No one can ever suggest that the NFHS rests on its laurels. With 39 education courses available online (www.nfhslearn.com), one might think that there isn’t anything new or valuable that could still be introduced. Not the case, however.
This past summer, the NFHS added two new vitally important courses that every athletic program should use immediately. That’s right – immediately! The two courses are “Sudden Cardiac Arrest” and “Captains Course.”
Recently, the “Concussion in Sport” course hit the 2 million mark of individuals who have completed the course. Many states require their coaches to complete this offering before they can step onto the field or court. In addition, there are a number of states that also have their coaches complete the Heat Illness Prevention course. While the completion rate for these two courses is extremely impressive, this is partially driven by state mandates.
But with the Sudden Cardiac Arrest course, don’t wait for a directive from your state association or legislature. Get approval from your principal or superintendent and require your coaches to take the course. Yes, require all – and not just head coaches – staff members to complete it! Why?
Here are four compelling reasons why every administrator should require their coaches to complete the course:
1. There is no cost involved. The course is the latest free offering from the NFHS.
2. The completion of the course will only take 10 minutes. Seriously, not a minute longer.
3. The course – like all of the other NFHS courses – is online and can be completed when it is convenient for the coach.
4. Coaches will understand how to recognize sudden cardiac arrest. This WILL save lives – of athletes, fans or coaches. How can any administrator say “no” to this proposition?
In addition to the Cardiac Arrest offering, the NFHS also rolled out the new Captains Course. As the title implies, this course was created and designed for young people who would like to be a team captain. In addition, any young person who would like to be a leader, not only in athletics, but also in the band, student government and other activities would greatly benefit from this course.
Unlike many of the other courses, the Captains Course features two high school athletes, and not adults, as the moderators to lead the student through the online presentation. Also, it will take approximately two hours to complete this one. And if you don’t want or can’t commit two solid hours to one learning session, the student can take a break. To start again, he or she merely picks up after the last chapter that was completed and not from the beginning of the course.
Can you require all potential candidates for the position of team captain to take this course before the upcoming season? Maybe not, but if you can this would create a great pool from which to draw. At least, you should encourage all young people interested in becoming a better leader to consider taking this course. And here are several compelling reasons.
1. The course is free. Student-athletes don’t have to pay anything.
2. Even though the course is a little longer than most other free courses, it can be taken when it is convenient since it is online. It will fit into any busy schedule.
3. This offering will help students understand what leadership is and the skills and techniques that are involved. As in the truest sense of education-based athletics, this outcome will not only help with a team. Leadership is one of those life-long qualities that can be applied and used after conclusion of the season and graduation.
In order for your students to get even more from this offering, athletic administrators and coaches should also seriously consider completing it. By doing so, you can refer to the course during the season and facilitate discussion with your captains. This will further help with their growth and development as leaders.
Specifically, highlight actual situations that occur with the team and use them as teachable moments with the captains. This learning concept is an important aspect in education-based athletics and is tailor-made for use with the Captains Course.
What are you waiting for? These two new additions to the NFHS Coach Education portfolio are perfect and vital for every high school athletic program. And again, they are free. Get your coaches and athletes started now! Your program and student-athletes will be the beneficiaries.
Dr. David Hoch is a former athletic director at Loch Raven High School in Towson, Maryland (Baltimore County). He assumed this position in 2003 after nine years as director of athletics at Eastern Technological High School in Baltimore County. He has 24 years experience coaching basketball, including 14 years on the collegiate level. Hoch, who has a doctorate in sports management from Temple (Pennsylvania) University, is past president of the Maryland State Athletic Directors Association, and he formerly was president of the Maryland State Coaches Association. He has had more than 450 articles published in professional magazines and journals, as well as two textbook chapters. He is the author of a new book entitled Blueprint for Better Coaching. Hoch is a member of the NFHS High School Today Publications Committee.