State of Florida
Department of Education
Ralph D. Turlington, Commissioner
This public document was promulgated at an annual cost of $5,639.43
or $1.12 per copy to offer alternative concepts to district school board
members, superintendents, administrators, coaches and other concerned
educators, which may be helpful in planning and conducting quality
ki 0 1 --
No part of the curriculum is more visible to the students,
faculty, patrons, and in fact, to the entire community than
is the interscholastic athletic program. The performance of
the athletes, the competencies of the coaches, the appear-
ance of the facilities, the behavior of the spectators, and
the preparations and plans for the many aspects of crowd
accommodations are constantly assessed by those attending
games and contests. In this type environment, athletes have
unique opportunities to discover and to acquire personal
values while demonstrating cognitive, affective, and motor
behaviors in a laboratory type setting which is always filled
with emotion and excitement. Such opportunities provide
a great challenge to the coaches who are possibly the most
influential adult outside the home in the lives of high school
athletes. These facts influenced the Steering Committee to
place emphasis throughout the handbook on the coaches'
relationships and interactions with students, school per-
sonnel, civic groups and community agencies. Considerable
attention is given to the coaches' moral responsibilities for
consistently exemplifying high principles and ideals.
Also treated are topics such as organization of practice ses-
sions, dietary practices, the use of mood modifying sub-
stances, the prevention and care of minor injuries, the budget,
equipment and facilities, and other relevant subjects. The
committee designed the handbook to serve the needs of all
coaches of all sports sponsored by the school. We also
believe that it will prove to be a handy reference not only
for the coaches but for district school board members,
superintendents, and school administrators as they clarify
roles and identify responsibilities of personnel involved in
the athletic programs of their district and school.
In 1959 the Florida Department of Education released the
first guide for interscholastic coaches ever published. We
want to express appreciation to those who contributed to
the development of that guide which has been widely circu-
lated throughout the nation. We particularly wish to express
deep appreciation to the members of the Steering Committee
for developing this publication as well as to the Florida Athle-
tic Coaches Association, the Florida High School Activities
Association, the National High School Athletic Coaches
Association, and the American Alliance for Health, Physical
Education and Recreation, and to the many individuals who
made numerous diverse contributions.
We are proud to present this Department of Education publi-
cation in the belief that it contains practical information which
can be used as a valuable resource in planning and conduct-
ing quality interscholastic programs for the benefit of the
young people attending Florida schools.
Ralph D. Turlington
Commissioner of Education
The Department of Education, as a part of its ongoing effort
to assure the viability of all education programs, periodically
produces publications which are designed to be helpful to
district and school personnel charged with particular pro-
gram responsibilities. Without the assistance of dedicated
people in the profession such publications would not be pos-
sible. We gratefully acknowledge the dedicated efforts of
the Steering Committee for their planning, writing, compiling,
and organizing the contents. Members of this committee
Mr. Kelly Brock, Superintendent
Washington County Schools
Ms. Barbara Dalsheimer
P. K. Yonge Laboratory School
Mr. Gerald R. Manuel, Principal
Newberry High School
Mr. Tom Perrin, Coach
Lake Weir High School
Dr. Luther Schwich, Chairman
Faculty of Health, Leisure and Sports
University of West Florida
Mr. Bill Carr
Department of Athletics
University of Florida
Mrs. Patricia Losinger, Coordinator
Health and Physical Education
Brevard County Schools
Mr. Carey McDonald, Executive Secretary
Florida Athletic Coaches Association
Mr. William G. Rowe
Assistant Athletic Director
Florida State University
Mr. Jack Taylor, Coach
Fletcher High School
Dr. Paul R. Varnes
Director of Intramurals
University of Florida
In addition to the Steering Committee many others were
involved in preparation of this guide and we wish to offer
them our sincere thanks.
For contributing written portions of the guide:
Mr. Wilts C. Alexander, Jr.
Florida High School Activities
Dr. Owen Holyoak
College of Physical Education, Health
University of Florida
Dr. Ray Ciszek,
American Alliance for Health, Physical
Education and Recreation
Dr. Earl Watson
Faculty of Health, Leisure and Sports
University of West Florida
For contributing technical or specific information:
Mr. Jerry Disch, Coach
Mr. Don Jarrett, Coach
Mr. Floyd E. Lay, Executive Secretary
Florida High School Activities
Mr. Don Fauls
The Winewood Co.
Dr. R. P. Johnson, M.D.
Medical Arts Clinic
Dr. Frank D. Rhoter
Florida Technological University
Mr. Dana Wallace, Athletic Trainer
Plantation High School
And for providing advice and counsel:
Dr. Ray Bickerstaff, Vanderbilt University; Coach Jessie Heard, Gainesville Buchholz;
Mr. Gordon Jeppson, AAHPER; Coach James Johnson, Jacksonville Raines; Mr.
Paul A. Kruse, President FACA & Athletic Director, Ft. Lauderdale Stranahan; Mr.
Clarence Noe, Athletic Director, Broward County; Mr. Richard W. Roberts, Florida
State University; Coach Shirley Sinko, Jacksonville Forrest; Coach Claude Woodruff,
Special recognition is accorded to those individuals who par-
ticipated in the planning and to all persons who contributed
to the development of A Guide-Athletic Coaching In Florida
Schools. This Guide released in 1959 has been used exten-
sively and some of the content has been included in this
Thanks also are extended to Department of Education staff
members particularly those in the Communications/Media
Service Center and those in the Programs of Health and
TABLE OF CONTENTS
Foreword .......................................... i
Acknowledgments .................................... iii
Athletics in Education: Purposes and Philosophy ........... 1
Development of the Individual, Meeting Society's Needs,
Transmitting Cultural Heritage, The Athletic Program,
Values Through Athletics
The Coach and the Nature of the Profession ............... 9
Personal Qualities, Professional Preparation, Inservice
Education, Leadership, Coaching Ethics
The Coach and Interactions with School Personnel ........... 17
The County Administrative Staff and the Coach, Coach-
Principal Relationships, Coach-Athletic Director Rela-
tionships, The Coach As A Member of the Faculty, The
Athletic Department and the Coach, The Head Coach
and Assistant Coaches, The Assistant Coach, Relation-
ships Among Coaches, Auxiliary Persons and the Coach,
The Coach and College Recruiting, Responsibilities of
Coaches to Professional Organizations
The Coach and Student Relationships .................... 27
School Spirit and Citizenship, Scholarship, Guidance
and Counseling, The Band and Drill Teams, The Cheer-
The Coach and the Team ................................ 31
Preseason, Practice Sessions, Pre-contest, During the
Contest, Post-Contest, Off-Season, Prevention and Care
of Minor Athletic Injuries, Athletic Trainers, Strapping,
Practical Answers to Relevant Questions on Nutrition,
Drugs and Sports
The Coach As A Member of the Community ............... 51
Positive Actions for Positive Roles, Moral Respon-
sibilities and Personal Life, Civic Responsibilities, Influ-
ence on Community Agencies and/or Groups
The Coach and Public Relations ........................ 53
The Role of the Coach's Family in Public Relations, Rap-
port with Student Athletes, Rapport with Faculty
Members, Rapport with Community Agencies, Rapport
with Other Coaches, Cooperation with News Media,
Relationships With Game Officials, Crowd Accomoda-
tion and Management
The Coach Looks At Equipment and Facilities ............... 65
Equipment Selection, Care of Equipment, Inventory of
Equipment, Reconditioning Equipment, Facilities, Plan-
ning the Use of Facilities, Planning for Construction and
Major Maintenance, Supervision and Daily Maintenance
The Coach and Legal Liability ........................... 73
Who May Be Held Liable, What Constitutes Negligence,
Principal Defenses Against Suits for Damages, Avoiding
The Coach and Regulatory Agencies ...................... 79
The Florida High School Athletic Association, The
National Federation, State Departments of Education,
The Coach and the Budget ............................. .. 89
Types of Budgets, Purchasing, Auditing, Specification
and Bidding, Forms
The Coach and Self-Evaluation .................. ........103
ATHLETICS IN EDUCATION: PURPOSES
Those who are deeply committed to, and involved in, the
education of youth feel impelled to ask themselves again
and again the questions: "What is my mission?", "How shall
I approach my task?", and "How will I know what the out-
The answers are seldom clear. Leaders often spend their
entire lives searching in vain for the final verdict. And yet
we cannot wait; we need to proceed with the urgent task
of education on the basis of the information at hand. We
must be guided by the widsom of experienced leaders who
have preceded us.
Education has three basic purposes:
To assist individuals in their quest for self-
To make the maximum contribution to society.
To pass on to coming generations the best of our
Athletics, as an integral part of education, can make a very
real and significant contribution to each of these.
The Development of the Individual
Parents, teachers, and coaches must be concerned with and
have respect for the development of young people in all their
dimensions-physical, intellectual, social, emotional, moral
and spiritual. It is important to recognize that the individual
does not grow in one of these dimensions at a time but
that every experience to which he is exposed affects him
as a whole, unified, integrated person. The whole person
attends a biology class, listens to a history lecture, partici-
pates in band practice, or plays on the football team.
It is equally important to realize that this whole person is
not affected in the same way or to the same degree by differ-
ent kinds of experiences. A given individual, practicing bas-
ketball for three months, will not be exactly the same as
if he had spent an equal amount of time playing the tuba
or writing for the school paper. The individual will develop
faster in certain dimensions when subjected to one type of
experience and in other dimensions when involved in
activities of a different sort.
Two points are particularly important. In the first place, all
teacher-coaches must realize that when they are teaching
a specific concept or skill they may be unconsciously affect-
ing dimensions of the individual which seemed to them to
be unrelated. A chemistry teacher seeking to help a student
learn a scientific principle could create a state of anxiety
great enough to be harmful to a pupil's self-concept. A
swimming coach could demand so much of squad members
that they would have no energy left to study.
In the second place, everyone concerned should recognize
that self-realization involves the development of all the
capacities of the individual to the end that he approaches
as closely as possible his potential as a whole, integrated
person. Because every athlete is different-some having
greater interests and abilities in a given area than do others
-a coach must be conscious of the student's total develop-
ment even as that boy or girl concentrates on achieving a
specific fitness or athletic objective. As certain coaches have
said, the goal is to develop first the person, then the athlete,
and then the champion.
The simple and oft-repeated admonition is appropriate here:
"When in doubt as to a course of action, try to do what
is best for the pupil." Certainly everyone will agree that the
first and central purpose of education is the optimum
development of the individual. Through appropriate experi-
ences in athletics, participants can be assisted to develop
physically, intellectually, socially, and morally. For effective
accomplishment of this purpose, good leadership is
essential. Self-actualization, self-fulfillment and self-
realization should be the ultimate result.
The Athletic Program
In an educational setting every effort must be made to provide
athletic experiences for as many pupils as possible. Because
of the infinite number of individual differences in abilities,
interests, and capacities, the program must be broad and
comprehensive. There should be as many athletic teams in
schools at all levels as can be adequately coached and man-
aged by the staff available. These teams should be built on
a foundation of a broad and soundly organized intramural
If athletic activities have the values attributed them, they
should be available to as many students as possible.
Nevertheless, it becomes obvious in most schools that the
varsity program cannot accommodate every student who
would like to participate. If opportunities have been given
in physical education classes and in intramurals for participa-
tion on the part of all, it is only right that the better and
most talented athletes have the opportunity to meet their
equals in the varsity interscholastic programs. Just as in other
activities, those with special talents should be given the
chance to go as far as they can in their specialty. They need
challenges which demand their complete concentration and
involvement if they are to develop to their fullest.
The Platform Statement, Athletics in Education, prepared by
the Division of Men's Athletics, American Association for
Health, Physical Education and Recreation, listed basic prin-
ciples for the conduct of interschool athletic programs. These
are so well stated that they are quoted here in full:
"To utilize fully the potential in athletics for
educational experiences, interscholastic and inter-
collegiate athletic programs should be organized
and conducted in accordance with these six basic
1. Interscholastic and intercollegiate athletic pro-
grams should be regarded as integral parts of
the total educational program, and should be
so conducted that they are worthy of such
2. Interscholastic and intercollegiate athletic pro-
grams should supplement rather than serve as
Meeting Society's Needs
Participation in athletics contributes to the needs of society
in several ways. It assists in the development of good citizens
who will constitute that society; it serves as a socializing
process which will enhance human relations; it helps to
alleviate some of the ills of society, both now and in the
Athletics brings people together. Properly conducted, games
and contests provide shared experiences which break down
barriers to communication and thus advance interpersonal
relationships. Athletics in a community often serve as a rally-
ing point, a focus for loyalties, and a source of community
pride. Athletic programs have, in many instances, served to
reduce bigotry and prejudice as the circumstances of race,
creed, and economic status are transcended by perfor-
mances of individuals.
Athletics provide much needed group experiences for many
students. The feeling of kinship as players share fun, work,
victories, and defeats is important to their social develop-
ment. Community projects in which athletic squads and
coaches participate together can also do much to enhance
these benefits. Better citizens and better communities will
both result from such activities.
Transmitting the Cultural Heritage
As each generation moves into its era of responsibility and
power, they bring to the culture new thoughts, new art forms,
and new activities which will enrich inherited cultural founda-
tions. Part of the cultural heritage will consist of games and
contests, sports exhibitions and tournaments. It is important,
if chaos and anarchy are to be avoided, that succeeding
generations not only experience the pleasure and joy that
can accompany these athletic events, but that they also learn
the meaning and importance of regulations which govern,
and order which makes for tranquility and helps keep peace.
This, too, is part of education. This, too, is something to
which a good athletic program can contribute.
substitutes for basic physical education pro-
grams, physical recreation programs, and
intramural athletic programs.
3. Interscholastic and intercollegiate athletic pro-
grams should be subject to the same administra-
tive control as the total education program.
4. Interscholastic and intercollegiate athletic pro-
grams should be conducted by coaches with
adequate training in physical education.
5. Interscholastic and intercollegiate athletic pro-
grams should be so conducted that the physical
welfare and safety of the participants are pro-
tected and fostered.
6. Interscholastic and intercollegiate athletic pro-
grams should be conducted in accordance with
the letter and spirit of the rules and regulations
of appropriate conference, state, and national
Attention to educational aims and goals; building on a found-
ation of good physical education and intramural programs;
sound administrative control; well prepared coaches and
athletic directors; concern for the health and safety of the
participants; and meticulous adherence to rules and policies
governing athletics; these are the foundation stones of an
educational program of interschool athletics.
