An analysis of the current status of Virginia coaches with regard to a coaching endorsement

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Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University


Interscholastic athletic participation has increased significantly over the last twenty years; with this increase the need for more and qualified coaches is necessary. The purpose of this study was to investigate, in the state of Virginia, the opinions of school superintendents, principals, and athletic coaches toward the practicality of requiring a coaching endorsement for high school coaches, analyze the professional preparation of high school coaches, and what criteria administrators utilize in the selection of coaches.

The population of this research was randomly selected. A total of 315 administrators and 1469 coaches represented each of the three school enrollment divisions. The data received were arranged in tabular form and analyzed according to frequency, the chi-square procedure, and linkage analysis.

The results suggested that:

  1. Endorsement at this point in time is the ideal and not a reality.

  2. The burden of ensuring a minimal level of competency will rest with the local school system, and with help from the state this could be accomplished by sponsoring inservice programs or requiring coaches to enroll in similar programs in colleges and universities.

  3. Administrators should develop and use written qualifications and job analyses for head coaching positions. An intensive review of preparation, experiences, competences, and personality traits should be made prior to the coach's appointment.

  4. Administrators and coaches agreed that the following areas of knowledge are necessary for coaches and should be included in a coaching curriculum: (a) care and prevention of athletic injuries, (b) skills and techniques of each sport, (c) rules interpretation of each sport coached, (d) sports physiology, (e) legal aspects of coaching, (f) coaching theory and strategy, (g) sports psychology, and (h) administrative skills. It may also be concluded that both groups, administrators and coaches, place a heavy emphasis upon the health and safety of each participant, as well as the teaching of proper skills to student athletes at all levels of competition.

  5. The administrators indicated that there is a need for a college or university coaching preparation to improve the standards of coaching especially for academic teachers who desire to coach as well as teach in the classroom.

  6. A physical education degree is not a necessary prerequisite for coaching; however, an assistant coaching position or an internship program and participation on an interscholastic and/or intercollegiate athletic team are considered important experiences for a coach to possess.