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Coaching a Second Sport

By Dr. David Hoch, CMAA, CIC

Even if you are a new coach, you surely realize that coaching is extremely demanding in terms of time, energy, and effort. When you factor in scouting opponents, planning practice sessions, and preparing game plans before you even directly work with your athletes, it can start to feel overwhelming. In addition, you may have to organize summer leagues, plan and conduct conditioning programs and attend meetings. There is always something that has to be done.

What if your athletic director comes to you and asks if you would coach a second sport. Is it crazy to take on this additional commitment? My answer is: No! It’s not crazy. In fact, it can be very rewarding and balance nicely with your primary sport.

What are some reasons to start coaching a second sport? One is that is furthers the goal of reducing sport specialization. It is widely suggested by numerous experts that athletes should not specialize due to overuse injuries and the possibility of burn out. Competing in multiple sports can be beneficial for improving agility, learning another role on a team, making additional friends and having fun. Other than the aspects of overuse injuries and perhaps improving agility, wouldn’t these reasons also apply to coaches? Absolutely yes!

And possibly more important, it shows athletes the importance of going multi-sport. When athletes see coaches involved in more than one sport, they see the positives of branching out themselves.

Another reason is to help your school athletic department. It is becoming increasingly difficult to fill all coaching positions in an athletic program. Having an experienced, existing coach from another sport within the program will greatly help your athletic director. And you would have a head start on understanding the expectations and protocols involved.

Your major focus will still be your main sport, and your athletic director will understand this. But getting away from your athletes and team can provide you with additional insight and experiences. You will have the opportunity to work with other coaches and learn new approaches to dealing with athletes and a team. Also, you will encounter and be able to form working relationships with another group of diverse young people—and this is one of the main reasons you entered coaching in the first place.

Lastly, the athletes in your primary sport may also benefit by you coaching another one. During any season, it is intense for athletes just like coaches. Even players who have a great relationship with a coach need and appreciate a break by the time the season comes to an end. Time away from each other is usually just what is needed in order to regenerate and to approach the next season with passion, energy, and enthusiasm. You have to recharge and that may mean a coach-athlete separation.

If you have other obligations, especially to your family, you should think long and hard about taking on the new responsibility, though. Talk it over with your spouse or partner, and if you have children, especially young ones, consider what activities of theirs that you may miss and how coaching another sport will affect the family unit.

If you are ready for more challenges, rewarding experiences, and fun, coach another sport! It can be a great opportunity. When do you start?

 

David Hoch retired in 2010 after a 41-year career as a high school athletic director and coach. In 2009, Dr. Hoch was honored as the Eastern District Athletic Director of the Year by the National Association for Sport and Physical Education. He was also presented with the National Interscholastic Athletic Administrators Association Distinguished Service Award, and in 2000 he was named the Maryland State Athletic Director Association’s Athletic Director of the Year. Dr. Hoch has authored over 460 professional articles and made more than 70 presentations around the country. He welcomes comments and questions and can be reached at: davidhochretad@gmail.com.

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