Values Through Athletics
Educators, down through the ages, have expressed their con-
cern about education for good citizenship, character
education, and moral education. Today the emphasis is on
the "development of value systems".
Values, as used here, refer to basic or fundamental beliefs
which underlie and influence attitudes and behavior. This
indicates that, while specific behavior may be peculiar to
a given situation, it is possible, through athletics, to influence
the development of values to the extent that they have perva-
sive influence on conduct in many or even all sets of circum-
It is generally agreed that individuals can learn things in
one situation that will influence their behavior in another.
The athletic field and the gymnasium may be considered
laboratories where lessons of life are learned.
Athletics abound with dramatic, emotional, personal, and
intense situations. Coaches therefore have a unique oppor-
tunity to work with athletes as these young people develop
their value systems.
Athletic participation not only promotes the development of
but also provides visibility of an athlete's courage, per-
severance, unselfishness, and stamina. If these characteris-
tics are latent, the demands of highly competitive and
demanding experiences will reveal them. As individuals are
challenged to achieve things which they believe they cannot
do, they often discover hidden resources which enable them
to accomplish their task. Confidence which is tested in the
fire of competition is real and lasting.
Although it is obvious that to engage in athletic activities
develops one's physical strength, endurance, agility, and
speed, it is less commonly understood that participation in
athletics also satisfies other needs. For example, the need
for belonging, peer-approval, self-esteem, and the approba-
tion of authority figures often occurs through the develop-
ment of competencies in games and sports. The development
of a positive self-concept and the poise and personality
improvement that result can be most important for the young
The opportunities to cooperate and compete, lead and follow,
and to share responsibilities, triumphs and defeat, may be
most significant for individuals. The friendships made in
these settings will never be forgotten. These are important
relationships which may be carried over into adult life.
Fun and relaxation are vital and should be stressed in athle-
tics. These factors are often the important forces which lead
to participation. They also have a strong positive influence
on health, both mental and physical. They are natural and
should be encouraged.
The important consideration in athletics is the influence
which participation has on the philosophy of life of the
athletes. Young people are in the process of establishing
priorities for their actions and their conduct. Their experi-
ences in athletics should be among the positive influences.
Athletics are only one phase of the experiences of developing
youth. They do, however, play a vital and unique role. Coaches
have a responsibility and a great challenge. The late President
Theodore Roosevelt's philosophy of life is an appropriate
close for this section.
"It is not the critic who counts, not the man who
points out how the strong man stumbled, or where
the doer of deeds could have done them better.
The credit belongs to the man who is actually in
the arena; whose face is marred by the dust and
sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs
and comes short again and again . .who knows
the great enthusiasm, the great devotions and
spends himself in a worthy cause; who, at the best,
knows in the end the triumph of high achievement;
and who, at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while
daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with
those cold and timid souls who know neither victory
THE COACH AND THE NATURE OF THE PROFESSION
Inasmuch as athletics are an integral part of the total school
program, the coach must be a professional person with a
sound educational background. Important considerations
are the personal qualities, professional preparation, inservice
education, leadership responsibilities, motivational skills,
The coach should possess desirable personal qualities in
order to satisfactorily achieve projected objectives. Rapid
societal and educational change indicates that the highly
desired qualities which make for good teaching and coaching
include the following:
1. A reasonable flexibility and receptivity to
attitudinal changes, in society, that affect
2. An ability to understand and to cope with the
problems and concerns of athletes.
3. Awell organized, logical and rational approach
to coaching which fosters mutual respect
among the entire school community... instruc-
tional staff, students, parents, and other
4. An ability and willingness to communicate with
team, parents, teachers, administrators and the
5. Good judgment in the appropriate use of moti-
vational techniques particularly those having
to do with encouragement, inspiration and
6. A humanistic and ethical philosophy which
emphasizes fairness, friendliness and
7. An ability to innovate and to project within a
sport setting and to envision any conse-
quences to the total school environment.
8. Emotional stability and self-control in highly
sensitive and involved situations associated
9. An ability to achieve educational objectives
through the patient use of direct and indirect
10. An excellent example in word, deed, and
11. An appreciation of the artistic viewpoint as
related to athletics.
12. A belief in and practice of human dignity as
a basic quality of man.
The roles of the coach are multifaceted. Observations, experi-
ences, and research suggest that the common characteristics
of the successful coach have yet to be established.
The educational potential to be achieved from quality athletic
participation by students is considered to be important.
However, qualified teachers are necessary to help bring about
the possible varied benefits. This is an era of challenge and
change. Technological revolution has made it necessary for
coaches to be aware of advances and the ways in which
innovations can be utilized.
Furthermore, the moral and legal responsibilities placed
upon the coach and the school administrator for the health
and safety of the student-athlete make it essential that the
coach be specifically prepared for these duties.
To contribute effectively to the continuing education of youth,
the coach should be well informed in the behavioral and
social sciences; be conversant with the humanities; and, have
a general education background to provide for appropriate
interpretation and integration of sport as a social force.
The expansion of athletic programs has placed a demand
for personnel to handle the coaching responsibilities far
beyond the supply of teachers of physical education usually
available in school systems. Thus, there is a need for profes-
sionally qualified and certified coaches in addition to physical
educators who coach. Yet, the coach should be a certified
teacher of physical education or, if certified in another area,
demonstrate those competencies identified for athletic
Standards suggested for coaching certification are centered
around five essential areas identified by the AAHPER-DMA
Task Force on Certification of High School Coaches.
Medical Aspects of Athletic Coaching
Sociological and Psychological Aspects of Coach-
Theory and Techniques of Coaching
Kinesiological Foundations of Coaching
Physiological Foundations of Coaching
Concepts, competencies and experiences have been sug-
gested for each of the above areas. The standards are consid-
ered minimal essentials for coaching certification and are
not intended to be applicable for teacher certification in phys-
While such a program would not provide a comprehensive
physical education background, it would aid in the safety
and health protection of the athlete. Leaders of youth would
realize and understand the socio-psychological implications
of sports participation. It would provide for athletic programs
conducted by men and women with properly structured
technical information in athletics. Prospective coaches would
obtain a thorough knowledge of human anatomy and the
mechanics of movement. A knowledge and understanding
of the functioning of the human organism, in addition to
the above would help to make the coach a better counselor
and a more effective leader.
In addition to the areas specified above, related competencies
are recommended to include public speaking and relations,
sports officiating, philosophy and principles of athletics, legal
liability and interpretation of related research and the roles
and regulations of the State High School Association.
Professional laboratory experiences constitute an essential
part of the education sequence for the preparation of athletic
coaches. These important experiences should be designed
with specific references to standards. They should be pro-
vided on and off campus. The range should include system-
atic observation, initial limited participation, and subsequent
full participation in coaching activities.
Structured student teaching and student assistant in sports
programs at the collegiate level should be available to
undergraduate and graduate students.
Involvement as player, coach, manager, official or supervisor
with related experiences would indicate interest, aptitude,
exposure, and some understanding of the basic essentials
of athletic coaching. These experiences could include work
with the Y.M.C.A., Boys' Club, recreation leagues, play-
grounds, summer camps and intramural sports, high school
and college athletic programs, and administrative functions
and practices associated with the staging of athletic events.
Finally, an internship or planned program of instruction as
an assistant coach in the selected athletic activity could
reasonably assure a well qualified head coach.
A coach who has considerable expertise in a sport will quickly
gain the confidence and respect of young people. Knowledge,
skill, and understanding gained through athletic participation
can reinforce studies appropriate to athletics and lead to
greater empathy with young athletes. The coach should have
a combination of technical information about sports, scien-
tific knowledge about athletics in action, and experience as
School principals, superintendents, and boards of education
must be aware of, and consider, professionally qualified per-
sonnel for coaching positions.
The coach should be aware of, and receptive to, continuous
professional growth. Inservice education fosters proper pro-
fessional attitudes and a higher level of quality in coaching
performance. It helps to strengthen selected areas of prepara-
tion and fosters awareness of continuous change in coaching
methods, philosophy, and procedures.
The learning and improving processes should continue
throughout one's professional career. Since coaching is
teaching, the needs of the student remain paramount.
Sources of continuing professional preparation encompass
both individual and group endeavors and include:
-The study of current physical education and sport
-Professional writing and research.
-Active participation in professional organizations
at local, state, and national levels.
-Structured visitations to schools and colleges.
-Inservice seminars and workshops stressing a
-Participation in clinics and institutes which
emphasize technical advancement in coaching.
-Participation in conferences which stress sports
medicine, sport sociology and sport psychology.
-Inservice planning sessions using local staff as
well as outside consultants.
-Observational evaluation of selected sports con-
-Self-evaluation through introspection and com-
-Coaching forums for the discussion and debate
of ideas, experiences and theories.
-The use of instructional media, particularly televi-
sion and radio.
-Travel-study sport programs of national and inter-
-Coaching material centers to include personal,
school, university and/or association collections
of a wide range of educational information.
School principals, superintendents, and school board mem-
bers should be continuously informed of the necessary pro-
fessional preparation for athletic coaching.
Coaches have a responsibility to support and to participate
in selected professional organizations.
Having accepted a leadership role, the coach must under-
stand and be capable of social responsibilities and positive
personal relationships in the community. The ability to lead
and to assume leadership, though rewarding, is also demand-
ing. Leadership requires dedication and commitment to pur-
pose. Because coaches are subject to the close and critical
scrutiny of many people, it is essential that they observe
the high standards of leadership imposed upon them.
Coaches must be prepared to be particularly knowledgeable,
adaptable, and communicative. Because of the highly visible
nature of athletic coaching, both the neophyte and the experi-
enced coach will have differing relationships with many pub-
lics. As a faculty member with coaching responsibilities, the
coach is identified with a phase of the school program that
is constantly on public display, and where, because of the
mounting enthusiasm of the American people of athletics,
the coach is often the center of attention. Prospective
coaches must understand the requirements for managing
a successful program and weigh their own abilities, interests,
and personality against those requirements.
The young person's urge to participate and succeed in athlet-
ics is basic to skilled performance. Because anticipated and
obtained rewards are important motivators, the athlete's
goals have considerable effect on output. Coaches should
direct more attention to the influence of attitude upon perfor-
mance. Since the level of aspiration affects the level of perfor-
mance, the coach should concentrate upon attitudinal and
psychological aspects as well as upon skill development and
All professions expect their members to demonstrate high
standards of conduct reflecting sound moral judgments. The
coaching profession is no exception to this principle and
because of its very nature its members are subjected to
unusual close scrutiny. This fact makes it imperative that
coaches strive constantly to project an image that reflects
the highest credit on themselves, their teams and their
Good sportsmanship must be taught continuously for it is
far more valuable than the winning of an event. Although
every team should be coached to win as that is the primary
objective of competition, winning should always be accom-
plished through spirited, yet fair play.
Realizing that they represent the teaching profession, a
coaching specialty, and school, coaches must insist that
teams play their best, honor opponents and respect officials
and their decisions. The coach must also exemplify emotional
control, courteous behavior, and fairness under all condi-
As a professionally responsible person, a coach should exem-
plify the behaviors described in the code of ethics of the
Florida Athletic Coaches Association:
AS A PROFESSIONAL EDUCATOR, I WILL
Exemplify the highest moral character, behavior,
Respect the integrity and personality of the
Abide by the rules of the game in letter and in spirit
Respect the integrity and judgment of sports offi-
Demonstrate a mastery of and continuing interest
in coaching principles and techniques through pro-
Encourage a respect for all athletics and their values
Display modesty in victory and graciousness in
Promote ethical relationships among coaches
Fulfill responsibilities to provide health services and
an environment free of safety hazards
Encourage the highest standards of conduct and
scholastic achievement among all athletes
Seek to inculcate good health habits including the
establishment of sound training rules
Strive to develop in each athlete the qualities of
leadership, initiative, and good judgment.
THE COACH AND INTERACTIONS WITH SCHOOL
In professional relationships with school personnel and
administrative staff members, the coach has many respon-
sibilities. Primary responsibilities are to the county adminis-
trative staff and the principal of the school where one
coaches; however, there is an equal responsibility for
cooperating with other members of the school staff, including
the athletic director, members of the coaching staff, with
coaches of various sports, with auxiliary persons, and the
The County Administrative Staff and the Coach
The district board of public instruction is the policy-making
and legislative authority of the school district and as such
is responsible for the athletic activities of the school system.
The superintendent is the chief executive officer of the school
system. The principal is the administrative liaison between,
on the one hand, the board of instruction and the superinten-
dent and, on the other, the school faculty which includes
the coach. In relationship to authority and responsibility for
the athletic activities of a particular school, the principal is
the immediate supervisor of the coach. For the coach who
also serves as athletic director there is the responsibility of
conducting a broad athletic program within the policies
established by the administrative authorities.
Since the activities and administrative details of an athletic
program are many and varied, there should be mutual
respect, understanding, and cooperation between the coach
and the principal. It is the responsibility of the coach to have
a complete understanding with the principal regarding the
objectives and procedures of the program. The coach should
keep the principal informed of any potential troublesome
situations or occurrences, so that if difficulty should occur,
the principal may be ready to take appropriate action. There
should be a thorough understanding between the coach and
the principal regarding the relationship of the athletic pro-
gram to the total educational program.
The following are suggested methods for the coach to use
in increasing the principal's understanding of the athletic
Confer with the principal and have a definite
understanding about policies in making
schedules, purchasing equipment, and planning
and carrying out various athletic activities.
Discuss problems with the principal and set forth
the coaching viewpoint.
Welcome suggestions from the principal regard-
ing ways of improving the program.
Avoid expressing disagreement with the princi-
pal's views or policies except in personal con-
Endeavor as a direct motivation toward better
school morale, to develop athletes who set exam-
ples of good conduct both on and off the athletic
field based on school goals and sound educa-
Recognize the principal at public functions and
make him feel welcome at all school athletic
Coach-Athletic Director Relationships
In some schools one of the head coaches is also the athletic
director. Recently, many schools have employed an athletic
director who does not have coaching responsibilities. It is
expected that this trend will continue. In any event, the ath-
letic director is an administrator and is the immediate super-
visor of all head coaches; therefore, the athletic director
should be accorded all of the courtesies that the coach would
give the principal in situations where the coach reports
directly to the principal.
