Christian School Coach's Handbook
For coaches of all levels
Why do you coach?
Sample Coach Handbook for Christian Schools
Please refer to the athletic handbook for a complete description of the athletic philosophy at the school.
Athletics is one of the many means of discipleship that the school uses to bring students to a deeper relationship with Christ. Participating in a sport provides daily opportunities for students to grow in their walk with Christ by experiencing things like struggles, failure, success, and relationships through a Biblical framework. Coaches are the primary guide throughout this process.
At all times, coaches should represent Christ, the school, and themselves in a way that honors God and teach their athletes to do the same. Coaches should have a clear profession of their faith, meet the requirements found in the faculty employee profile, and have a view of athletics that is consistent with the athletic program. Coaches should thoroughly understand and agree with the following principles:
1. Coaches must understand that athletics is a ministry.
Students who participate in a sport are voluntarily placing themselves in your “classroom” for hours each week. Coaches should understand that the sport they are teaching is a platform for them to model and teach lessons that will last well beyond the student’s athletic career. Being involved in athletics, which by nature is a high profile part of the school, allows ministry opportunities with opponents, fans, and the community as they observe how the Christian life is lived out in an athletic arena.
2. Coaches must understand that athletics is an opportunity to teach Biblical principles.
The mission of the school is “to provide for Christian families a Christ-centered education that disciples our students to honor Jesus Christ in thought, word and deed.” The mission of the athletic department is no different. In fact, in many ways, coaches may have more opportunities for discipleship than an average teacher will. Throughout competition, athletes run into many situations that parallel situations they will face in life. These types of situations are perfect times to teach Biblical principles and encourage athletes to build Christ-like character in their lives. Much attention has been given to the old saying that “playing a sport builds character”. In reality, sports does not build character, it only does an excellent job of revealing character. Coaches must be intentional in teaching right character in those moments when wrong character is revealed. True discipleship will occur in the realm of athletics when coaches are actively seeking opportunities to teach God’s Word.
3. Coaches must view winning from the proper perspective.
Athletics teams at Westlake have a goal of competing well and playing to win. Excellence is something that each team should strive for every time they compete. However, it is important to understand that winning is not just measured on the scoreboard. The final result of a successful sports team is not dependent on their wins and losses. In order to completely understand this principle, coaches must view their teams from an eternal perspective. Instead of counting temporary victories, seek success in areas that will last. For instance, athletes demonstrating fruit of the spirit in a difficult situation, someone developing a desire for the things of God, or boldly sharing their faith with a friend are all examples of “eternal victories”. As a result, winning is not the only goal. If coaches keep this in mind, it has a direct influence on the way they will coach and conduct themselves throughout the season.
1. Christian Leadership – A coach is a role model who is on display for athletes, parents, opponents, fans, officials, and the community. Coach’s commitment to Christ should be evident to those who observe their lives. As role models, coaches should present themselves in a professional manner, evidenced by both their appearance and behavior.
2. Communication – Coaches must make every effort to effectively communicate with athletes and their parents. Lack of communication always causes frustration. Practice and game information should be readily available, and changes should be communicated immediately. Coaches are also the primary representative of their particular sport outside of the school. Developing positive relationships with other coaches and the media will assist the school in building a good athletic program.
3. Discipline – The coach is responsible for all aspects of discipline with his or her team. The coach must be consistent with upholding the school’s policies (i.e. no practice without a physical), the rules of the sport, and ensuring good sportsmanship.
4. Improvement – Coaches should set an example to their athletes by continually seeking to be the best coach they can be. Coaches should take advantage of opportunities to network with other coaches, attend clinics or seminars, and be constantly learning their sport so that they can be the most effective coach possible. Great athletic programs are a result of having great coaches.
The purpose of elementary sports is for students to develop an appreciation and enjoyment of the sport. Priorities at this level are to encourage participation and to build basic individual and team skills. Every athlete will be given equal opportunity to play minutes that will impact the game. Everyone should get an equal amount of participation time. The goal is to get as many elementary students involved as possible. Encouraging participation and building basic skills will strengthen the athletic program in the future.
Junior High Level
The purpose of junior high sports is for students to continue to develop enjoyment of the sport and improving basic individual and team skills. Every athlete should get the opportunity to play minutes that will impact the game. However, playing time will not be equal. Athletes should be introduced to the concept that each player has a specific role on the team. The emphasis at this level should shift toward developing the most competitive team possible.
High School Level
The purpose of high school sports is for students to enjoy the sport by playing a competitive, high level. Athletes should be pushed to attain the highest level possible. Varsity level players are expected to have a solid grasp of the fundamentals, have excellent skills related to their sport, and be in good physical condition necessary to compete appropriately at the varsity level. The concept of teamwork and playing a specific role on a team should be mastered at this level. Playing time decisions for each player at the varsity level are left totally to the coach’s discretion. Playing time is not guaranteed and each athlete should understand that God has gifted everyone in different ways. Their goal should be to become the best athlete they can be with those abilities that God has given them.
§ Submit a practice schedule to the athletic director prior to the first practice session of the season.
§ Attend and lead preseason parent meeting.
§ Compile a list of policies and regulations for your specific sport that athletes should follow. A copy must be submitted to the athletic director for approval before these are shared with athletes.
§ Secure necessary support staff such as a statistician, scorekeeper, bookkeeper, manager, etc...
§ Pass out uniforms and complete uniform inventory form.
§ Discuss any team cuts with the athletic director before notifying athletes. It is recommended that a coach meet individually with each athlete that does not make the team.
§ Ensure that no athlete participates in a practice unless all forms have been turned in and athletic fee paid.
§ Recruit and obtain parents to assist in driving the team to away games.
