Are you a teacher, coach or educator of sports for special needs athletes?

Mar 21, 2011
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Are you a teacher, an educator or a coach of sports? Is there any difference? The distinctions between the three are not necessarily obvious. Not all coaches are good teachers. They may have an excellent knowledge of the sport, understand its skills and tactics, and yet be very poor at sharing their expertise with their athletes. Likewise, not all teachers are good sports coaches; they may have a sound grasp of pedagogy (how an activity can best be delivered) but lack the insight and experience a coach might bring to the sport.

To teach is a verb that is sometimes described as: “To encourage someone to accept something as fact,” or,  “to cause someone to learn something.” For too many years some teachers believed their role to be educational taxidermists stuffing their students with vast amounts of knowledge (often presented as undeniable fact!).

The information revolution has brought considerable changes to just about every field of education. No longer does the term “teacher” seem adequate. Athletes can observe the performances of great athletes on-line. Students can obtain technical data about a top athlete’s performance and then use it to refine their own skills. The teacher / coach / educator are no longer the sole keepers of knowledge – it is available to anyone who knows where to find it and how to use it.

Teachers – in some areas – are now being called “Content Selectors,”  “Experience Facilitators”, or “Knowledge Brokers.” The implication is that sports coaches can now draw on the vast resources at their disposal and use it to supplement their own experience – this is a vast improvement on the days where students only knew what the teacher knew.

The phrase: “eventually, everything comes full circle” is often used to describe the reappearance of ideas that turn out to be as meaningful in their re-invention as during the time of their creation. The Latin verb “Educare” is a fine example. It is the stem of our word education and means “to draw out.”  Socrates understood this when stating: “Education is the kindling of a flame – not the filling of a vessel.” It is an intriguing approach on how to work with special needs athletes. Rather than imposing knowledge or expectations, we should draw out, work with, and inspire the athlete to reach within themselves and express their talents.

In your interactions with special needs are you a teacher or do you view your role as a coach whose mandate is to effectively access and use the resources around to support your athletes?  Perhaps you view your role as an educator; someone that enlightens, empowers, and inspires your athletes.

Author: Gary Barber

  • Anonymous

    I am sport coach in college. I teach football to college students. Football is an interesting sport game. I playing football when I was in school.

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