The Coach as a Member of the Faculty
Because the athletic program is but one phase of the total
program of education in a school, those faculty members
who have coaching responsibilities must understand that first
they are educators, then coaches. To maintain successfully
the status of professional educators, members of the coach-
ing staff must establish their identities as members of the
faculty by accepting the duties and responsibilities usually
expected of the school staff. Such actions demonstrate to
all staff members the coaches' willingness to be an integral
part of the total school program. When the faculty, students,
and community understand that the coach is dedicated to
excellence in all areas of the school program, they are all
more interested in supporting the goals of the athletic
Because the very nature of coaching lends itself to identifica-
tion by the other members of the faculty, the students and
the general public, the role of the coach in educational profes-
sional leadership is limited only by the willingness of the
coach to utilize the unique opportunity of being a well-known
figure in the community. However, humility and sincerity are
prime factors in a meaningful relationship between the coach
and the other members of the faculty. Therefore, it is to the
advantage of the coach to display mutual concern and sup-
port for all areas of the school program.
It is advisable that all coaches prepare themselves for certifi-
cation in academic subject areas in addition to physical
education. Many times this dual certification will allow a
coach the opportunity of accepting a teaching position in
a school which offers particular coaching opportunities
rather than having to take a job in a school simply because
that happens to be the only school needing a physical educa-
Coaches who also have classroom teaching responsibilities
should strive to provide the same level of excellence of
instruction there as they provide to the athletic program.
They should continue to expand their knowledge and exper-
tise in the academic subjects being taught and should keep
pace with changes in content, technology, and methodology
in these areas just as they must keep pace with changing
techniques in the coaching field.
The coaching staff should attend school faculty meetings.
The first such meeting is particularly important, since it offers
the opportunity to present to the faculty the policies of the
athletic department regarding student participation in
athletics; the aims and purposes of the athletic program;
the relationship of the athletic director to the faculty; and
the function and regulations of the state activities association
as related to student eligibility. Cooperative planning with
the principal and faculty committee will enable the coaching
staff to participate more fully in pre-school and post-school
The coach should continually be concerned with the
academic progress of the student athletes. Efforts to insure
academic eligibility should begin with coach-athlete confer-
ences during the pre-school period and should include
planned contacts with teachers throughout the year. These
contacts should be of such a nature that they gain the confi-
dence and assistance of the teacher as opposed to giving
the appearance of seeking special favors for athletes.
The Athletic Department and the Coach
Interscholastic athletics and physical education are inter-
related programs. In those school situations where athletic
coaches are not involved in the teaching of physical
education, they should recognize that the physical education
classes have similar educational objectives as the athletic
phase of the program. It is of the utmost importance that
coaches and physical education teachers cooperate and
respect each other's position. There should be mutual under-
standing leading to an efficient and effective program. Ath-
letic programs should not dominate facilities, since schools
must concern themselves with educational programs for all
The Coaching Staff and the Coach
It is an axiom that a school athletic program can be no more
effective than its staff. A successful program is characterized
by harmonious relations, mutual respect, and cooperative
devotion to duty among members of the staff. Professional
respect should exist between the head coach and the
assistants, among the assistants themselves, and among
coaches of different sports.
A coach should be loyal to professional associates and to
the school. This means avoiding open criticism of the school
system and unfavorable comparisons of the facilities and
plant of one school with those of other schools, except as
to such comparisons as are appropriate and pertinent to
The Head Coach and Assistant Coaches
The head coach should be fully cognizant of the qualifica-
tions, capabilities, and special interests of each member of
the staff and should delegate specific assignments to each
with proper authority to carry them out. In staff meetings,
all assistants should be provided opportunities to express
their views upon the conduct of the program; however, the
responsibility for the final decisions rest with the head coach.
The head coach should support assistants, give them proper
credit, encourage their growth and initiative, and should pro-
mote their advancement within the profession, recommen-
ding them to better positions as opportunities occur. Differ-
ences of philosophy should be resolved in a private setting.
The Assistant Coach
The assistant coaches have a unique place in the framework
of the coaching staff. They are expected to maintain harmoni-
ous relationships with other assistants and to support the
head coach in the cooperative efforts of the staff. Characteris-
tically, the assistant coach will be able to adapt personal
ideas to the system used by the head coach. If there is persis-
tant incompatability between the ideas of the assistant coach
and the head coach, the assistant should consider seeking
another position. The needs of the student athlete should
be the basic consideration in all matters relating to the coop-
eration of the assistant coach with the head coach. They
should try to maintain a harmonious relationship with the
other assistants and should support the head coach in their
Relationships Among Coaches
All coaches should be guided by the principles that
interscholastic sports are to be conducted for the welfare
of the student and that each sport has its own definite con-
tribution to make to the complete educational program. A
coach should not request that special privileges be extended
by another coach when such privileges would impair the
effectiveness of the other's program; nor should any coach
belittle other sports by giving the impression that, compared
to a particular sport, they are unimportant. Decisions should
not be detrimental to the total education of the athlete.
Auxiliary Persons and the Coach
The coach should recognize that many people contribute
to the making of a successful program. There should be
wholesome working relations with the lunchroom personnel,
with maintenance men, with area supervisors, and with other
persons who help. Words of commendation and appreciation
for their good work go far toward creating and maintaining
a smoothly functioning organization. Building of a total team
concept is ultimate to high level success in any quality educa-
The Coach and College Recruiting
Recruiting of the high school athlete has become a serious
program in our educational system. The coach has the
responsibility of seeing that the best interests of the athlete
are served. Because of the individual differences and varying
ambitions of athletes, there can be no standard pattern for
guiding them in their plans for the future. There are, however,
certain basic principles and practices concerned with the
role which the coach plays in these matters.
The coach, in cooperation with the principal, should establish
school policies to regulate recruiting. These policies might
Requiring college or university representatives
to secure permission from the principal or coach
before they meet the student during any time nor-
mally reserved for school activities. Sound liaison
between the coach and principal is necessary for
Having recruiting agents confer with the stu-
Applying recruiting procedure to all college rep-
Provide guides that restrict visits to colleges and
universities that necessitate the athlete missing
school and/or affects the athlete's performance
or participation in school activities.
The coach should guide students in realizing their own ethical
responsibilities after accepting grants-in-aid. The student
should analyze the situation carefully before deciding upon
a particular college. Once having promised to attend a par-
ticular college, the student should not change plans without
conferring with representatives of that college and reaching
an understanding with them. Once having accepted a grant-
in-aid and registering in a college, the student should feel
the obligation to pursue excellence, both athletically and
The coach should make sure that the prospect is aware of
the academic requirements for college entrance. Athletes
should be stimulated by the coach to do the quality of high
school work which will prepare them for success in college.
Before the sports season begins the school policies relative
to absence during the season, or from practice, because
of interviews with college representatives or visits to colleges,
should be explained to athletes and their parents.
Coaches should be careful not to overrate athletes while
recommending them to colleges and should not recommend
athletes unless they feel certain that the prospects are com-
patible with the colleges doing the recruiting. Coaches
should be careful not to oversell players' parents on the prob-
able success of their children in college athletics. Educational
attainment should be the basic goal for coach and athlete.
Responsibilities of Coaches to Professional Organizations
Professional associations have been and continue to be the
principal clearing houses for exchange of views and informa-
tion in a particular profession, for establishing standards
according to the collective judgment of the membership, for
cooperating with local, county, state, and national
authorities, and, in general, for promoting the interests and
welfare of the professions they represent.
Through professional associations, including the local, state,
and national levels, coaches should continue to undertake
cooperative studies dealing with basic problems and con-
troversial issues. Although leadership from the national
associations is often valuable, it is the local and state profes-
sional associations which are in strategic positions to deal
effectively with problems, to make studies, and to take action
on the findings of the studies.
As an obligation to their profession, coaches should engage
in specialized and general professional group activities. The
following is a suggested list of professional organizations
to which coaches may wish to belong:
-Local, State, and National Athletic Coaches'
-Local, State, and National Associations of
Health, Physical Education, and Recreation.
-Local, State, and National Education Associa-
Each coach should realize that athletic programs are a part
of a school program and not superior to other identified
areas of learning. Participation in professional organizations
other than athletic-oriented groups is essential since the
coach is normally hired to teach as a basic contribution to
the academic educational program at the school.
THE COACH AND STUDENT RELATIONSHIPS
While in the past most coaches were employed as physical
education instructors, today the majority of coaches are per-
forming as classroom teachers in various instructional areas.
Therefore, teacher-coaches are full-fledged faculty members
having professional and moral obligations to give proper
attention and care to all of the students for whom they have
been assigned instructional responsibilities. It should be
noted that most of the coach's total salary is payment for
service as a teacher; the coaching supplement is additional
pay for extra duties. Excellence in classroom instruction
and empathy for all students reinforce the overall effective-
ness of the athletic coach. Coaches who fail to recognize
the value of an efficient job in the classroom create problems
for themselves and their administrators.
The coach promotes school solidarity by assuming the role
of leadership and involvement in active support of school-
School Spirit and Citizenship
The athletic program and the coach need a strong bond
with the student body. The base for this relationship lies
in the coach's ability to work effectively with individual
student-athletes on and off the field, the classroom students,
and other student groups ... on and off campus.
The coach knows that the student body may be influenced
by the spirit and interest of all faculty members in the total
school program. Realizing that the athletic program enlivens
the school spirit and recognizing the value of good school
spirit to the athletic program, the coach seeks to establish
a positive relationship with student organizations. This is
the key to student interest and enthusiasm.
The following suggestions are offered as ways coaches may
spark student support for the athletic program:
Visiting student council meetings to display
enthusiasm and support for that group's goals
Keeping the student body informed as to athletic
Saluting council or class officers during game
Visiting homerooms to discuss how sports help
Calling on service clubs for assistance in special
Counseling members of coaching staff to con-
sider sponsorship of service clubs.
Encouraging athletes to incorporate athletics
into class projects such as term papers, illustra-
tions, class talks, demonstrations, and reports.
Organizing pep clubs.
Good citizenship by students and faculty is usually initiated
by example. Positive actions by coaches in their work with
students provide dividends which may not be immediately
apparent. The "pat on the back" and a warm word are impor-
tant to the student's respect for and interest in being a good
The student-athletes are motivated by the coach who
emphasizes scholarship as important to the athletic program.
Cooperation between the coach and the other teachers must
be apparent to the student-athletes if it is to be valuable.
A visit to the classroom teacher by the coach motivates the
athlete as well as other students.
Guidance and Counseling
Students in today's school and society have emotional needs
which must be met at every level possible. The ability of
coaches to serve as confidants to students is limited only
by their planning for the time in their busy schedule. The
alertness of the teacher-coach to opportunities to aid such
students is an important factor in human relations. Genuine
concern for and interest in student-athletes and their prob-
lems, both in and out of season, are an investment in the
future of the coach and the student. The student-
athlete-coach relationship may also lead the coach to other
students with problems.
The Band and Drill Teams
Effective planning and cooperation between the coach and
the band director enhances both programs. The band and
drill teams are an integral part of the school activity program
and, as such, warrant the interest and enthusiasm of the
coach. The importance of good rapport with the students
in the band program is paramount to the support of the ath-
letic program by the maximum number of parents.
The role of the cheerleaders in the athletic program must
be clearly defined and their value to the program be recog-
nized by the coach. The cheerleader sponsor, the coach,
and the athletic director and/or principal form a team which
enables the cheerleaders to perform with maximum effec-
tiveness. Involvement in varying degrees by all parties con-
cerned in policies governing selection, training, perform-
ance, and financing of cheerleaders is vital to a meaningful
contribution to the program and the student body. The coach-
cheerleader rapport is significant to crowd control planning.
School or athletic administrative policy should specify
appropriate chaperonage by a faculty member (or qualified
designated person) during practices, games, and travel. Hav-
ing qualified and sufficient numbers of chaperones is
paramount to the well-being of student travelers.
THE COACH AND THE TEAM
The basic relationship between the individual athlete and
the coach forms one of the major foundations of a successful
athletic program. The relationship must be one of mutual
respect and trust. The sincerity of the coach can be readily
detected by the athletes and is a must for all coaches in
gaining the confidence of the team.
(The period from the first practice to the beginning of the
first contest.) Pre-season meetings should be arranged
between the coach, staff members, parents, and athletes.
These meetings should include a discussion of the following
Training rules-These rules should be few and
brief. Emphasis should be on proper diet, sleep,
and general health care.
Grooming and dress-Team members should be
involved in developing grooming guidelines
which are realistic and consistent with school
Eligibility-The state activities' or athletic
association's regulations as well as the school's
rules should be thoroughly explained.
Physical examinations-These should be
arranged for the team. Individual parental desires
for the athlete's examination by their family physi-
cian should be honored. However, a physical
examination report must be on file in the school.
Parental permission-Written permission is
Insurance-Coverage must be adequate for each
participant either in a school policy, individual
family policy or a combination of the two.
Practice schedules-Time frames for practice
sessions, home contests, and away contests
including travel plans should be explained in
The basic safety precautions for the coach to follow during
this period consist mainly of seeing that each athlete has
passed a physical examination, is properly conditioned, and
is issued equipment of a high quality which fits properly.
It is also suggested that the coach watch for the proper bal-
ance of water and salt during practice and that early practice
sessions be of an endurable period. The organization of the
staff and squad normally evolves through a series of staff
and team meetings that cover a variety of important aspects
such as staff assignments, team discipline, and an orientation
for new athletes. All policies that are going to apply during
the season should be spelled out at this time and copies
distributed to athletes and parents.
Practice sessions that are positively structured raise the level
of expectancy and are apt to improve performance. These
sessions should provide opportunities for the participants
to develop concentration and automatic actions and reac-
tions to different competitive situations. Space limitations
make it impractical to describe and outline practice
schedules for all sports in this section. However, there are
a number of sound principles which have implications for
all sports. These include the following:
Design daily plans which seem to have the great-
est potential of producing the specific outcomes
expected to be accomplished during that prac-
Communicate these plans to all staff members,
including team managers, along with the assign-
ment and role of each member during the entire
Prepare facilities to be used and make certain
that the equipment and materials needed are
Post copies of the practice schedule for the
benefit of the athletes.
Jogging for at least one-quarter a mile,
stretching, and other exercises appropriate for
that practice which includes all joints from head
to toes should be scheduled early in the practice.
Additional jogging at a faster pace to increase
body temperature is often desirable. Procedures
and activities which offer variety and challenge
tend to motivate athletes and to avoid monotony.
There should be a break at the end of each forty-
five minute session. Because fluid replacement
is essential, some beverage should be provided
for all participants.
The overload concept and the principle of
specificity are priority criteria when selecting
activities for improving the functioning of any of
the body's systems.
