Ashton Eaton hugs his coach Harry Marra (R) after breaking the world record in the men's decathlon after competing in the 1500 meter run portion during Day Two of the 2012 U.S. Olympic Track & Field Team Trials at Hayward Field on June 23, 2012 in Eugene, Oregon.

The coach’s role is to maximize the potential of their athletes, while helping the athlete or team achieve the best results possible. This power of authority can make or break an athlete’s sport experience. Quality coaches need to constantly develop their tools to help athletes grow and develop. The following recommendations can be used to achieve greater success in coaching:

  • Periodize training and rest time for athletes to cut down on overuse injuries and burnout.
  • Provide physical literacy (i.e. agility, balance, coordination training) at every practice at every level.
  • Use developmentally appropriate drills and practice plans at all levels.
  • Operate with an athlete-focused philosophy by creating fun, engaging and challenging sport experiences across all levels of development.
  • Provide quality feedback and age-appropriate development benchmarks to parents and athletes.
  • Focus on effort and development over outcomes to reinforce physical, technical and tactical advancements over winning.
  • Maximize athlete potential and retention at all stages of development.
  • Obtain certification as a coach and continue to develop coaching skills, including age-appropriate teaching skills.