Coaching Careers

by site editor Rick McCharles

Presented at the annual BC Gymnastics Congress.

This post includes a VIDEO of my presentation and a some course notes. Leave a comment if you have anything to add.

Making a Career Out of Coaching

I’ve been a full-time gymnastics coach since 1980. And have made just about every career mistake possible.

In 2011, what are the best career strategies? What should a coach look for in a gymnastics job: Salary, Benefits, Security, Quality of Life, Professional Development?

Business guru Frank Sahlein attended. Thanks Frank! … My advice to any coach is to bring on a consultant like Frank to help you build a plan for your gymnastics business and personal career.

Click PLAY or watch my Career presentation on YouTube.

• Frank and I were super impressed that two young female coaches, age-14 and age-16, opted to attend a session on “Coaching Careers”. I urged them to get organized, then take over the world, relegating men to second tier. 🙂

• gymnastics promotes “physical literacy”, the Gymnastics BC Rec website, recommended

• Rick invited Frank as the USA is so much better evolved in the “business of gymnastics”

• Rick asked coaches to “follow your bliss
look for role models. Coaches you admire.
• consider coaching in other acrobatic sports: circus, Gymnaestrada, cheer, etc.
• Rick recommended all coaches in Canada have a “contract” on paper. Frank noted that at his gym (2500 athletes / week) they dispensed with contracts, instead using “job descriptions”
• in Canada most coaches are “employed” not “self-employed”
• recommended was no more than 28hrs / week contact time with athletes
• be careful to calculate the hours required / year for competitions, camps, meetings, etc.
• the contract should spell out what’s paid with regard to travel days
• can the employee count hours working from home? … The trend is to work 24hrs/7 days a week.
• Frank pointed out that every week is different for a full-time gymnastics person
• Frank talked about “peak-end research”

  • the peak of any activity is memorable
  • the end of any activity is memorable
  • Rick suggested that the very LAST activity in a class should be very FUN

make the “magic” happen in your class
• Rick suggested that every child in Canada should do at least 18 months of recreation gymnastics to be “physically educated” for life
• Frank pointed out that at least 30% of families in most demographics cannot afford our classes
you need an expert like Frank to calculate how many kids you will have in your gym in your market, assuming you do a good job as compared with your competitors
• Rick suggested that a top end husband / wife coaching team could expect $100,000 combined in salary in 2011
• a new Head Coach (fully L3 certified) at a small club, likely rural, could ask for $25,000 – $38,000
• job security and personal happiness limited when working for a non-profit Society
• considerations mentioned:

  • overtime
  • bonus
  • holiday pay
  • “private” lessons income
  • choreography income
  • ensuring all employees pay taxes on income
  • professional development costs
  • coach education costs
  • books, magazines, DVDs, subscriptions, websites, services
  • Frank offers much in the way of teaching business and leadership. There are other ‘business gurus’ in the USA, as well.
  • Rick talked about the failed attempt to professionalize coaching in Canada
  • the status of Chartered Professional Coach as designated by Coaches of Canada never gained traction

• Rick noted that the ethics of gymnastics coaches has been much improved over the decades
Rick’s advice:

  • own your own gym. Harder work but more reward.
  • have a second source of income
  • have a spouse with a good source of income
  • coaches can be a good career for a Mom with young kids
  • goal is to maximize your happiness, not your income

FINALLY, have an experienced friend negotiate your contract with your employer. Best is for you not even to attend the negotiation meeting.

Questions? Suggestions? … Leave a comment.