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Coaches - Nighthawk Track & Field

Updated 2/23/2020.

We are a Christian-principled program and are looking for volunteer coaches with encouraging spirits and hearts to serve.

The events we offer each season depend on coaches' commitments. Typically, help is most needed in the jumps (horizontal only: long and triple) and throws (shot for sure, discus TBD due to facility issues), but let us know what interests you! Experience is preferred but does not have to be recent; otherwise, general athletic ability (past or present) and body awareness helps. :) Most past sports experience translates well to field events especially. We will train you. Coaches are not required to have student-athletes participating in the program, so please let us know if you know someone that would make a great coach.

Junior highers are the future of our team. We love these kids and desire to provide continuous opportunity and community for them. However, unlike cross country, where most JH and JV/V meets are held on the same date and location, track & field requires managing two teams' schedules (Junior High and JV/Varsity). Additionally, track & field requires more management of student-athletes, families, practices, meets, weather issues, indoor space, etc. And because coaches’ kids quickly move up to the JV/Varsity program, JH coach turnover is a perennial issue. Training and preparation must be revisited frequently, and as such our junior high track team is tentative each season, pending Lead and Assistant JH Coaches. See JH coaching requirements below.

Coaching benefits:

  • Official Northwest Nighthawks COACH shirt :)

  • Meets feel shorter when you're keeping busy

  • Rewarding experience working with youth and seeing them grow and rise to challenges

  • Fun!

The Basics:

  • The Head Coach sets the competition schedule for all JV/Varsity and JH teams.

  • The Head Coach and specialty coaches plan the season’s workouts for all.

  • JH’ers practice with JV/Varsity athletes whenever possible and when facility space is available. If space becomes an issue on inclement weather days, JH practice may be canceled unless JH coaches are able to secure an additional suitable facility and notify the athletes and parents.

Responsibilities for all coaches:

  • Participate in required background checks (see NHAC Youth Protection Policy in the Team Handbook).

  • Abide by MSHSL coaching guidelines: https://www.mshsl.org/mshsl/publications/code/forms/SummerCoach.pdf

  • Complete MSHSL online coaches' training (approximately 3 hours and update annually as required)
    and read InSideOut Coaching: How Sports Can Transform Lives by Joe Ehrmann (provided).

  • (Optional but highly recommended:) Attend at least one day of the MTFCA coaches’ training clinic (typically the last Friday and Saturday of January, www.mshsca.org/trackclinic). We will cover your registration fee.

  • Attend practices 3+ days/week (mid-March through mid-late May)--we host more practices than that, but 3x/week is a minimum for coaches to maintain coaching continuity. See the Track & Field Information & Schedule page and Team Calendar for practice schedule.

  • Meets are generally scheduled once/week beginning early April, typically on practice days. If you are a JV/Varsity (high school) coach and have to miss a couple and/or arrive a bit late, that is O.K. as we typically have other coaches to cover for you. JH coaches are in shorter supply; see information below. See Team Calendar for the tentative competition schedule, or if it is not yet posted, scroll back to last spring for last year's competition schedule. It will be similar.

Junior High Coaches

  • Junior High Meets: All JH Coaches

    • Attend at least one JV/Varsity meet as an orientation before the first JH meet.

    • Attend all JH meets (typically 3:00 arrival through approximately 7:30 wrap up); we try to schedule at least 5 JH meets per season. Our track & field meet locations have typically required less driving than our cross country meets. See Team Calendar for the tentative schedule.

    • JH coaches are fully responsible for leading the JH athletes at meets.

    • Additional meet responsibilities and tips can be found here: https://docs.google.com/document/d/10B_IZB43SwouT5lzaQ1LQym7fzeRh-tZHQRjEdI7BYA/edit?usp=sharing

  • Assistant JH Coaches work as specialty event coaches at full-team practices.

  • Lead JH Coach Responsibilities:

    • Ideally, you would serve as a specialty coach and spend most of your time in that discipline. However, in order to get a basic understanding of all events, you will want to spend time rotating through the disciplines (sprints, hurdles, distance, relays, jumps, throws) at full-team practices. You do not have to have any previous experience or become an expert in anything, but you will need to become comfortable coaching and answering athletes’ questions at meets to the best of your ability.

    • Meets

      • Work with the Varsity Head Coach in determining which JH athletes participate in which events.

      • Collect as much meet data (lap times, etc.) as you can with the help of your assistant JH coach(es) and parent volunteers. Some meets provide results, others do not. We can provide you a form to fill out and send to the head coach (a legible photo of your form is fine), or you can create your own. These will be used by the Head Coach to keep track of PR’s, team records, etc.

      • Publish meet results for the team. Use whatever format you’d like, and include as much information as you’d like--at a minimum, final times/distances.

    • Post season: End-of-season banquet

      • Select “Athlete of the Meet” award recipients and notify the Head Coach of your selections at least 7 days in advance.

      • Prepare and print 1-minute affirmation write-ups (100-120 words max) to read and give to athletes. This is a hallmark of the Nighthawk program and we desire that all athletes receive this affirmation.

We understand that coaching is a big commitment, so thank you for considering it! We'd love to hear from you and answer any of your questions. Please continue to pray as we seek what is best for the Nighthawk programs.