Training routines for any sport should be based
on the demands which participation in that sport
places on the athlete.
The length of a particular practice depends on several vari-
ables. These include the day of the week in respect to the
time since the last event and the time before the next, the
temperature, the practice objectives, the next opponent, and
the physical and mental condition of the squad. Many suc-
cessful coaches have discovered that they can obtain the
best performance and results in carefully planned practice
sessions of not more than one and a half to two hours
Directions by the coach of a quantitative nature which
encourage a specific score or point total might produce better
performance levels by helping to set a higher level of achieve-
ment. Reasonably stringent yet attainable goals influence
athletes more so than generalized encouragement.
Performance is best when motivation is high, but the coach
must be guided in its application by the level of self-
motivation of the athlete. In sports, emphasizing strength
and power motivation must be very high, but when finesse
and finer motor coordination are needed, lower motivation
The coach's positive comments and interest heighten motiva-
tion to improve performance and incentive to develop a desir-
able attitude toward competition. The nature and timing of
the coach's comments, particularly in group situations, is
important to sustain and improve performance through
Other considerations would include allowing for individual
differences, emphasizing an aspect in understandable terms,
and practicing under game conditions.
Player-coach inter-relationships during the pre-game period
should promote a positive attitude toward the individual's
and team's success. A general review of assignments should
be given. Guidelines should also be given for the athlete's
conduct during the contest. Pertinent rules and the function
of the officials should be reviewed in a positive manner.
Safety precautions that the coach should take during the
pre-contest period include:
Mental and physical alertness must be instilled.
Playing conditions, playing surface, equipment,
and facilities should be reviewed.
Pre-contest warmup should be organized effec-
tively and the time properly utilized so that the
participants are physically and mentally ready to
compete. Sportsmanship should be stressed
between athletes and opponents as well as
between members of the student bodies, parents,
and other spectators.
Visiting teams should be treated as guests. Facilities such
as showers and locker rooms for the visiting team should
be equal to those used by the home team.
During the Contest
The relationship between athletes, coaches, and officials
must be based on mutual respect and dignity. Chastisement
of athletes on the sideline should be avoided. Coaches,
athletes, cheerleaders, and fans should avoid personal and
derogatory remarks about or to opponents. Cheerleading
should be for the team and not against anyone. A coach
should address his remarks to his team only.
Safety precautions should include:
Care of injured athletes should be pre-planned.
An ambulance should be obtained and a physi-
cian should be in attendance or easily accessible.
A coach should always show concern for injured
The use of injured athletes should be avoided.
Medical opinions should be respected.
Head coaches should attend injured athletes.
A coach should be cognizant of the need for post-contest
praise for young athletes. Remarks made to the media should
be tactful. Athletes should never be blamed for a loss and
a coach should never criticize an athlete or the public in
general. Coaches should endeavor to praise all team mem-
bers for a well-earned victory.
Injured athletes should remain in the dressing room until
each injury has been carefully checked. The coach should
see that all athletes are cared for and are able to get to
their homes following the contest.
A post-contest squad meeting is desirous for the promotion
of team unity. In victory the team should be reminded that
the contest just played is history. After a loss the squad meet-
ing should be a time of resolution. This is also a good time
to begin mental and emotional preparation for the next
The coach should stress a well-planned conditioning pro-
gram to build the athlete's speed, strength, and endurance.
This is the time that most coaches feel that next season's
team is made. A real selling job on this plan of off-season
conditioning is necessary because most young athletes can-
not realize the importance of such programs.
The off-season program should not keep athletes from par-
ticipating in other sports nor should it be a drudgery. It should
be fun and characterized by competitiveness.
The off-season is an excellent time to counsel with individual
athletes regarding careers, academic progress, and further
academic endeavors. Academic eligibility for the next season
should be stressed. It is during the off-season that many
athletes fall by the wayside in respect to training rules and
conduct. These topics should be stressed the year around.
PREVENTION AND CARE OF MINOR ATHLETIC INJURIES
(Excerpts from the Broward County Athletic Trainer's Guide)
Minor injuries are an important factor in the overall function
of any athletic program. They are a constant source of irrita-
tion to coaches and players. Minor injuries become major
injuries if not properly and promptly treated. The loss of time,
service, and performance may be a direct result of improper
treatment. The prevention and care of minor injuries to the
head and face areas, the upper extremities, the torso, and
to the lower extremities will be treated in this section. Actions
to take at the time of the injury, information on post-injury
treatment, and helpful hints to reduce or even avoid such
injuries will be described.
HEAD AND FACE INJURIES:
Cuts on the lip or inside the mouth.
In cases where an athlete is kicked or bumped
in the face and superficial cuts occur on the
inside of the mouth, saturate a piece of cotton
with a non-stringent, place it on the inside
against the injury and pack additional cotton
over the area between the cheeks and teeth.
Leave this compress in contact with the wound
for thirty minutes to an hour. This same proce-
dure may be used where there are cuts down
on the outside of the lip. If deemed necessary,
repeat treatment in four hours.
CUTS OVER THE EYE:
This type of injury needs immediate temporary
dressing so that the player can continue.
Place athlete prone on his back. Wipe blood
and sweat from brow area with sterile cotton.
Apply tuf-skin or QDA to clean area-especially
above and below the cut. Place small gause
pad, soaked with anti-bacterial agent over the
wound. Secure tape firmly below cut and pull
up and secure above. Anchor as needed. Have
team physician check for necessity of stitches
at end of game.
Prevention of tooth damage-exact fitting tooth bar
or mouth piece.
In more serious cases of immediate swelling,
use ice pack until a doctor can be visited.
Carry a pear bulb in trainer's kit for immediate
use to wash eye out in case dirt, chemicals, or
foreign objects should become lodged in the
The quicker it is washed, the less chance of
extensive injury to the eye. A vertical laceration
of the eye lid and a torn tearduct are serious
injuries to the eye and should be treated by
Apply ice to damaged area as quickly as possi-
ble to control swelling in and around eye.
Check the pupil dilation to determine extent
of injury. (Use bright lights). If there is no
response to light treatment, this is a good indi-
cation of more serious injury and a doctor
should be consulted immediately.
MINOR INJURIES TO THE UPPER EXTREMITIES:
Sprains of the wrist.
Particular attention should be given to the
nature of the injury, position of wrist at time
of injury, what the athlete felt or heard, and
the position of wrist when reported. If there
is moderate swelling and not much tenderness
plus good performance of the functions of the
wrist, the injury is probably a moderate sprain.
Moderate sprains should be immobilized with
an adhesive strapping, and ice and elevation
applied for the first twenty-four hours. If swel-
ling is minimal, hot soaks and support by
strapping may be all that is needed for a few
days. Wrist injuries tend to be slow in healing,
and their recurrence is quite prevalent. The use
of a strap may be continued for a prolonged
period of time. The use of exercises is indicated
early and should be repeated often during the
Sprains of the Phalanges.
By being hit on the end of the finger or having
a finger caught in a jersey, etc., a sprain of
the joint is produced. All sprains to joints of
the fingers are painful but not often serious.
A splint for a day or two will relieve pain, as
will the application of cold packs to the area.
After the first day or so, hot soaks will loosen
the joint and help repair the injury. However,
with proper treatment and exercises, the swel-
ling will be reduced to a minimum. Strapping
the fingers together will protect them while
Contusion of upper arm and fore arm.
One of the more common injuries is a bruise
to the outside of the upper arm. Soreness and
swelling are evident, but limitation of motion
depends on the severity of the bruise. Palpita-
tion will produce pain and inspection may or
may not reveal swelling. The immediate appli-
cation of ice and pressure controls bleeding.
The next day, depending on the severity of the
injury, heat may be applied. Moist heat, whirl-
pool, hot soaks, hot shower, etc., are effective
forms of heat for this injury. If the bruise is
very swollen, the continuance of a sling should
be indicated. In severe bruises the use of a
sling during the acute stage is very beneficial.
In mild cases the use of a "hot pack" and pro-
tective pad may be all that is necessary.
Sprains of the elbow.
Inspection will reveal swelling in the front, in
the back, or completely around the joint. Ten-
derness will be localized by gentle pressure,
and the exact site of injury can be located.
Immediate treatment consists of compression,
ice and rest in sling. Ice packs should be
applied to the elbow joint for at least forty-eight
hours, after which the application of heat and
massage plus limited exercises may be started.
Whirlpool baths are very effective, as the
athlete can perform active exercises while the
arm is immersed. The use of the sling may be
discontinued as the recovery progresses. The
prolonged use of support in the elbow joint
delays the return of active motions and may
result in an excessive formation of scar tissue,
which in turn will cause a limitation of motion.
Fingernails, unlike toenails, should be cut with
the contour of the finger and should not extend
beyond the end of the digit. Nails that extend
can be broken off, and this will be painful as
well as disabling. In sports where ball handling
is essential, this injury is quite common. Treat-
ment for a broken nail consists of immediate
cleaning of the wound. Trimming of the uneven
edges, etc., is essential after which an ointment
dressing is applied. Antibiotic ointments are
very effective in the management of broken
nails where the skin has been torn. Protective
dressing should be worn until the wound has
Contusion of nail with hemorrhage.
Blood forming under a nail is very painful and
is usually the result of a contusion. By releasing
the pressure, pain and discomfort may be
relieved. By drilling a hole in the nail to release
the blood, immediate relief is attained. The hole
may be drilled by a regular nail drill or by the
sharp blade of a knife. After the hole has been
made, a dressing should be applied to keep
the wound clean. Ointment applied to the
dressing will stop the blood from clotting and
allow the wound to drain. Continue dressing
until oozing has stopped.
Torso injuries Wounds-
Prevention: Wounds are common accidental
injuries, but many can be prevented. Some
measures might include: Policing play area for
broken glass and other sharp objects; select-
ing area away from any fixture that might result
in any type of wound.
Treatment: The method of treatment will vary
somewhat as to the type of wound.
Abrasions: Cleanse the injury thoroughly,
using a sterile dressing. When the abrasion is
located in an area covered by clothing, use
some antiseptic ointment, then cover with a
sterile dressing. Expose the abrasion to the
air whenever possible.
Incision and lacerations: Cleanse the area
around the injury with soap and water. Ex-
cessive bleeding may be controlled by using
direct pressure on the wound.
An important addition and great asset to any athletic staff
is an athletic trainer. An increasing number of school districts
are establishing this position with a salary supplement com-
parable to the coaching supplements. In other districts a
central training room is maintained and staffed to serve
It is not the purpose of strapping to return the athlete to
practice with a false sense of security. All that the psychologi-
cal type of strapping usually succeeds in doing is to cause
a reinjury more serious than the original one. The objectives
of strapping are primarily to enable the athlete to return to
the practice field at the earliest possible date in order to
maintain a good state of physical conditioning while
recuperating from the injury. Only when the injury has healed
to the satisfaction of the physician should the athlete return
to active competition.
Equipment and supplies recommended for the training room
Tape, 1" and 11/2" Felt Ice Bag
Alcohol Elastic Bandages Crutches
Heat balm Safety Pins Canes
Petroleum Jelly Scissors Tape Remover
Skin Toughener Ammonia Capsules Stretcher
Tongue Depressors Gauze, 2" and 3" Splints, Inflatable
Cotton Combine Roll Plastic Oral Screw
Sterile Pads Butterflies, Small, Refrigerator
Ankle Wraps Medium, Large Peroxide
Sponge Rubber Re-Wrapping Machine
PRACTICAL ANSWERS TO RELEVANT QUESTIONS ON
(Article prepared by Mary Helen Goodloe, R.N., Dietary Con-
sultant, Georgia Department of Human Resources)
Q. Should the high school coach be responsible for the pre-
A. Not unless it is more convenient for the team to eat in
a designated place.
Q. Should special types and amounts of food be served for
a pre-event meal?
A. The meal before any sporting event should be acceptable
to the individual athlete. Athletes should feel that the food
eaten will help them give their best performance.
Q. Does the pre-event meal supply all the energy needed
for a game or contest?
A. No. The quantity, quality, and regularity of food eaten
the other days of the year supply a great deal of the energy
Q. How long before game time should the pre-event meal
be eaten to allow time for digestion to take place?
A. Three to four hours is sufficient.
Q. Should all players be required to eat a pre-event meal?
A. No. Each athlete has a different emotional reaction to
the game. Stores of energy will meet their needs for short
Q. Are liquid formula diets generally liked by high school
A. These products are not familiar to many people. Be sure
that EACH athlete likes the kind to be used; it could be objec-
tionable to SOME.
Q. What type foods should be eaten daily by an athlete (both
boys and girls 12 to 18 years of age) to supply the energy,
vitamins, minerals and other nutrients?
A. The foods which they should eat daily are classified into
four food groups:
Two or more servings selected from lean meat,
poultry, fish, eggs, dried beans or cheese.
Four or more servings of vegetables or fruits.
Four or more servings of bread or cereal.
Two-four cups dairy products: cheese, ice cream,
or one quart milk (maximum amount).
Q. What is the chief function of food?
A. Food is eaten primarily to supply energy. The young
athlete will usually eat sufficient amounts of food to meet
his energy requirements.
Q. Why is it important that foods be eaten to provide the
recommended daily allowances?
A. Along with the energy in food, other materials help keep
the body in top condition.
Q. What are some of the other functions which foods per-
A. Build and maintain tissue, muscle mass, and reaction time
of muscles and nerves; create healthy blood to transport
oxygen to the cells and regulate body fluids; prepare materi-
als to "cement" walls together; heal wounds and broken
bones; perform many functions to keep the body in prime
Q. What habits should a coach encourage to derive the best
physical performance from an athlete?
A. Encourage EACH athlete to assume personal responsibil-
ity for a year-round schedule of REGULAR EXERCISE,
SLEEP, and WELL-BALANCED MEALS. INSIST THAT
ATHLETES EAT BREAKFAST; it is a very important meal.
Q. What should be recommended for the athlete who may
need to lose weight?
A. Medical supervision. Have the athlete see a physician well
in advance of pre-season practice. Many obese persons have
physical problems that need the attention of a physician dur-
ing a weight reduction program. DO NOT PERMIT AN
ATHLETE TO GO ON A CRASH DIET. Vital functions could
be permanently damaged.
Q. What should the coach do when it is felt that the athlete's
lack of weight affects ability to play?
A. An athlete that seems underweight should be referred
to a physician. Physicians agree that a high school athlete
is still growing in both height and weight and does not need
a special diet for the express purpose of gaining weight.
Q. What should the coach do toward the end of the season
with regard to weight maintenance?
