Lack of coach affects athletes

Team’s performance is influenced by coaching allocation


Ayelet Prottas

Nordic coach Doug Peterson speaks to skiers during a meeting Jan. 31. Peterson has been coaching for about 25 years.

Sam Swisher

After going unfilled this year, the fourth coaching position on Park’s Nordic team made junior and captain Danny Walsh realize the lack of coaches has an effect on the team’s performance. 

“It definitely has affected the team’s season because the team is so big, it’s difficult for everyone on the team to get individualized coaching for what they need,” Walsh said. “Especially with Nordic being somewhat of an individual sport, you really need coaches that can accommodate to a bunch of different levels of skill.”

According to athletic director Andrew Ewald, Nordic has an open coaching position that will likely not be filled until next season.

“We’re continuing to look for a fourth coach and we have a plan in place for somebody in district for next year, but I don’t think they were able to commit this year,” Ewald said. “If somebody fell into our lap, we would probably go with them.” 

Ewald said the number of coaches a team is given is based on the level of students participating.

“The teachers contract sets the number of coaches that there are per program,” Ewald said. “For example, we have five levels of boys’ basketball and three levels of girls’ basketball strictly because of participation numbers and so if the girls had four teams or five teams they would have extra coaches allotted by the teaching schedule.”

Nordic ski coach Doug Peterson said that he is happy with the current number of coaches available to the team.

“Right now I am pretty pleased with the three that we have, myself, Mr. Hartman and Mr. Dyste. I would like to have a fourth, but every team in the state of Minnesota is suffering from trying to find quality coaches, and with the organizations that hire these coaches, it doesn’t give us a big pool to draw from,” Peterson said.

Walsh believes that opposing teams are better off when competing because they have been able to receive more coach time.

“When other teams have more coaches it definitely gives them an advantage because they are able to have their coach give them more advice,” Walsh said.

According to Ewald, the responsibility of choosing the additional coaches falls on the head coach.

“Typically a head coach takes longer because we’re doing a lot more interviews, but with an assistant coach typically the head coaches are the ones that know who they want as their assistant coaches,” Ewald said.

Peterson said that the team could hire someone just to be present, but they prefer an intelligent coach.

“There’s people, but are they really knowledgeable at the sport or do we just need someone to watch over them and babysit them,” Peterson said. “We’re always looking for quality people.”