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College coach survey: Players harder to coach, pressures higher
27 Sep 2019
by Brendan Ryan of Golf Placement Services

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- WJHL screen shot

As we gear up for another year of college sports, a lot of people are excited about the coming academic and athletic year: the college athletes to get back to school and get out of their parents' houses, and the fans to get to root on their alma mater or favorite team.

However, there is a group that may not be quite as excited: college coaches.

Why? Coaches are struggling with the demands of winning put on them by fans and administrations and with the demands of the student athlete who wants an outstanding student experience which includes a big campus, competitive football team and high-level golf.

At the heart of the issue are the divergent demands of different groups. In my own experience, many administrators have never coached and have no academic background in which to frame the challenges of being a college coach. Instead their main responsibilities are financial: organizing budgets, building facilities and fundraising. They hope that by providing these resources to their coaches, they will win, and this will earn the administrator other opportunities.

Most student athletes are ready to get away from home but really don't understand the accountability, dedication and perseverance they will need to succeed. They want winning to be fun, not a thankless grind. They want gear, not sound advice from experienced coaches. Together these factors leave coaches in a very difficult situation.

To better understand the challenges facing coaches, I created a survey which was distributed to 100 coaches throughout the NCAA, NAIA and NJCAA. Overall 52 coaches responded via Survey Monkey and the results where shocking:

• 49% believe that prospective student athletes are not aware of the responsibilities of playing college sports, yet this does not stop almost a half million players from participating in 24 sports under the umbrella of the NCAA.

• 95% believe that false allegations could lead to their dismissal

• Almost 70% said that student-athletes have become harder to coach, with another 26% noting that they have been about the same throughout their coaching career, while only 2 coaches said that they are easier!

So, what do college coaches really want? They want a prospective student athlete to understand that college sports require someone who is willing to manage a rigorous academic and athletic schedule. That their college experience will be highlighted by successes and failures, not parties. That they are going to fail, get yelled at, feel overwhelmed and be sleep deprived.

So why do it? Because being held to a higher standard is the most fundamental way to transform someone's life. For their sacrifice, college athletes get a pretty cool reward: character.

>> More articles by Brendan Ryan

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