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What I Wish I Could Tell My Coach: High School Athletes’ Thoughts on the Performance of Their Coaches

Jerry Flaws

Abstract


Extracurricular high school sports are a major part of the educational experience of students at Strathmore High School (SHS), and coaches play a vital role in meeting the philosophy of education-based athletics by designing an athletics program that adheres to the mission statement of SHS (“Empowering a community of accomplished and caring citizens”) and the philosophy statement of the Alberta Teachers Association (for school athletics programs to provide experiences that will help students grow physically, mentally, emotionally, socially, and morally). The purpose of this project was to survey all of the student athletes at SHS for the 2019–2020 school year to determine if they felt that their coaches were meeting these benchmarks, as well as to ask them to share openly and honestly with their coaches about how they felt they were doing in their coaching role. Student athletes answered nine survey questions. Although they felt that their coaches could improve in the areas of setting clear and realistic expectations, negativity, and favoritism, they felt that their coaches were doing well in creating community and connection, in role modeling, and in creating a fun experience. This information shows the need for greater conversation and consistency between all of the coaches and members of the athletics staff to ensure the mission and philosophy are being met. I hope that the coaches at SHS, as well as at other schools, will use the findings of this paper to reflect on their own coaching practice to determine in what areas they need some improvement and in what areas they are doing well.

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