Should Physical Education Teacher Education Include Coaching Education?

Article excerpt

I served as a physical education teacher and coach for 20 years before entering higher education, and I believe that coaching education should be required for all physical education teacher education (PETE) students. Regardless of whether or not a future professional intends to coach, many will end up doing so by default. They will find themselves being asked to run a sport league or to coach based on their PETE background.

I suggest that a comprehensive coaching education class include three main components. First, students should receive a certification in coaching principles, such as the one offered by the American Sport Education Program (ASEP). These certification courses include topical coverage of coaching education issues. Second, a student's knowledge base should be enhanced by the observation of coaches using the Coaching Behavior Assessment System (CBAS). The CBAS observations help to reinforce PETE pedagogy principles that teach coaches and teachers to demonstrate positive communication and reinforcement, technical feedback, and general encouragement skills.

Finally, students should examine the different coaching-certification programs (e.g., Positive Coaching Alliance, NFHS Coaching Certification Program, and National Alliance for Youth Sports) and determine which is the best based on the time and cost needed to educate "lay" coaches if they become involved in administrating a youth sport league.

--Dennis A. Johnson, associate professor, School of Sport Sciences, Wingate University, Wingate, NC.

In many ways, good coaching I mirrors good teaching. For example, a coach who maximizes activity time and opportunities to learn, while minimizing off-task behavior and transition time, will likely be more successful. However, the aims of both disciplines are quite different. The purpose of physical education is to promote lifetime physical activity and fitness, whereas for coaching the primary aim is winning. The methods employed in each field also differ. Physical education lessons are designed to be fun and to promote skill improvement for a wide range of students and abilities. Coaching focuses more on drills for a more homogeneous, higher-skilled group of athletes.

While supervising physical education student teachers, I have observed lessons that resemble a team practice consisting of rote drills with little differentiation and enjoyment. Such methods are counterproductive and inhibit the aims of physical education. Therefore, teacher education should not include coaching education. It is important in teacher education programs to highlight these differences and reduce student beliefs that coaching and teaching are identical, which they are not. For those interested in pursuing coaching, universities often offer separate coaching instruction, minors, and certificates.

--Matthew Cummiskey, assistant professor, West Chester University, West Chester, PA.

I believe that physical education I teacher education should include coaching education. Having that background would better prepare students for the profession. Many physical education teachers are interested in becoming coaches in at least one sport. So why not give our profession that extra edge? As a student in health and exercise science, I know of a few coaching classes that are offered. However, they are elective classes. Physical education teachers and coaches have a very similar goal, which is to help students/ players become proficient movers. Having the background of a physical education teacher will help coaches be more creative, understand students' developmental level, and know a variety of skill-teaching techniques. I feel that it is a positive idea for students to be educated not only as a physical education teacher but as a coach.

--Angela Pento, student, The College of New Jersey, Ewing, NJ.

physical education teacher education should definitely give the option of taking a coaching education class. …