Thursday, April 5, 2012

EDUCATION - Coaches Education through Conferences and Clinics

As we start our journey as coaches, we crave knowledge.  We want to meet other coaches and either beg for help or get reassurance that what we are doing is correct.  The though of spending three days with other coaches in our sport is super exciting and we look forward to each class.  As you continue down the path of coaching and get a few years under your belt the idea of a coaches clinic just seems boring.  You have done many of the things that are offered in the class selection and do not feel that you can learn anymore.

I didn’t get to go to many conferences and clinics early on in my career.  I learned most of what I know now from trial and error and talking to the other coaches at games and association meetings.  About 10 years in I was able to save up enough money and start taking some of the courses offered by the National Federation of High Schools (NFHS) and the America Association of Cheer Coaches and Advisors (AACCA).  Then I was lucky enough to attend a large coaches conference in California.  It was an amazing three day event that offered required classes, fun classes, how-to classes and round table discussion time.  It was super exciting and I came away from the weekend energized and ready for the season. 

I think that attending the conference did two things for me.  First it allowed me to listen to coaches from other states and know that we are not alone, we are dealing with the same issues. It was great to be able to offer some input and advise to them from a different line of thinking.  It was also amazing to sit in company with those new coaches that were SO excited about having their first teams and all the ideas they wanted to implement.  Every single class I took I learned SOMETHING.  Whether it was from the speaker or from the other coaches in the room.  I was able to take some great knowledge away from it.  I was able to go with an assistant coach and we each took different classes and were able to compare notes so that we got twice the information. 

I don't attend the conference in California anymore simply because it is too expensive, but our state association started offering a coaches retreat that is small, but growing.  The classes I took last year were all classes that I had taken before, but were taught by different people from different backgrounds.  I actually walked out of a stunt class (which I have taught to other coaches) with three pages full of notes!  It was different ideas on how to teach a stunt or a little bit different technique for struggling groups.

Even as a veteran coach you can get information from a clinic or a class.  If anything you will be able to offer advise to the newer coaches and become refreshed and excited about your own team.  So Go!  Sign up for that fundraising class, or chorography class.  Sit, listen, and take something home that can turn your thoughts around.


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