Training Day


By Shaleek Blackburn

There’s no question that athletic leaders, specifically coaches, play a pivotal role in influencing, guiding and teaching today’s student athletes. In order for teams to be competitive, focused and successful, they must have an effective coach calling the shots. An athletic administrator’s “Duty to Select, Train and Supervise Coaches” is by far the most prudent and critical strategy to maintain a winning sports program.

“The selection process starts by making sure coaching candidates have not only the competency to teach, but are qualified and a good fit for the team or sport,” says Tom White, director and founder of the Masters of Arts in Coaching and Athletic Administration program at Concordia University Irvine. In addition to professional and educational credentials, coaches should be screened for their personal, moral and ethical qualifications. White asserts: “Administrators need to make certain coaches don’t have any behaviors or past actions that would disqualify them from coaching.” Once hired, the development and evaluation process continues.

Finally, consistent supervision is necessary to evaluate success, address areas for improvement and identify potential issues that could have unintended legal implications.

“Ongoing coaching education, both from a tactical and planning perspective, is extremely important,” White says. “Coaches should be prepared to evolve along with their programs and players. Sports, like all of life, change; especially strategies and techniques.”

“Athletic directors always need to be mindful of the fact that the actions of all coaches reflect on them and the entire program,” notes White. Of course no program, player or coach is perfect, but if athletic leaders want their operations and student-athletes to be in top shape and also be in a position to avoid potential liability issues, they should make sure their coaches are capable of performing and maintaining the "14 Legal Duties of Athletic Personnel."

“Sports participation is a phenomenal part of the education experience," says White. "Ensuring that athletes are safe, well-coached and have the proper environment allows the great people who coach to be successful and productive leaders."

To view the "14 Legal Duties of Athletic Personnel," visit

3 Tips To “Select, Train And Supervise” Coaches

Top Pick

Does the coach have what it takes to run a successful sports program? Is he or she healthy, competent and professional? Does the candidate have solid moral and ethical values?

Coachable Coaches

Is the coach a lifelong learner, willing to change to suit the program’s needs and follow the 14 Legal Duties?

Positive Role Model

Can you count on the coach to lead by example, protect the players and protect the program?

Tags: coaching, management, sports

Related Stories

Referee holding a flag.

Athletic Personnel’s Duty To Warn

Coach talking with player.

Pay Attention To Your Players

Coach Talks to Player

Good Coaching Develops Exceptional Athletes and People

Back to top