A. Have a physician, nutritionist, dietitian, home economics
teacher or an area school lunch supervisor discuss with the
individual or squad the subject of energy expenditure versus
energy intake (the balance between exercise and food intake).
Stay in touch with the squad to encourage a year-round exer-
cise program for weight maintenance-an individualized
program that they can enjoy for the rest of their lives.
Heat Stroke Precautions
Q. How can diet be used in combating heat stroke?
A. URGE LIBERAL AMOUNTS OF ORANGE JUICE AND
OTHER LIQUIDS after practice, and SALT ON FOODS.
Q. Would five meals a day for pre-season practice during
the very hot weather be helpful?
A. Yes. The schedule might be arranged as follows:
BEFORE EARLY MORNING PRACTICE-Orange juice, other
fruits or cereals.
AFTER MORNING PRACTICE-More orange juice and as
much as the athlete wants of favorite breakfast items.
LUNCH-Light, appetizing foods.
SUPPER-A substantial meal.
BEDTIME SNACK-High carbohydrate foods.
Q. Which is better, salt tablets or saline solution, for condi-
tioning to heat?
A. Saline solution is more readily available to meet the need
of the body. In excessive sweating, water is always lost in
excess of salt and FLUID REPLACEMENT IS ESSENTIAL.
Q. How is saline solution made?
A. MIX ONE LEVEL TABLESPOON SALT AND ONE GALLON
Q. How much and when should saline solution be given?
A. HOW MUCH-10 to 20 ounces (1-3 glasses) per hour for
each athlete. WHEN-Before, during, and after practice until
the squad has become accustomed to the heat. After this,
liberal use of salt on food is sufficient.
Q. How much milk should be included in the diet of an
A. One quart is the maximum daily amount that should be
consumed. This amount provides approximately one-third
of the 30-35% fat per day recommended by the American
ONE QUART MILK provides the following amount of the
recommended daily allowance:
32% Calcium-for building and maintaining strong
40% Protein-for growth and maintenance of mus-
25% Vitamin A-for firm skin and muscle mass.
100% Vitamin D-helps the body absorb calcium
and phosphorus in building strong bones.
83% Vitamin B2 (Riboflavin)-for tissue
Q. Should milk be limited in the pre-event meal?
A. It should be an individual decision. Some can take it,
but others cannot. Emotional or psychological factors may
cause some athletes to believe that milk interferes with their
performance. Yet, they can drink a pint for lunch before
strenuous practice with no ill effect.
Q. May skim milk be substituted for whole milk in weight
A. Yes. One quart may be used. The fat has been removed
reducing the caloric value from 166 to 81 calories per glass.
Q. What is "cottonmouth"?
A. The mouth becomes very dry and feels fuzzy. TENSION
causes the salivary glands to decrease the flow of saliva.
WATER, ICE, CHEWING GUM, and SOFT DRINKS are effective
in combating this condition; there is no scientific evidence
that "cottonmouth" is caused by milk.
Q. Should vitamins, minerals and other supplements be
given to all members of the squad?
A No. A BALANCED DIET WILL PROVIDE ALL THE
NUTRIENTS NEEDED BY AN ATHLETE. Some supplemental
nutrients which are in excess of bodily requirements are
eliminated as waste-thus they are a waste of money.
EXCESSIVE INTAKE OF VITAMINS A, D, E, AND K CAN BE
Q. Should a coach send an athlete to a physician with instruc-
tions that vitamins be given?
A. No. Let the physician decide whether the athlete needs
Q. Are there many athletes who need vitamin-mineral supple-
ments because of nutritional deficiencies?
A. If a well-balanced diet is eaten, few athletes will need
Q. Which foods will provide the vitamins athletes need?
A. Vitamins are present in many foods eaten in well-balanced
diets. Foods with large amounts of vitamins are:
VITAMIN A FOODS
Recommended Daily Allowance 5,000 International
3 tablespoons butter or fortified margarine-1,380
4 glasses whole milk-1,400 IU
1 sweet potato-11,000 IU
1 cup turnip greens-15,000 IU
1 serving liver-12,000 IU
/2 cup canned or fresh peaches-600 IU
VITAMIN C FOODS
Recommended Daily Allowance 80 Milligrams
3/4 cup orange juice-90 mg.
1 cup tomato juice-38 mg.
1 medium tomato-34 mg.
1 cup strawberries-90 mg.
VITAMIN D FOODS
Recommended Daily Allowance 400 International
4 glasses (1 quart) fortified Vitamin D milk-400
Recommended Daily Allowance 1.8 Milligrams
Recommended Daily Allowance 2.5 Milligrams
The Vitamin B Complex are present in meats,
cereals, and other foods and are provided by a well-
DRUGS AND SPORTS
(Article prepared by The Joint Committee on Physical Fitness,
Recreation, Sports, American Academy of Pediatrics, in
cooperation with the Academy's Committee on Drugs. Pediat-
rics, Vol. 52, No. 3, September, 1973.)
Young people today grow up with the notion that there is
a drug to hasten recovery from practically every illness and
that a healthy person can be even better off if he has some-
thing special in his diet or in his manner of living. The result
of these beliefs and attitudes is a host of misconceptions
about ways by which a healthy individual can be improved
by a miracle drug, a special diet, a vitamin, a hormone, par-
ticular exercises, or some other procedure. There is no scien-
tific basis for any such practices, although they are usually
not actually hazardous. However, a number of drugs, includ-
ing those allegedly capable of increasing performance, may
indeed be harmful.
Some athletes and their coaches, in their eagerness to excel,
are now using a variety of ergogenic aids in an attempt to
increase work output and thus improve performance. Such
attempts to enhance physical ability have involved the use
of nutritional, physical, and pharmacological agents.
The subject of dietary measures to improve physical perfor-
mance can be dealt with in a few words. There is no evidence
to support claims that any special food, vitamin, or other
nutritional supplements can improve athletic ability of an
individual already receiving an adequate diet.
There is also no scientific evidence that the use of physical
ergogenic aids (breathing oxygen, use of massage, ultraviolet
light, mechanical devices, and so forth) will bring about better
physical performance. Oxygen cannot be stored in the tis-
sues, and so its inhalation before exercise has no effect on
performance or rate of recovery. The use of massage,
ultraviolet light, vibrating machines, ultrasound, or other
mechanical devices never has been proven to have beneficial
effects on performance, although in moderation their use
has no adverse effects.
The drugs receiving the most attention from athletes at the
present time are the so-called anabolic steroids. These agents
have been used therapeutically to treat individuals who are
in need of an anabolic affect on nitrogen balance during
recovery from a prolonged debilitating illness. Healthy
athletes have begun to use such drugs to attempt to increase
their strength and weight.
Anabolic steroids are more correctly described as
androgenic-anabolic steroids because none of the anabolic
steroids in use today are free of androgenic activity in
humans, although tests in animals have been interpreted to
indicate safety in man. There are exceptional instances when
medical treatment of impaired physical development by hor-
mones under a physician's supervision is indicated. However,
when youths who have not achieved their full growth use
so-called anabolic steroids to improve athletic performance,
the androgenic component may hasten closure of the
epiphyses and possibly cause precocious pubertal sexual
development. In females there is the possibility of mas-
culinization. Other ill effects attributed to such steroids are
cholestatic hepatitis and prostatic hypertrophy. The use of
androgenic-anabolic steroids is contraindicated during
Before and during puberty or after 50 years of age, when
endogenous testosterone production in males is not at maxi-
mal peak, the androgenic-anabolic steroids may cause an
increase in muscle mass. However, in spite of this apparent
beneficial result, these steroids are not recommended at any
age because of the side effects.
Research has not demonstrated increases in strength, motor
performance, anthropometric measurement, and working
capacity after the use of androstenolone-a popular anabolic
agent-by young men. Athletes who claim gain in weight
and increased athletic performance appear to have taken
self-administered doses of steroids far beyond the therapeuti-
cally recommended amount of these drugs; the results are
questionable at any age, and highly undesirable in adoles-
There is some disagreement about the effects of
amphetamines or athletic performance. These drugs have
potent effects on the central nervous system. Among the
actions are stimulation of the respiratory center, elevation
of systolic and diastolic blood pressure, and predictable
psychic results. Apparently, more work can be accomplished,
but complex tasks are not improved. Physical performance
is improved if the athlete is fatigued. Amphetamines produce
prolonged alertness, a feeling of well-being, and decreased
awareness of fatigue; but, an individual's judgment and, par-
ticularly, his own estimate of his performance are impaired.
Misleading elevation of mood and increased confidence and
initiative contribute to a sense of well-being.
The amphetamines are dangerous because of their hazard-
ous effect of masking the signs of fatigue or exhaustion;
thus, the drug may be harmful to the stressed athlete.
Psychological dependence and tolerance may occur with
chronic use; and, if increasing doses are taken, toxicity may
be produced. In large dosage, amphetamines may cause car-
diac arrhythmia. Central nervous system effects are
wakefulness, loss of ability to concentrate, and increased
motor and speech activity. Physical addiction would be
extremely unlikely to happen.
The use of anorectic agents, diuretics, and restriction of fluid
intake to make a certain weight classification is not indicated
for medical reasons.
Sedatives and tranquilizers are frequently used in preparation
for athletic performance to allay tension and anxiety. Bar-
biturates are most commonly used for this purpose, but other
tranquilizing drugs are also employed. While occasional use
of a short-acting sedative to obtain restful sleep the night
before a performance may be justifiable, the frequent use
of "downers" in preparation for participation in sports is
hazardous because of detrimental effects on performance
and the possibility of psychological dependence.
The use of drugs as an aid to improve athletic performance
cannot be condoned. No drug can safely make the athlete
better than he normally would be. The facts and dangers
regarding the use of anabolic steroids, stimulants, and seda-
tives should be made available to athletes, coaches, parents
of young athletes, and physicians. All of them should know
that the misguided use of ergogenic aids to improve athletic
performance is contrary to good medical care, harmful to
physical and mental health, and counter to ethical and
sportsmanlike participation in athletics.
';.3f -Z ~~
THE COACH AS A MEMBER OF THE COMMUNITY
Positive Actions for Positive Roles
The objective of a well-balanced educational program is a
well-rounded youngster. So it is with coaches who must
organize their time and efforts in order to be active citizens
of the community. Their spirit of civic pride and community
concern is observed not only by the members of athletic
teams, but also by many other persons. Therefore, the coach
must accept the role of community leader and demonstrate
civic interest by such actions as exercising the right to vote
and displaying knowledge of good government.
Moral Responsibilities and Personal Life
The moral responsibilities are very evident for the athletic
coach who strives to teach players that athletic participation
provides lessons in life. All of life's virtues are displayed in
one form or another in athletic competition. To be less than
completely honest with youth and other persons involved
in athletics leaves the coach in an untenable position.
The personal life of the coach is viewed by the athlete and
the public as an example for youth. Although in recent years
the sophistication of our society has alleviated the community
pressures which demanded the spartan or puritanic existence
of school personnel, the responsibility of the coach to con-
duct an exemplary personal life is still highly important. This
leadership role demands one's best effort so that young
emulators may aspire to a healthy and wholesome future.
A willingness to share professional competencies with the
community lends an extraordinary dimension to the coach's
relationship with many groups of citizens. The coach deals
directly with the community's most important asset . its
youth. Those parents who are involved in civic, religious,
fraternal, or recreational groups are also citizens who provide
general support for the overall educational program and
specific assistance of time, finances, and attendance to the
athletic program. Coaches should be available to speak to
these organizations and, whenever teaching schedules and
administrative policies allow, they should be participating
members of civic organizations.
Influence on Community Agencies and Groups
The effective influence of athletic coaches on a community
is in direct relation to their involvement in positive action
programs where their opinions may reflect enthusiastic, con-
structive points of view. Participation in community affairs
sets the stage for the coach to function in governmental,
industrial, and educational areas; therefore, athletic coaches
must organize time wisely in order to become successful
. . in the profession, personal and family life, and in the
community. Failure to function effectively in these areas
invites problems which penalizes the participants, the
program, and the profession.
THE COACH AND PUBLIC RELATIONS
The Role of the Coach's Family in Public Relations
In American society the role of the coach is generally deter-
mined by the members of athletic teams, their parents, the
student body, the news media, community groups, and other
A frequently overlooked group is the coach's family. Since
the coach's family probably is closely associated with the
interworkings of the coach's responsibilities, it is suggested
that family members be well versed regarding procedures
to be used in talking with the people in the community and
the press. A positive view should be presented. To insure
the integrity of all concerned, differences of opinion among
coaches, players, and others should not be discussed publicly
by the family. Young children, particularly, are known for
relaying information that is out-of-context, and that can be
injurious to participants, families and friends. Ethically
speaking, coaches should plan with their families as much
as they do with the teams to insure the truth and objectivity
of information circulated to the community. The family should
respect the individuality of each player and coach in the
same way they would expect to be treated. A guiding principle
would be for the family not to discuss the failures of the
team in private or public.
Rapport with Student Athletes
The community has a special concern for the coach's conduct
in relation to the young people involved in the various athletic
programs. The personal influence of coaches on athletes
is extraordinary, and coaches often achieve most rewarding
personality adjustments in the young people with whom they
work. Because it is in the role of counselor that coaches
often experience their most difficult assignments, they should
be skilled in effective guidance techniques.
The relationship between coach and athlete, unlike that
between most other faculty members and their students, is
one that brings them closely together in circumstances out-
side the regular school hours. These associations usually
include many hours together, some during after-school prac-
tice, others on out-of-town trips, and still others in the homes
of the coach and the student. These occasions provide excel-
lent opportunities for the coach to influence positive charac-
Rapport with Faculty Members
The coach's relation with the rest of the school staff should
be one of understanding and cooperation. The coach should
be sympathetic with the various departmental programs and
should support them positively. Assistants and athletes
should be encouraged to display loyalty, enthusiasm and
support for all school activities. It is expected that the coach
would work constructively with professional colleagues for
the welfare of all students and for the entire school program
and would not criticize teachers nor any school department
in the presence of students or the public.
Rapport with Community Agenices
American society today is one of civic-mindedness. As a
result, the development of civic clubs is an important charac-
teristic of our social structure. It is true that belonging to
a civic club costs time and money; however, it is also true
that such membership is an investment in success that a
coach should not overlook. In making talks, showing movies,
and participating in the functions of these clubs, a coach
can make invaluable contributions to the community.
