Below is an article on Athlete Poaching and coaching etiquette.
This was summarized and compiled by an Australian Coach.
I will look for more peer-reviewed materials next time.
I asked Darren for permission to use his article on Athlete Poaching.
And am very grateful he allowed me to share his views.
In some countries, coaches can get warnings from their NSA if there are many complaints filed about athletes’ continued poaching.
The Ethics of Changing Coaches
During their sporting career, athletes may, for one reason or another, consider leaving one coach or training group to join another coach or training group.
However, the transfer of athletes between coaches and/or training groups can be a delicate and sometimes emotional one for both the athlete/s and the coach/es affected. Therefore, any move between coaches requires careful consideration.
Also, an effort to maintain the dignity of everyone involved.
And avoid potential conflict that can be caused by such a move, the Australian Track & Field Coaches Association recommends that:
1. No coach or organization should ever entice athletes from one squad to join theirs. Poaching.
I encourage all young athletes and parents to be wary of coaches who, knowing that an athlete already has a coach, still approach that athlete to join their squad.
Above all, this attempted “poaching” of athletes is questionable conduct.
And is generally frowned upon by the coaching community.
2. Each coach should respect the work of others.
However, athletes and parents should be wary of coaches who “put down” an athlete’s current coach or indicate that they would be a better coach for the athlete.
In an excellent article Tips for Choosing a Coach, Grant Jenkins writes
“TIP: Don’t use a coach that slams other coaches. Great coaches are busy coaches, and busy coaches don’t have the time to bother themselves with gossip and put-downs.”
3. If a coach/athlete relationship comes to an end, the coach should ensure that the parting is conducted amicably and with dignity.
Coaches have to take a mature approach to this process. Also, it must be athlete-centered, not coach-centered. Simultaneously, a cooperative approach should be undertaken to ensure the best outcome for the athlete.
In saying this, I also believe that parents and athletes have as much responsibility as the coach to ensure that the parting is done amicably and with dignity.
4. When an athlete/parent enters into discussions with another coach to establish a new coach-athlete relationship, the athlete/parent should advise the current coach of their intentions.
This is rarely done well, if at all. I understand how confronting and difficult it can be for athletes or parents to raise such a topic with a coach. It is often not the news that a coach wants to hear. However, as a coach, I much prefer people to be upfront with such things. Therefore I really respect the openness and honesty it requires.
A coach’s reaction to such a discussion demonstrates a lot about their character. However, a poor coach reaction probably indicates that the athlete/parents are doing the right thing looking elsewhere for coaching.
5. It is incumbent on the new coach to ensure that the current coach is informed of the potential athlete transfer before entering into a relationship with the athlete.
The first question a coach should ask of an athlete or parent who is enquiring about their coaching services is:
“Do you currently receive any coaching?”
Or “Do you currently have a coach?”.
However, if the answer is “Yes.”
The new coach must insist that the current coach is informed of the athlete’s intentions to seek coaching elsewhere.
However, when I have been in the situation of athletes/parents wanting to join my training group from another group. Also, I have gone as far as contacting the current/former coach myself. To make sure everything has been communicated to my satisfaction.
6. A transfer done amicably and ethically will leave all parties involved to converse with each other without hostility.
Also, a transfer done well should see everyone involved remain on good terms. However, there should be no lingering awkwardness, suspicion, antagonism, or ill-feeling. Unfortunately, this is not always the case. Therefore using the above recommendations will go a long way towards preventing these problems and promoting a positive outcome.
What is your experience with the transfer of athletes between coaches?
I would love to share your experiences with this issue as an athlete, coach, or parent. What worked well? What didn’t? Do you have any advice? Let me know by leaving a reply/comment or by using the below contact details.
Darren Winsor is a sports development professional, coach educator, specialist coach of young athletes, and blog coachingyoungathletes.com. Also, learn more about him here and connect with him on Twitter, Facebook, Linkedin, Instagram, Anchor, or via email.
Asking Athletes in the Philippines be allowed to decide their own coach? Please comment below why and why not and vote in our poll. And oh yes please SHARE THIS ARTICLE.
Legal Contracts Grassroots Coaching agreements with Parents in the Philippines
The Importance of Legal Contracts Grassroots Coaching agreements with Parents in the Philippines
It has become common practice for some Manila Colleges to approach Athletes’ parents to recruit athletes. This sometimes will include a monetary exchange with the College giving money to the Athlete’s parents they wish to recruit. In my view, while we owe our parents a lot.
This lump-sum payment or payments should be going to the Grass root coach that developed the athlete. At the same time, the Parents clothed, fed, and supported their children. Parents did not really develop the child as an athlete. The coach did this. It’s important to note without the effort of the coach. The child athlete would not have reached the skill level to be noticed as a potential recruit by the Manila College.
This is why higher-level coaches mustn’t just see grass-root level coaches simply as feeder coaches who are basically used as Milking Cows. And that we really want to recognize and appreciate our grassroots coaches. Suppose recruiting coaches engage the athlete’s existing coach and not just the parents leaving the grass-root coach out of the process altogether. This is why coaching agreements are important.
I will argue that the parents are already benefiting from the child getting a free scholarship.
Let’s say a school gives a monetary incentive of 5k 10k or heck even 20k pesos to recruit the child. The parents will gain a lot more than that from the years of free scholarships tuition fees offered. So the smaller amount should go to the Grass root coach.
Quite often, grass-root coaches will use that money to develop more athletes in the future. The grass-root coaches often put their own money into buying things that their athletes need snacks, water, shoes, equipment, travel expenses, etc.
Not to mention the amount of time that the coach has put in. If this were Australia or any other country, the parents would be paying the coach for his time and services to train their child. But because a lot of parents don’t have much money. The coach is pretty much doing what he does for free.
Quite often, a coach is a DEPED teacher who is being paid as a teacher. And just doing coaching on the side out of a passion for no extra money. Or an ex-athlete who likes to help kids. Suppose parents are given a monetary incentive from a recruitment school. They should really hand that over to the coach for the time and effort the coach has made to help make their child skilled enough to get a college scholarship offer.
Grassroots Coaches and Parents
In this case, the disconnect is not with Manila Colleges and grass-root coaches. But between Grass root coaches and parents.
If this practice keeps happening. As coaches cannot enter into arrangements with minors. It may become necessary for grass root coaches to protect their livelihood by making parents sign legal contracts with them regarding remuneration if it becomes available.
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