What makes a good high school coach?

From years of covering sports, I tend to side with coaches when it comes to job performance, particularly at the high school level. What makes a great high school coach?

Wins are always nice and kids certainly get a kick out of success and all the flattering praise they receive for winning. But think back to the youth teams you competed on. I had drill sargeant types, nice guy types, coaches who played favorites and coaches who tried to be just one of the gang. The coach I favored was the one I learned something from. If I’m picking up a ground ball wrong, I want to know the right way. If I’m tackling wrong, show me the proper technique.

Yes, coaching a high school sports team is more complicated than that. You’ve got to be in tune with your players, know if they’re having academic or personal problems. You have to be more than a coach. You’ve got to be a counselor, a friend, a school administrator.

Coaches have told me the toughest part of the job today is having to placate parents, many who believe there children are good enough at their given sport to receive a college scholarship. So now, not only do off campus coaches have daily jobs they must commit to, but a sports program which needs constant attention, not to mention the instruction aspect.

High school coaches are unsung heroes. OK, so maybe they don’t squeeze out enough wins or overlook some of the details of running a day-to-day program with the precision of a hands-on company president.

Hey, if the kids have a good experience and feel the time they spent was worthwhile, that’s a coaching job well done in my book.