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Inspect your Facility

By Dr. David Hoch, CMAA

For many coaches, their work is all about conducting practice sessions, which help athletes to improve and prepare for their next contest. And of course, the aspect that everyone aims for is the competition and the thrill of winning. While it is understandable to focus on practices and games, there are a few other things that coaches must pay attention to.

Before conducting a practice session, you need to inspect your facility. You are probably thinking: Isn’t that someone else’s responsibility? The answer is no. As the coach, you have to make sure that your field, court, floor, mat, or other area is safe for your athletes. And this has to be done before the start of every practice session or game.

Admittedly, your school may have a grounds crew and custodial staff, and they clean, repair, and maintain your facilities. Also, your athletic administrator should routinely check the various venues, to look for problems and schedule repairs. But on a daily basis, you have the responsibility to ensure that your space is safe for your athletes.

Outdoors, walk up and down your field. Look for broken glass, excrement from dogs or wildlife (deer for example), and even ruts caused by lawn mowers or trucks. Perhaps there are loose stakes in the soccer, field hockey, or lacrosse goals that need to be fastened. Anything and everything that is not correct, and hence unsafe, must be noted and taken care of before your athletes step onto the field.

Indoors, check the floor of the gym. A dusty floor is slippery for the players and potential injuries can result. Are the rims loose on the backboards or are there loose connections for the volleyball standards?

Is this just one more thing to add to your list of things to do? Sure it is. But it is your responsibility to keep your athletes safe.


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 Nastional 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.

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