Monday, March 21, 2011

HIO: The High School Coaching Imbalance


According to the National Federation of State High School Associations (NFHS), there are 7.6 million high school sport participants in the United States. More than half, 55.1%, of high school students participate in high school sports, per NFHS 2009-2010 data.

These high school sport participation statistics are even more staggering when compared to participation numbers within collegiate athletics. According to a February 2010 NCAA Student-Athlete Ethnicity Report, there is an estimated 420,000 NCAA student-athletes accross all three divisions. That means there about 18 times more high school athletes than there are college athletes in this country.

While this discrepancy is understandable, as there are more high schools than colleges in the United States, the numbers are still quote shocking.  This means coaches at the high school level have more of am impact on American youth in society, compared to their college counterparts.

It is also worth noting high school coaches are less trained compared to college coaches. High school coaches are typically educators who happen to either have played the given sport they coach or have some form of athletic experience.

Remember those high school days? There was a time when a handful of educators, typically physical education teachers, dueled as coaches of high school sports teams. More often than not, the fall soccer coach also coached the volleyball team in the winter and the lacrosse team in the spring. I think you get the point.

Taking all of this information into account, it is clear high school coaches have a much larger impact on our youth than college coaches, but are also highly less qualified.

Being this piece is one entirely focused on social commentary, I neither have a solution to this imbalance, nor am I convinced a change is needed. The point of this week's edition of HIO, is that as a society, we allow less-qualified individuals to coach the largest population of individuals. Heck, if coaches at the professional level, like Vince Lombardi or Pat Riley, really enjoyed coaching the lessons and skills of their given sport, why didn't they focus on coaching at the youth hand high school levels? They would have had an impact on more individuals.

Now, please do not think I am attempting to knock high school coaches or coaches in general. Truthfully, the coaches I had throughout my high school soccer career were U.S. Soccer and United States Soccer Federation (USSF) certified. Our head coach had the necessary certification required to coach the U.S. National Team. In addition, one of my brothers is a high school social studies teacher and a high school assistant girls soccer coach. In fact, I still consider coaching as a possible career path and have a small amount of experience in it.

Ironically, my bit of coaching experience has been in the youth and high school level. An inexperienced coach, that is where I stared coaching. Perhaps it is just the way things are. Maybe the imbalance will never change. 

What do you think? Share your thoughts below.

Yours in Sport,
Kevin F. Giordano


Kevin Giordano is a sophomore Sport Management major, with experience working in women’s and men’s professional soccer and collegiate athletics. To contact or connect with Kevin, follow him on Twitter (@KevinGiordano).

1 comment:

  1. Although perhaps by education level, the high school coaches may seem more inexperienced and imbalanced compared to college athletes and coaches, but they sometimes have a bigger impact on a student. Many times, the bond between coaches and students can be stronger in high school, when the coach doesn't have to be taught "how to be a good coach" like many experienced college coaches are.