The usefulness of a coach to the community can be expressed
not only through club activities but also through personal
relations with parents, with other faculty members, and with
various other individuals and groups. The coach will often
be singled out as someone who is rather important, and being
conscious of this posture, should be appreciative rather than
resentful as a public figure.
Rapport with Other Coaches
Professional respect among coaches at all levels of athletic
competition is important. Each coach has a philosophy and
approach for the development of his athletic team but so
long as the contest is played by the established rules and
policies, respect will be the "name of the game." Coaches
who act outside of the ethical behavior advocated by profes-
sional organizations should be reprimanded or eliminated
from the profession. Each coach has an obligation to help
regulate his own profession.
The following are suggested guides to each coach in his
relationship with other professional coaches:
Provide positive recognition of other coaches to
the general public and news media.
Resolve personal differences with other coaches
in private setting.
Establish a well planned checklist to assist visit-
ing teams coming to your school.
Schedule all games with other schools well in
Honor all scheduled commitments.
Make new coaches to the area feel welcome.
Influence students and spectators to treat oppos-
ing coaches and teams with respect.
Provide positive feedback to the opposing coach
at the conclusion of the contest.
Coach in the spirit of the rules of the game.
Cooperation with News Media
A most important aspect of interscholastic sports is the sports
reporting in the local, state, and national press. Full coverage
of sports news and the cooperation of sports editors are
essential for the success of the high school athletic programs.
Cooperative efforts must be made by both the school and
the news media, and these efforts must be undertaken in
a climate of mutual confidence, understanding and profes-
The coach should remember that the sports section of a
newspaper is limited in space and that it is planned for a
specific local clientele with varying interests. No matter how
much news occurs, these limitations seldom vary. The coach
should understand that the space which a newspaper devotes
to sports is designed to allow room for world sports, national
sports, cartoons, box scores, averages and other statistics
appropriate to seasonal sports and the editor's sports
column. This distribution of space is constant, and since
no one interest can crowd out the others, the total space for
each is limited. During the school year, however, a large pro-
portion of the sports section will be given to local news. A
limiting factor in space allotted for each school is, of course,
the amount of local sports news from all sources. The growth
of communities and the consequent establishment of new
high schools further limit the space that may be allotted to
a single school. The keen competition, moreover, among
newspaper, radio, and television forces the editor to select
material that will meet this competition; that is, the editor
must select news for print that will be of the greatest interest
to the largest number of readers.
It is encouraging to know that, despite these limiting factors,
the local sports editor will normally give priority to local sports
news. He will, for example, often shorten a story on the World
Series or slash the account of a championship prize fight
in order to print such news as the loss of the local star half-
back or the current season ticket sales for the local high
school contests. But it is the responsibility of the coach,
who wishes such news cover, to assure that the news media
knows about such things.
Each newspaper has its own policies and the sports reporter
must adapt to these interests. The coach will find that, as
a rule, the sports writer wants the school athletic program
to be successful, and in return, would like the coach to help
the reporter provide interesting coverage. Mutual assistance
is, therefore, desirable for coach and sports writer alike. By
such cooperation the best interests of school, newspaper,
and community are served.
The coach and athletes are the makers, as well as readers,
of sports news. The program is in such a position that the
athletic staff will get out of the sports section largely what
they put into it. This means that, in the absence of a highly
trained, well paid public relations man, obtaining coverage
for the school is up to the coach. It is an important part
of the job.
These are some specific suggestions which will help coaches
maintain good relationships with sports writers and other
media personnel. The coach should:
Get acquainted with sports writers. This is the
first step in getting news coverage for the school.
Never cause the sports writer to print a statement
that is not true.
Furnish the sports writer with correct information
about athletes (i.e., weights, heights, eligibility,
Be sure the number of each player corresponds
with the program number.
Plan well the post-game report to the newspaper,
long before the game time. If the coach becomes
excessively excited during a game, reporters
should be asked to allow a ten or fifteen minute
breather before the interview.
Be prepared to hold a "picture day" early in the
practice season, at which time photographers
may take individual and group shots of the entire
team in game uniform and reporters may com-
Inform reporters about basic strategy so that they
will be better able to describe athletic events.
Provide the sports writers from the various media
with press passes for contests.
Provide adequate facilities and assistance in the
Give the reporter post-game results with the same
care as pre-game information. The post-game
report might include:
-The location of the contest
-The winners and the score
-The outstanding players, as named by the two
-The players' first and last names correctly
-The season record of both teams to date.
It is altogether possible that an incident will arise which the
coach feels is not a matter of public information but which
the newspapers look upon as their privilege to report. The
coach can avoid misunderstandings and considerable mental
anguish by approaching these incidents correctly. First, the
coach should determine if the incident is likely to be a prime
topic of conversation at the school or in the community.
If so, it will unquestionably find its way to a good reporter.
The coach should be the first to give the story to the press.
In that way the reporters will not only have the facts, they
will also be sympathetic toward the coach and will be likely
to accept that version of the story.
Sometimes the news material may be of a borderline nature.
The coach may not believe it is fit to print and may hope
it will not come to a newspaper's attention. In such an event,
coaches may take advantage of reporters' obligations to
honor off-the-record trusts. If the reporters agree to accept
off-the-record statements, they are obliged not to print a story
until it comes to attention in some public way.
If the coach's best judgment indicates that an honest answer
to a question would be detrimental to the school, ethical
procedure requires that it not be answered. In such cases,
"No comment" is entirely justifiable. The coach must assume
responsibility for the observance of ethical procedures in
Professional newsmen are agreed that high school students
should not be criticized for mistakes they made during a
game. No reputable paper, for instance, will ever comment
upon an apparent lack of courage, judgment, and the like
on the playing field. If the reporter should insist upon doing
this, after being asked not to, the coach should see the repor-
ter's superior. The reporter has a right, on the other hand,
to comment upon flagrant examples of unsportsmanlike con-
duct, and it is necessary for him to report errors that figure
in the outcome of the contest.
If there are several high schools in the community and only
one newspaper, there will unquestionably be times when the
coach of a particular school will feel that the team is being
slighted, that the school is not getting its fair share of
coverage. In such an event, the circumstances should be
considered carefully. If one team is having a losing season
while other teams in the community are doing better, it should
be remembered that the newspaper is likely to print more
about the winner than about a loser. If a game was held
out of town while the other schools played at home, it should
be remembered that home games will receive more coverage.
The coach who is in a community where two or more news-
papers are in keen competition should establish a fair policy
upon which all reporters covering athletic events can depend.
News that the coaches originate-for example, schedules,
plans, and announcements of various kinds-should be
released on an alternate morning and afternoon basis. This
policy should be thoroughly understood by the reporters.
Spot news, on the other hand, should be channeled to the
papers on whose time the story breaks. A news development
at 4:00 p.m., for example, would go to the morning papers;
another at 10:00 a.m. legitimately falls to the afternoon
papers. Spot news, of course, is news that is unforeseen
or unscheduled-news items such as injuries, accidents, res-
ignations, and the like. Follow-up to the other sources is
As soon as possible before assuming athletic program duties,
the new coach should write the station directors of radio
and television companies in the area and arrange to meet
them and become familiar with their facilities. Also, the sports
directors of these companies should be informed about pros-
pects for the season and special methods of handling practice
and post-game interviews.
They are likely to reciprocate this friendly approach by fur-
nishing valuable suggestions about problems peculiar to the
new situation, access to little-known and little used facilities,
and lists or pre-season information about other teams in the
area. The coach who earns the respect and good will of
the news media will be in the favorable position of having
their facilities offered instead of having to request them.
Television has developed to a point where it is reasonable
to expect its usefulness and availability for quality promotion
in the school athletic program. The association between the
coach and television is important; it is not unreasonable for
a coach to anticipate that one of the school's teams will
appear almost every week before some segment of the vast
television audience in live coverage or news clips.
If live coverage is to occur, the coach has certain respon-
sibilities to help bring about a smooth telecast. The following
suggestions pertain to these responsibilities:
Provide a sufficient number of quality "spotters"
for the radio and television sportscasters. For this
work there are usually athletes available who are
prevented by injuries from participating in the
game but who, because of their familiarity with
members of the squad, can contribute interesting
highlights on the players' performances. They will
probably enjoy doing this and will doubtless con-
sider it a partial compensation for not being able
If there is nota public relations man ora newsman
for the job, the coach should engage some cap-
able person to keep statistics on the game and
to furnish them as appropriate during and at the
conclusion of a competitive event. Other faculty
members are excellent sources of assistance.
For the benefit of television viewers as well as
the sportscasters, the coach should be sure that
the players' numbers coincide with the numbers
appearing in the program. If a change before or
during an event occurs, these changes should
be brought to the attention of the people in the
If customary, refreshments should be provided
for all people in the press box who are not regular
The coach should extend to the television people
the courtesy of arranging in advance for a pre-
game and post-game interview. If the other news
services will cooperate, this can be done simul-
taneously for all.
There is an important difference between the television-radio
dissemination of news and that of the newspaper; the news-
paper article or feature story is somewhat less personal and
colorful, but it has a degree of permanence which is lacking
in the broadcast or telecast. The newspaper materials may
be clipped and filed away for future reference; the broadcast
or telecast, however, lives only for the moment, and if one
misses it, he misses it forever. But the possibilities of color
and description in television are so vast that no coach can
afford to slight them. It is the coach's best means of conveying
information to the public about the athletic program. There
have been occasions when the coach was resigned to having
a team presented before a limited group of spectators, some-
times under such adverse conditions as inclement weather,
poor seating capacity, and a losing game. Through television,
however, the coach may appear in filmed interviews under
much more favorable circumstances, enjoying a relaxed
atmosphere, accompanied by other interesting personalities,
and making a presentation to viewers who are themselves
comfortable and receptive.
The extent to which a coach or school athletes generate
news for the three principle news media determines how
frequently and how favorably they will be mentioned when
they are making no effort to appear before the public. The
coach should be particularly careful to treat these three media
impartially, being equally cordial and cooperative with each
of them. However, as a precaution, the news media should
not become the coach. Careful planning and execution in
the release of news to the media is vital to the building of
the team concept.
Relationships with Game Officials
A coach, or another properly authorized person, or group,
has the responsibility of selecting the most competent offi-
cials who are available and registered in the state. These
officials should be treated with the courtesy due any guests.
The coach should never indicate, in the presence of spec-
tators, dissatisfaction with an official. Any discussions with
an official concerning plays or decisions should be con-
ducted in a calm and friendly manner.
The coach should respect the decisions of the officials and
should not make any critical statement to the press concern-
ing decisions of officials. Officials should be contacted prior
to the contest they are sched uled to work and provided neces-
sary information. It is best not to employ hometown officials
nor to have the same crew of officials for more than two
or three home contests during the season. Whenever pos-
sible, a separate dressing room, adequately supplied, should
be provided for officials. The coach should see that the offi-
cials are paid before the contest, and should arrange for
competent timers and scorers.
Currently in most states each coach has an obligation to
rate the officials after every game. It is desirable that coaches
wait several hours before making this report in order to allow
for objective evaluation of the official's performance.
The coach has a definite responsibility to know the rules
of the sports being coached. To keep up-to-date, members
of the coaching staff should attend rules clinics. Also, they
should meet together with officials to discuss common prob-
lems, either as individual school staffs or through organiza-
tional structures such as athletic conferences.
Crowd Accommodation and Management
Crowd accommodation has for many years involved provid-
ing ample parking, concession convenience, clean rest
rooms, shelter from rain, drinking fountains, and the provi-
sion of other conveniences. It has more and more in recent
years involved providing protection for players, coaches, and
spectators from malcontents and vandals.
The schools are becoming increasingly aware of the need
for preventive measures to overcome crowd control behavior
problems. Many communities have seen considerable dif-
ficulties arise with crowd control or assistance problems over
the last few years. Incidents such as rock and ice throwing,
band members being pushed and shoved while marching
from the bus to their seats, and even verbal and physical
embarrassment of cheerleaders and majorettes have not
The problem, however, is not one which belongs exclusively
to sports. Disturbances are a national and local problem.
Sports are a major arm to counteract these disturbances
and a national medium to coordinate community involve-
ment, thereby bringing the community together to solve a
Loitering by out-of-school youth around schools and at athle-
tic events can be one of the major causes of problems. It
is recommended that the coaches associations encourage
the city or county to enact an ordinance against loitering
on school property, assaulting a teacher or student, using
harassment techniques or obscene language, and against
disrupting a class or school activity. Such ordinances are
currently in existence in some cities and those could serve
as an example or model for constructing one in your locality.
The following measures could prove most helpful in prevent-
ing trouble at athletic contests:
Specific rules and regulations should be enacted
as is indicated above.
Each facility where athletic contests are held
should be studied in advance to determine
potential trouble spots.
There should be a definite plan and route pro-
cedure for teams, students, and non-students to
enter and leave the site of the activity.
All areas, corners, hedge rows, bathrooms, etc.
inside a stadium or gymnasium should be brightly
All areas outside a stadium or gymnasium, includ-
ing parking lots and approachways, within about
a two-block radius, should be brightly lighted.
All students should be issued identification
cards and required to bring them to athletic con-
All home games should be video taped with spe-
cial attention given to identification of disorderly
City and county officials should assign supple-
mental officers in uniform and should plan pa-
trols so that they are in the area at the conclusion
of the athletic event.
* The public should be made aware through news
releases to the media of the final disposition of
problems and recommendations concerning
game incidents. While it should be remembered
that the majority of students are mannerly and
well behaved, there are those who are not and
knowing the possible punishment might serve as
* Where there is great potential for disorder at a
particular game, that game should be played at
a neutral site.
* Cheerleaders and cheering activities should be
of such a nature as not to promote trouble. The
sponsor should remain with the cheerleaders at
* All coaches' statements to the news media should
be related to game procedures and players' per-
formance. Statements concerning troublesome
situations should come from other school offi-
THE COACH LOOKS AT EQUIPMENT AND FACILITIES
Five major factors to be considered in selecting equipment
include safety, comfort, appearance, usage, and budget con-
Of primary importance is consideration for the safety of the
student. The inexperienced coach should consult an expert
as to the best quality of protective equipment available. The
coach should remember when selecting someone with whom
to consult about equipment that while the sporting goods
manufacturer or dealer is probably an expert, he is not neces-
sarily the one with whom you may obtain the best advice.