§ Provide an example of Christ-like character in and out of competition.
§ Have regular times of devotions and prayer.
§ Be on time with starting and ending practice.
§ Communicate with parents about changes in the schedule.
§ Complete an accurate team roster and turn in to the athletic director.
§ Report scores to the media on the same day of the contest (varsity only).
§ Ensure proper conduct of players during practices and games.
§ Provide proper supervision for athletes at all times.
§ Keep a scorebook and accurate record of statistics.
§ At times, serve as game manager for home games in place of the athletic director.
§ Return all equipment and uniforms after they have been cleaned and accounted for. A post-season inventory list should accompany uniforms.
§ Compile a list of award winners according to the awards policy.
§ Attend and participate in the scheduled awards program.
§ Turn in end of the season statistics and scorebook.
§ Submit a sport-specific needs list to the athletic director at the end of the season.
§ Plan and organize any off-season activities or camps.
§ Meet with the athletic director for season evaluation.
All coaches, assistant coaches, volunteers, or anyone working with the students on your team (even if they are non-paid) on a regular basis, must be approved by the athletic director. It is school policy that anyone directly involved in working regularly with students must have an application on file, be interviewed, and have a completed background check before they begin.
Athlete Participation Requirements
Coaches may not allow students to practice when the season begins if the students have not turned in the following:
1. Physical Form
2. Emergency Contact Information
3. Athletic Permission Form
4. Sports Fee
It is the coach’s responsibility to make sure that a student does not participate if these items have not been turned in.
§ Coaches should meet with parents and athletes of their particular sport to discuss the philosophy and policies in the athletic handbook.
§ Each coach should discuss with athletes the rules and procedures concerning their particular sport. Coaches must give a copy of the rules and procedures to the Athletic Director for approval before discussing them with parents and athletes.
If one of your players is injured or has an accident during a game, practice, trip, etc… please make sure you fill out a “Student Accident Report” form. The school must keep these on file. This proves that you were aware of the situation, and shows any medical treatment that was required.
§ Never diagnose or experiment with an injury.
§ Contact parents immediately following an injury.
§ If parents cannot be reached, seek the best possible medical attention. Use the emergency medical authorization forms to provide the important information you need.
§ Notify the athletic director immediately if emergency medical personnel are called.
Emergency Medical Procedure
1. Stabilize the athlete.
2. Determine the nature and severity of the injury as quickly as possible.
3. Use appropriate first aid procedures where applicable.
4. If the athlete must go to the hospital, please do the following:
a. Call parents ASAP and inform them of the situation.
b. Send an adult with the athlete to the hospital with the appropriate medical forms.
5. When convenient, but as soon as possible, notify the athletic director.
6. Stay calm. Be in control.
7. Fill out an accident report at the school.
At the end of their respective season, each coach will meet with the athletic director to review the season. Coaches will be reviewed based on their commitment to the school's philosophy, following established policies and procedures, and include a self-evaluation. The purpose of review and evaluation is to make the athletic program the best it can possibly be.
It is the coach’s responsibility to enforce the eligibility guidelines as described in the athletic handbook. This includes not allowing a student to practice without a physical on file or without a sports fee paid. It also includes staying up to date on athlete’s academic eligibility.
Coaches are responsible for contacting the news media on all aspects of the athletic program including schedules and contest results. Be aware of situations with your team in which the media would have interest. Sports media is free advertising for the school, and coaches should take every advantage to get out the school's name.
Any sports related purchases that may be needed during the season must be approved by the athletic director. Coaches will not be reimbursed for items purchased without prior approval. Coaches are encouraged to plan ahead and submit a list of equipment needed at the end of their sports season.
The Athletic Director confirms all schedules and games. Varsity coaches may help with potential opponents and dates for contests. Coaches may also arrange scrimmages if desired. The Athletic Director and head coaches jointly coordinate practice schedules.
Statistics are important to the history and future of the athletic program. Each coach should make sure that important statistical records are kept for their sport. This would include a complete scorebook including both home and away games, as well as other stats (dependant on the sport). Coaches are encouraged to find a parent or student volunteer that is willing to do this on a regular basis throughout the season. All statistics and scorebooks should be turned in to the athletic office at the conclusion of the season.
Coaches are responsible for the complete supervision of their athletes at all times.
§ A coach must be present at all games and practices. You are responsible for your players from the time they arrive until the time they leave. This includes practices and home/away games.
§ Coaches must stay until all players have left. You or your assistant must remain at the school and supervise all student activities until each player has left the property. If there are players who are not being picked up in a timely manner, please discuss this with the parents. If the problem persists, contact the athletic director.
Students must have permission to ride in vehicles other than a school vehicle. Coaches should secure parents who are able to drive to away games. These drivers must fill out the driver information sheet and have it on file in the office before they drive for an event. Whenever travel causes students to miss classes, coaches should remind athletes to turn in missed work ahead of time and communicate with their teachers regarding their absence. Team members are the only people that coaches should transport or be responsible for. Other people (i.e. friends of athletes, spectators) should find their own way to the game.
Each team’s uniforms are the responsibility of the head coach.
- When uniforms are handed out, coaches should fill out the uniform inventory sheet.
- Uniforms should be turned in to the coach no later than two weeks after the last game of the season. If the coach is not on staff at the school, they may make alternate arrangements.
- The athlete is totally responsible for any uniform or equipment issued to them. Any lost, stolen, or damaged items will be charged to the athlete to whom they were issued.
Coaches: Please read, sign, and return to the athletic office.
I have read and agree with the school's Coaches Handbook and the school's Athletic Handbook. I agree to abide by the philosophy and policies established by the school.
Coach Signature Date