Coach and Athletic Director

Coach & A.D 2019 Tech Guide

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20 2 0 1 9 T E C H G U I D E 10 considerations for coaching in the technology era By Katie Uhen, contributing writer How many coaches can say they coached the same sport at the same school for 35 years? Steve Kostka can. Kostka started coaching girls track and field at just 22 years old, and things were quite different back then. He came from both high school and college teams that were not very successful. "I took over for a very good coach," said Kostka, who spent the bulk of his career at Arrowhead High School in Wisconsin. He gave himself four years to maintain the success, and it happened. So he stayed. With 24 years of experience as a head coach, Kostka provided some valuable insight on how to roll with the changes. 1 Attend clinics, learn from the experts and develop a training program. "When I was a brand new coach I depended upon a good friend of mine, the head coach from Mukwonago (High School)," Kostka said, "I would call him and ask him what he did for workouts." Kostka stresses that he learned from those around him and was able to take a training program and tweak it based on the individual athletes that were on the team. 2 .Embrace technology. "Track now has more .information systems to use than 35 years ago. I fought kicking and screaming this new technology, but in the past few years I have embraced it," Kostka said. His assistants are young and tech savvy, which helps him adjust to this style of administration. Years ago, he was printing workouts on a weekly basis. Now, he communicates through a website that was set up for the team. "All coaches can be on the site at the same time and decisions can be made using the website as a conversational piece as well as structuring workouts and how we position our athletes in meets," he said. 3 .Coach or assist in another sport. Although Kostka's .specialty was sprinting, he coached at least part time in all of the other events, with the exception of vault and throwing. It gives coaches a good understanding of coaching generals when you open yourself to a new sport. Kostka also was the cross country coach for a few years at Arrowhead. "That helped me understand the distance mentality, the program and how they run that," he said. 4 .Find your own assistant coaches; take part in the .hiring process. "I can't remember the last coach that was hired where I wasn't sitting in on the interview with the athletic director," Kostka said. "The one thing the staff has in common is that they all buy into my philosophy on what track and field means in high school." 5 .Develop your own philosophy. "I look back and think .seven or eight years ago I was eighth in conference meets. I made the decision then that I no longer wanted to finish eighth in a conference meet, and I got the staff together and asked them what we need to do so that we're not there. We came up with a philosophy, and it's a scheme that worked," Kostka said. Part of that philosophy was to develop a track program where the athletes are happy to be there. The staff treats everyone the same. "If the athletes are happy, the success follows," he said. Kostka added that part of his philosophy was setting individual expectations and asking the athletes to verbalize or write down their own goals. "I have actually put a piece of tape on a wall when I was coaching high jump and I'd say, 'this is your goal, you said it is … then put it in your bedroom at home, so when you wake up in the morning, you see it and you can visualize the fact that you can reach it.' That seems to be a very good learning tool." 6 .Let the success of your sport be your best recruiting .tool. "When I was a brand new coach, I wasn't a very good recruiter. I didn't do things like make the sport fun," Kostka said. "So as I grew as a coach, I decided I needed to make this special for them." Now, his athletes do the recruiting for him. They tell their friends about the program, and it developed a reputation.

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