Since the sporting goods dealer has a special interest in the
product he is selling, it is advisable to talk with an experi-
enced high school coach or with a college coach or trainer
concerning the best available protective equipment. The
trainer will frequently have researched the various types of
protective equipment available and can give you concrete
evidence upon which you can make intelligent and defensible
decisions. Players should be counseled in the importance of
wearing properly fitted equipment. Periodic checks of
equipment by coaches will help reduce injuries to athletes
and assure longer use of the equipment.
Comfort is a consideration which can be closely related to
safety. Comfort, however, must be considered for non-
protective as well as protective equipment. Some protective
equipment by its very nature does not enhance comfort; how-
ever, the most comfort available without loss of protection for
the participant should be built into the product purchased.
Comfort in items such as shoes is essential in order to insure
that the player will be able to concentrate on the game at
hand, and that there will be a minimum loss of practice time or
playing time resulting from discomfort or minor irritations
and injuries, such as blisters. Improperly fitted uniforms,
either too large or too small, can easily result in a loss of
mobility and decreased efficiency on the part of the player.
Younger players are frequently hesitant to call such situations
to the attention of the coach. Due to this problem and the
growth patterns of younger players, periodic checks should
be made to insure player comfort.
Appearance is a consideration which does not affect the
comfort or safety of the player. It may, however, play a major
role in determining team pride. The team members should
have equipment that is, and uniforms that are, attractive
enough that they can take pride in their appearance. Uniforms
that are colorful, distinctive, and meaningful can give a
psychological lift to the player, team, and spectators. The
coach should attempt to select some piece of equipment or
uniform which is distinctive and will serve as a sort of rallying
point for the team. Another major point to consider related to
appearance is that of uniform standardization. Exterior items
of apparel which players wear in game situations should be
standardized. There is nothing more disconcerting to the
second or third team player than to have to wear an off-brand
helmet or shirt and shorts which are slightly off color. In
addition, replacement costs can normally be reduced if
equipment is standardized.
The use of equipment is a prime consideration in its selec-
tion. Three different types of equipment that might be con-
sidered are developmental equipment, practice equipment,
and game equipment. Developmental equipment is in a class
of its own and should be purchased for a specific or special
purpose. As an example, a medicine ball may be purchased to
aid in strengthening athletes' arms. Such equipment is nor-
mally used in the off-season. The player should be accus-
tomed to handling official regulation equipment prior to and
during the season. In general, practice equipment should
conform to the same specifications as game equipment. The
use of old game balls as practice equipment is desirable only
as long as they continue to meet size, shape, and resilience
specifications. It is undesirable to have players practice with a
ball which has lost its original form and then play with a
perfect new ball.
In the selection of practice uniforms, the coach should be
just as conscious of comfort as he is with game uniforms.
While color is a factor in practice uniforms, the primary con-
sideration should be durability, maintenance, and comfort.
The fifth factor of major consideration is that of budget. A
prerequisite of budget consideration should be a thorough
knowledge of state purchasing laws and local school board
policies regarding the disbursement of internal account
funds. A budget proposal should be prepared and submitted
by the head coach to the athletic director, or principal, as
is required by local policy. Basic considerations in devising
a list of needed equipment include the number of athletes
to be involved in the program, the methods of coaching and
practice to be employed, and the existing inventory. Too fre-
quently the coach budgets for, or orders, equipment without
consulting a carefully prepared inventory. The principal and
athletic director should approve an itemized budget prior
to its implementation.
Care of Equipment
The value of an efficient system of purchasing equipment
can be lost unless proper care is taken and repairs are made
during the playing season when equipment is in use and
unless proper storage is provided when the season is com-
pleted. A properly secured, heated, air conditioned and
lighted equipment storage room with adequate space for
handling and repairing equipment should be provided. In
damp areas a dehumidifier has proven to be helpful in pre-
A wholesome attitude among players toward the use and
care of equipment should be encouraged. Players should
understand that the equipment is loaned to them and that
it is their responsibility to care for it properly during the
playing season. Players should sign for equipment issued
them and should be held responsible for its safe return. There
should be a systematic method of cleaning and issuing equip-
ment. It should be the policy of the administration to help
enforce the rules set forth by the athletic department regard-
ing student responsibility for the replacement of lost equip-
ment. The practice of giving equipment to selected partici-
pants is not acceptable and borders on dishonesty by the
One coach should be designated as responsible for the care
and issue of equipment for each sport. An efficient and per-
petual inventory system should be designed and maintained.
It is advisable to use a card file or record book in which
to record the description and size of equipment and the name,
grade, position, telephone number, street address, and locker
number of the player to whom equipment is issued. A good
marking system for identifying equipment is a must if players
are to be held responsible for equipment they check out.
A conscientious student manager should be secured and
trained in handling, issue, cleaning, and repair of equipment.
This manager should be supervised by the coach who is
responsible for equipment.
Periodic checks for detecting and replacing damaged equip-
ment should be made. (Examples: Track shoes should be
checked for missing spikes and/or spikes of legal length.
The suspension system in the football helmet should be
checked for looseness. Leather shoes in use should be
brushed and oiled weekly and after use in the rain.) Consider-
able money can be saved by making needed repairs before
there is extensive damage to a piece of equipment. The stu-
dent equipment manager can be instructed in making many
repairs and preserving equipment.
Clean uniforms and underclothing should be issued on a
regular basis. In schools where players furnish their own
personal equipment such as socks, supporters and towels,
coaches should provide a policy which will aid in keeping
Every coach should make a special effort to improve knowl-
edge of the care and repair of equipment, since equipment is
both a major safety factor and the major area of expense in the
Inventory of Equipment
It is important that the coach keep an adequate inventory
of athletic equipment in all sports. To effectively do this,
there should be a standard inventory form selected on the
basis of appropriateness, simplicity, and adequacy.
A good inventory should indicate:
The quantity, quality, size, and condition of all
equipment on hand.
Equipment that needs repair or replacement.
New equipment that is needed.
The coach should make an inventory of all sports equipment
prior to the beginning of a particular sport season. This inven-
tory should include all equipment, both used and new. Also,
a running inventory should be kept during the season in
order to determine what equipment is worn out or lost.
Immediately after the close of each season, an inventory of
all equipment should be made and needs for the coming
season established from this inventory. The proposed budget
should then be presented to the principal or the athletic direc-
tor for the next season. The head coach of the sport con-
cerned should be responsible for the preparation of the inven-
tory. By preparing the inventory personally, the coach will
have a much better understanding of the equipment situation.
Inventories should remain available from one year to the next.
This procedure places the coach in a favorable position to
discuss budget needs.
Many items of athletic equipment cannot be repaired by
coaches and managers but can be returned to useful service
at great financial savings to the school by the use of the
services of a reputable athletic equipment firm. Coaches
should familiarize themselves with the reconditioning pro-
cess and the services offered by firms specializing in this
The athletic director is frequently responsible for the plan-
ning, supervision and maintenance of the athletic facilities,
yet some of these responsibilities should be delegated to
the coaches of the various teams.
Planning the Use of Facilities
It is of paramount importance that the coaching staff recog-
nize that many school activities require the use of the school's
athletic facilities. Physical education classes, band practices,
intramural sports, cheerleading, assemblies, and spontane-
ous recreation should be integral factors in planning the
use of a school's facilities. Scheduling of these activities
should be decided by a committee which includes the school
staff persons responsible for various programs. Once such
a schedule is confirmed by the committee and approved by
the school principal, it should be signed by each committee
member and copies should be circulated to the committee
and then posted conspicuously about the school premises.
With the great need for athletic facilities that exists in most
schools, planning should be such that a facility is never left
vacant or closed.
Planning for Construction and Major Maintenance
The athletic director along with other school personnel who
have a concern for the same type facilities should devise
a long range plan for facility construction and maintenance.
This plan should include all facilities which are desirable
whether they seem "practical" or not. These facilities should
be placed on a priority list in terms of their importance and
in terms of their practicality. Funds for construction or
improvement, as the case may be, should be pursued dili-
gently from all available sources. The major achievements are
made from a series of little steps. Remember also that the
professional coach has a responsibility to have input into
the design of the facility as well as for promoting the construc-
tion of a facility. The architect normally has little conception
of the details that make a facility functional to the profes-
sional. A common light switch to put out all lights with one
flick of the hand from the coaches' office and a common
water valve which can cut off all the shower heads from
the coaches' office can, over the period of the year, save
money, save thousands of steps and hundreds of hours.
Priorities should also be given to security, particularly the
areas where equipment is to be stored.
Supervision and Daily Maintenance
To provide the most consideration for the health and safety
of participants, each facility needs daily supervision and
maintenance. Broken glass on the playing and practice fields,
fungus in the locker room and shower areas, and security
of participants' valuables are but a few of the many problems
that may be encountered and resolved by daily supervision
and maintenance. Because it is impossible and undesirable
for the athletic director or head coach to perform the many
duties related to this area of concern, there is a growing
trend for district school boards to accept major responsibility
for proper care and maintenance of athletic and physical
education facilities through improved custodial and plant
services. There should be regular staff persons augmented
by student assistants assigned to maintenance duties. The
athletic director or head coach should, at the very most,
be concerned with supervising these employees. There
should be an extensive list of daily, weekly, monthly, and
seasonal maintenance needs prepared and assigned to
appropriate custodial personnel and student managers.
Maintenance matters should not be left to chance or the
memory of one or a few persons. They should be specifically
designated and routinely accomplished. It should be remem-
bered that the coach is a professional teacher and adminis-
trator whose time should not be consumed by the lining
of fields or by the performance of maintenance tasks.
THE COACH AND LEGAL LIABILITY
Liability lawsuits resulting from injuries of athletes during
interscholastic athletic activities are rare in most states; pro-
tection for the coach, however, lies in a sound understanding
of the principles of liability. Every coach should have a
thorough knowledge of the following topics: Who is liable
for accidents in the athletic program; what constitutes neg-
ligence; the principal defenses against suits for damages,
means by which suits can be avoided; and what is current
Who May Be Held Liable
For many years governmental agencies enjoyed sovereign
immunity in Florida; however, the 1973 Legislature waived
the immunity of the state, within limits, with such waives
to become effective in January, 1975. With the exception
of a very few states, the school boards and similar agencies
in charge of public schools are immune from tort liability,
unless there is a statute which places liability upon these
agencies. The state, because of its sovereign nature, is
immune from tort liability, and the agencies in charge of
public instruction are regarded by the courts as branches
of the state government.
Principals, supervisors, coaches, and other teachers are sub-
ject to the usual rule covering tort liability, that is, such
individuals are liable for injuries resulting from their neglig-
ence and are not liable, regardless of the kind of injury, if
What Constitutes Negligence
Negligence has been legally defined as the failure to act
as a reasonable and prudent person would act under the
circumstances. This is a vague and elusive definition for the
layman and requires clarification. The following elements
are necessary if a suit based upon negligence is to be suc-
Duty to conform to a standard of behavior which
will not subject others to an unreasonable risk
Breach of that duty.
A sufficiently close casual connection between
the conduct or behavior and the resulting injury.
Damage or injury resulting to the rights or inter-
ests of another.
In view of these elements, it can be seen that negligence
is based not only upon carelessness but also upon conduct
or behavior which should be recognized as involving risks
to others. A coach who fails to avoid a dangerous situation
through carelessness, ignorance, forgetfulness, or poor judg-
ment may be found negligent and held liable for damages.
The following are some questionable practices of coaches
which may be the basis of legal liability:
Supplying pills (e.g., Aspirin) for headaches.
Examination and diagnosis by stethoscope.
Prescribing anti-cold pills or capsules.
Strapping or taping without expert assessment
for possible fracture.
Permitting return to play of a player with a head
Playing injured players not medically certified.
Permitting students to return to activity after ill-
ness without medical certification.
Prescribing gargles or swabs for sore throats.
Use of cutting instruments on calluses, corns,
bunions and ingrown toenails.
Administering local anethesia to permit play after
Attempting to revive unconscious persons.
A coach can be liable for administering too little first aid
and also for administering too much.
Principal Defenses Against Suits for Damages
A coach is not always liable when an accident occurs even
though he has been negligent. There are five different legal
defenses which might be employed by the teacher to avoid
losing a suit. These are:
1. Proximate causes of injury. The negligent
behavior must be what is known as the
"proximate cause of the injury" before a jury will
sustain a damage suit. This means that the neg-
ligent action of the coach was the direct and
immediate cause of the injury. If the accident
were only indirectly or remotely due to the care-
less behavior of the teacher, the latter would
not be liable. The negligent conduct must be
a substantial factor in causing the injury, or the
claim will be disallowed.
2. Contributory negligency. If the injured athlete
failed to act as a reasonably prudent individual
should have acted under the circumstances and
if this negligence contributed to the accident,
any negligent conduct on the part of the coach
is cancelled. The athlete is expected to employ
a reasonable standard of self-protection. When
contributory negligence can be demonstrated,
the law makes no effort to apportion the wrong
between the athlete and the coach.
It should be recognized, however, that what is
reasonably prudent conduct on the part of the
coach might not be so construed for an athlete.
The standard of behavior expected of an athlete
is that which other athletes of the same age,
intelligence, and background would ordinarily
demonstrate under the circumstances. If the
athlete does not exercise the degree of care
which normally would be expected of such an
athlete for his own protection, his contributory
negligence would cancel any negligence on the
part of the coach.
3. Assumption of risk. When athletes voluntarily
engage in activities they take upon themselves
the risks involved in such participation. Both
players and spectators assume that the normal
risks involved in participating in or witnessing
athletic contests are present. The spectator at
a baseball game who is struck by a foul ball
assumes this risk when he comes to the game.
The spectator who is injured at a football game
when some of the players fall out of bounds
voluntarily assumes this risk when he attends
the game. The player who is injured in a football
game understood that when he tried out for the
team he was taking a risk of injury. It should
be pointed out, however, that players have the
right to expect safe equipment, safe facilities,
and qualified leadership when they become can-
didates for school teams.
4. An act of God. When an uncontrollable act of
the elements occurs and there is an injury, no
liability is attached to the teacher. Coaches
should know that waiver forms from parents or
guardians do not provide immunity to tort
liability. They do assure parental knowledge and
permission, however, and may prevent the filing
of suits by parents.
5. Comparative Negligence. Both the teacher's
and the student's negligence contributed to the
injury and the costs are pro-rated.
Avoiding Damage Suits
As individuals, coaches must be concerned with protecting
themselves against suits for damages. They should be con-
cerned with providing a safe environment for their students.
