasn't level 1 certification. It would need to be something more accessible like the PVSCB.

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Unread postby lonestar » Tue Sep 05, 2006 1:35 pm

Agreed - hand-on clinics would be much more beneficial than just what PVSCB has to offer online. In fact, while I like PVSCB's curriculum, I think it would need to be taught in a hands-on situation to have much effect.

Having been through Level I twice, I think it's fairly useless for pole vaulting certification purposes. Level II is much more educational and intensive, but impractical for the majority who can't give up a week out of the year.

Background checks are a good idea, but who would handle it? My club was created by me, and run by myself. Who would do a background check on me for my club? Or would USATF do a background check before approving registration of my club? I know some parents in my club took it upon themselves to do background checks before bringing their kids to practice.
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Unread postby rainbowgirl28 » Tue Sep 05, 2006 1:56 pm

lonestar wrote:Background checks are a good idea, but who would handle it? My club was created by me, and run by myself. Who would do a background check on me for my club? Or would USATF do a background check before approving registration of my club? I know some parents in my club took it upon themselves to do background checks before bringing their kids to practice.


Those were some of the many issues discussed at convention. It is much needed, but a very complicated thing to work out.

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Unread postby Tim McMichael » Fri Sep 08, 2006 2:38 pm

Dean Dial was a great coach by any standard, and he only had an eighth grade education. He was, however, a kind of natural genius. He had a command of physics and biomechanical principles that, as far as I can tell, he came up with out of his own head. People like that though are few and far between. He was definitely the exception and not the rule.

I agree that a background check is essential when considering a coach. It can be done easily by anyone willing to make a few phone calls. Simply talk to former athletes and parents and you will get a good picture of what kind of coach you are dealing with. If you did a background check on old Mr. Dial you would find a world record holder, an NCAA champion, multiple All Americans, and that nobody got hurt – eighth grade education notwithstanding. You would also find that he was obsessed with the end of the world. Then you could make a judgment about whether he would be a good fit as a coach. Any coach who refuses to provide references should be rejected out of hand.

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Unread postby rainbowgirl28 » Fri Sep 08, 2006 3:06 pm

Tim McMichael wrote:I agree that a background check is essential when considering a coach. It can be done easily by anyone willing to make a few phone calls. Simply talk to former athletes and parents and you will get a good picture of what kind of coach you are dealing with. If you did a background check on old Mr. Dial you would find a world record holder, an NCAA champion, multiple All Americans, and that nobody got hurt – eighth grade education notwithstanding. You would also find that he was obsessed with the end of the world. Then you could make a judgment about whether he would be a good fit as a coach. Any coach who refuses to provide references should be rejected out of hand.


I was talking about a criminal background check, but talking to references will definitely tell you more about the person as a coach, and I would definitely recommend that.

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Unread postby souleman » Fri Sep 08, 2006 10:12 pm

Couple of comments here. I have to agree that a degree in teaching would be a huge benefit for a coach. Does that mean that only teachers (licensed) should coach? No way. There are many non teachers that can communicate with athletes and young people in general. Those are the best candidates for a coaching position. Chris and I have seen some of those coaches that shouldn't be coaching right here in Minnesota. We've also seen some very good ones too. Chris (cdmilton) can pick 'em out better than me because he is one of the best in Minnesota and he's not a teacher. I'm not a very good coach yet but I'm working on it. I passed Jan's course and I passed the background check required by Mounds View High School. I also peruse this web site all of the time for tidbits that I can present to my kids. I am trying to gleen every piece of information about this event that I can both to help me improve but also to pass it on to athletes who can actually reproduce what I've learned. All of this, and I'm only a volunteer coach. I think what is the most imporant thing for a coach of the pole vault, is to be a person who really trys to understand this event, always keep their vaulters safe and presents these ideas to their athletes in a manner that the athlete understands and can achieve. That's what makes agood coach. Later.........Mike
P.S. Good question Alan


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