It is educationally unsound to coach an activity in a dangerous
manner in unsafe surroundings. A comprehensive and con-
tinuous safety program should be of primary concern for
The coach should be sure that the environment is safe. He
should have all apparatus, equipment, and facilities inspected
periodically to locate hidden hazards. Any hazards should
be removed, and if the coach cannot correct the hazardous
condition personally, he should notify in writing the principal
of the school and keep a carbon copy of the notification.
The activities selected and the manner of coaching them
should not make unreasonable demands upon the capacities
of students. Equipment and apparatus should be locked up
when not in use.
In case of injuries, a qualified coach should give first aid.
Serious injuries should be treated by a physician. Injured
students should not be allowed to continue participation until
the extent of the injury is determined. In serious cases, medi-
cal clearance should be required. All students should be
encouraged to have accident insurance, and the coach
should have comprehensive personal liability insurance.
Complete, detailed accident reports including the names and
stories of eye-witnesses should be filled out immediately after
an accident. These reports serve two purposes: (1) They may
serve as evidence in case of a suit for damages; and (2)
they focus attention on hazards that should be eliminated.
A conscientious coach who has the interests of the players
in mind is not likely to be sued for damages. In the unlikely
event that this should happen, however, coaches should be
aware of their legal rights. A sound knowledge of the rules
governing tort liability may serve both as a protection to
the coach and as an incentive for improving the athletic pro-
grams in the school.
Coaches want to know what to do and what not to do to
avoid being negligent in the performance of their professional
duties. In other words, they want to know what it means
to act as a reasonably prudent and careful person according
to generally accepted professional standards. One of the best
ways to avoid negligence is to apply the rules of safety at
Because the states differ with respect to legal responsibilities,
it is suggested that each coach:
Be thoroughly acquainted with the statutes and
court decisions relative to school district liability
in the state.
In those cases where the meaning of these
statutes is not clear, secure rulings from state
When necessary, seek advice of legal counsel,
because it is unwise for anyone to attempt to
be his own attorney.
If your school agrees to buy insurance, be sure
it is legally permissable to use school money for
Become familiar with your legal status as a public
Remember at all times that the coach serves en loco parents,
that is, in place of the parents or as a substitute parent.
Try to anticipate the dangers and act as a thoughtful parent
and a competent professional person would presumably act
under all circumstances.
It has been established that individual coaches can be sued
for negligence; therefore, there are some terms that one
should be familiar with in discussing tort liability. The follow-
ing definitions are from Black's Law Dictionary:
Accident-An unforeseen event occurring without
the will or design of the person whose mere act
causes it. In its proper use, the term excludes
negligence. It is an event which occurs without
fault, carelessness, or want of circumspection for
the person affected, or which could not have been
avoided by the use of that kind and degree of
care necessary to the exigency.
Tort-A private or civil wrong. A violation of a duty
imposed by a general law or otherwise upon all
persons occupying the relation to each other
which is involved in a given transaction. There
must always be a violation of some duty owing
to plaintiff, and generally some duty must arise
by operation of law and set by mere agreement
Liability-A broad legal term. It has been referred
to a point of most comprehensive significance,
including almost every character of hazard or
responsibility, absolute, contingent, or likely.
THE COACH AND REGULATORY AGENCIES
The Florida High School Activities Association
The Florida High School Activities Association, Incorporated,
is a voluntary non-profit organization of public and private,
junior and senior high schools whose principals are
members. The officers and directors are high school princi-
pals elected by their colleagues. Allied school groups, includ-
ing the Florida School Board Association, District School
Superintendents Association, Secondary Principals
Association, Florida Athletic Coaches Association, and the
Florida Music Educators Association have representation on
the Board of Directors.
The F.H.S.A.A. was organized on April 9, 1920 by a group
of high school principals who saw the necessity for adequate
supervision of the rapidly expanding interscholastic athletic
program. Twenty-nine schools became charter members. In
1951 member principals voted to change the name of the
organization to the Florida High School Activities Association
so that non-athletic activities would also receive proper
supervision at the state level. The F.H.S.A.A. was incorporated
The aim of this association should be to promote, direct,
and control all interscholastic activities of high school stu-
dents, both athletic and non-athletic; to establish, maintain,
and enforce such regulations as may be necessary to assure
that all such activities shall be part of an contribute towards
the entire educational program of the State of Florida; to
cooperate closely with the Department of Education in the
development of that program; to safeguard the physical,
mental, and moral welfare of high school students and protect
them from exploitation.
Organization and Operation
The F.H.S.A.A. functions within the framework of a Charter
and By-Laws. The Charter outlines the scope, purpose, and
authority of this association. The By-Laws contain the stan-
dards to be met and maintained by high school students
desirous of participating in interscholastic activities and the
necessary regulations pertaining to the successful operation
of the program. All of the regulations, rules, and provisions
were established by vote of the member principals. By accept-
ing membership in the F.H.S.A.A. each member agrees to
abide by the regulations which they have enacted. The
association meets annually.
The Board of Directors
The Board of Directors consists of sixteen District Directors
who are member principals elected by their fellow principals,
Chairman of the District School Superintendents Association,
Chairman of the Florida School Board Association, Chairman
of the Florida Athletic Coaches Association, Chairman of the
Florida Music Educators Association, and Chairman of the
Department of Secondary School Principals. Two staff mem-
bers of the Department of Education serve as consultants.
The Board of Directors meets three times annually and con-
siders such items of the association's business as may come
before it. The Board determines policy and provides
guidelines for the entire program sponsored by the F.H.S.A.A.
The Executive Committee
The Executive Committee consists of the President, two Vice-
Presidents, and two District Directors. This Committee
approves the annual budget, decides on all undue hardship
cases regarding student eligibility and serves as a final court
of appeals on all controversies involving association
The Executive Secretary
The Executive Secretary is selected by the Board of Directors.
He is the executive officer and performs the duties normally
assigned to such an officer. He is assisted by the Director
of Field Services, a Field Representative, an office manager,
and an office staff. Executive personnel do not "make" rules,
but they are charged with the responsibility of administering
the policies set up by the members.
Respect for decisions of the Executive Secretary and the
Executive Committee shall be accepted in good faith and
spirit by the member affected, and the member who by any
act or attitude shall refuse to accept, or shall hold in contempt
or derision, shall be subject to suspension from this
association. Nothing in this section is to be construed as
preventing a member from appealing decisions of the Execu-
tive Secretary to the Executive Committee.
The F.H.S.A.A. is a service organization. Over the years the
F.H.S.A.A. has developed many services and activities
designed to assist school administrators, faculty members,
and officials in conducting a sound program of interscholas-
tic activities. Some of these services are as follows:
The F.H.S.A.A. organizes and directs all district,
regional and state tournaments and meets for
football, basketball, tennis, baseball, golf, track,
swimming, wrestling, cross country, and
It schedules and supervises all district and state
music contests, debate, speech, and club
The F.H.S.A.A. seeks to upgrade the caliber of
officiating. Rules interpretation meetings for
coaches and officials are held annually through-
out the state. Rule books, case books, and other
instructional materials are furnished.
All game officials are registered with the
association. They are rated by the coaches and
must take a standardized examination annually.
The F.H.S.A.A. maintains a library of current ath-
letic rules films for use by member principals,
coaches, and officials.
Member principals, faculty members, district
superintendents, and newspapers are provided
with monthly copies of the F.H.S.A.A. bulletin.
The association compiles and publishes the
Activities Calendar, an annual compilation of all
approved interscholastic activities. Copies of the
calendar are furnished member principals,
superintendents, and faculty members.
The F.H.S.A.A. checks the eligibility status of all
prospective athletes prior to their participation,
thus assuring that all participants abide by the
Consultant and advisory services are furnished
member principals and others upon request.
The F.H.S.A.A. maintains membership in the
National Federation of State High School
Associations. As a result, the facilities and ser-
vices of the federation are available to all mem-
bers of this association.
The F.H.S.A.A. is financed primarily by membership dues,
fees, district, regional and state tournaments, meets and
playoffs, investments, officials' fees, and fines. The funds
to operate the program are derived from interscholastic
events sponsored by the schools. The association is not sup-
ported by tax funds.
Importance of F.H.S.A.A. to the Coach
All coaches are encouraged to study and to become
thoroughly familiar with the F.H.S.A.A. Constitution and its
By-Laws since the basic organization and administration of
high school athletic programs in the State of Florida and
the eligibility of all high school athletes are governed by
regulations outlined in this publication. Ignorance of these
regulations can quickly place a coach in an undesirable posi-
tion with students, parents, and school administration, and
flagrant disregard of these rules may result in the loss of
a coaching position and the suspension of a school from
An athletic award is a symbol of athletic accomplishment
and good sportsmanship. Since the award is a symbol of
accomplishment, its value lies in its implication rather than
in its monetary worth. The monetary worth of awards is limited
by the rules of the Florida High School Activities Association,
and no effort to circumvent the limitation should be tolerated.
Groups outside the school should be informed of the regula-
tions governing the awards:
34-1-1 Awards Defined-No awards of any kind
having a utilitarian value of more than $1.00 may
be made by members of this association or by
an individual or organization whatsoever to
players for participation in interscholastic athlet-
ics. Medals, trophies, ribbons, pins, letters, swea-
ters, and jackets are hereby declared to be of
decorative value rather than utilitarian value,
within the meaning of this article and may be
awarded by the school which the student repres-
ents or by this association. Note: In all
association-sponsored tournaments and meets,
whether state, regional, district, or sub-district,
only those awards furnished by this association
or available through its state office may be given
to any participating school or athlete. The
approved awards consist of standard trophies,
medals, pins, and ribbons.
S34-1-2-Any student who accepts an award dur-
ing a playing season, other than those given by
the school which he attends, the conference to
which that school belongs, or this association,
shall be ineligible for interscholastic competition
for a full 18 weeks. Note: Participation in any
kind of advertising scheme for the promotion of
private enterprise, in which there is compensa-
tion to the student, is considered a violation of
(By-laws, Florida High School Activities Association, Article XXXIV,
Sections 1, 2.)
The coach should, in cooperation with the principal, set up
definite machinery for the purpose of administering the
school athletic award system. The following considerations
will enter into the planning: the experiences and convictions
of the coach; the practices previously in force in the school;
the environment of the school (i.e., whether it is a large
school in a large town, a small school in a small community,
a school in a rural community, a consolidated school, or
a parochial school); the financial condition of the athletic
department; and the attitude of the students and faculty
and, in some instances, of the athletic council.
As there are nearly as many different athletic award systems
as there are high schools in the state, it is not feasible to
recommend one. There are, however, some general policies
which are recommended:
The size of the letter award should be the same
for all sports.
High standards of achievement should be
required for awards in all sports.
The requirements for the award should be clearly
understood by all concerned, including the
Outside groups should be discouraged from giv-
ing athletic awards to athletes.
Awards should be made as soon afterthe comple-
tion of the playing season as possible.
Awards should be presented at the school. This
might be done in an all-inclusive assembly near
the end of the school year or in assemblies after
each sport season. Some schools have included
awards for debating, music, glee club, dramatics,
and the like as a part of the all-inclusive assembly.
If a specified amount of participation is a require-
ment for the award, the coach should keep accu-
rate records of time played by each student.
Injuries that occur while the athlete is participat-
ing in sports should not exclude him from an
Occasionally a situation will arise in which the coach will
have to determine the merit of the individual case. Rigid
regulations serve a useful purpose only when such regula-
tions do not harm an individual in unusual situations. Such
unusual situations should be handled by the coach. In the
final analysis, if participation is the requirement, the degree
of participation as well as the time, should be a factor in
determining the award.
The National Federation
The National Federation consists of the fifty individual state
high school athletic and/or activities associations and the
association of the District of Columbia. Also affiliated, are
the seven interscholastic organizations from the Canadian
Provinces of Alberta, British Columbia, Manitoba, New
Brunswick, Nova Scotia, Ontario, and Saskatchewan.
These state and provincial associations have united to secure
the benefits of cooperative action which eliminate unneces-
sary duplication of effort and which increase efficiency
through the pooling and coordinating of ideas of all who
are engaged in the administration of high school athletic
and activities programs.
The activities of the National Federation are based on the
belief that strong state and national high school athletic
organizations are necessary to protect the activity and athle-
tic interests of the high schools, to promote an ever increas-
ing growth of a type of interscholastic athletics which is
educational in both objective and method and which can
be justified as an integral part of the high school curriculum,
and to protect high school students from exploitation for
purposes having no educational implications. To accomplish
these things, it is necessary for high school administrators
to exercise teamwork on a nationwide scale.
Some of the characteristics of the federation are symbolized
by the seal. The three horizontal stripes and four bars repres-
ent the seven administrative sections. The name at the top
forms an arch, the builder's symbol of strength. It is anchored
in the seven administrative sections to show that the strength
of the federation rests on the strength of the member associa-
tions, whose authority within the state is supreme. The field
is the heraldic sign of the courage which must be an attribute
of an athletic leader in successfully conducting an activity
worthy of consideration as a part of a school program. The
map of the United States represents the scope of the work
and a loyalty to national ideals. The four stars stand for the
four states-Illinois, Iowa, Michigan, and Wisconsin-which
were the charter members in 1920. The prominence of the
word "state" indicates the importance of the autonomy of
each state association. The maple leaves are Canadian
trademarks. A master drive wheel with forty-seven cogs
indicates a working organization with machinery to mesh
with related efforts by all groups which attempt to contribute
to the national welfare. The wheel incorporates a horseshoe
design to represent the part destiny plays in life. It emphasizes
the truth that in athletic contests there is an element of chance
which makes it unnatural to consider the outcome of a con-
test a matter of life and death and to look upon a loss as
a reflection on the team or the official. The rays below the
arch represent the nineteen qualities which are prerequisites
for attaining the rank of an athletic leader. The rays are in
reverse perspective to represent a rising sun and to indicate
that the influence of the organization is in the ascendancy.
The seal is circular to suggest a closely knit organization
with characteristics of a family circle.
State Departments of Education
The role of state departments of education in conducting
and supervising interscholastic athletic programs varies
greatly from state to state. At one end of the continuum are
those states in which the department of education exercises
complete control over the program to those in which the de-
partment's responsibility consists primarily of providing in-
direct and consultative services. Florida is an excellent exam-
ple of the latter plan. The Florida Department of Education
has designated representatives to serve as liasions with the
Athletic Coaches Association; has established minimum
criteria for the design and construction of athletic facilities;
finances certain publications; supports staff development
activities; and conducts studies to obtain relevant data when
the need exists.
While all states regulate certification relative to teaching,
there is no state which requires special certification for athlet-
ic coaching. However, there is increasing support from within