Coaching - Use Older Athletes to Coach Younger Teammates

Coaching - Use Older Athletes to Coach Younger Teammates

Meghan Juuti

Many coaches - particularly in track and field - face the problem of working with too many athletes in too many event groups. Fortunately, there is a solution to this problem--have your older, more experienced athletes coach their younger teammates.

While it may seem like this is a major sacrifice on the part of your older athletes, in fact there are advantages to both these student-coaches and their young charges.


1. Teaching a technique and explaining it in a step-by-step manner forces athletes to truly understand the reasons behind that technique --it can help to consolidate that element of the event in their own mind.

2. This greater understanding often leads to better performance on the part of the athlete-coach. It gives them the tools to make adjustments during their own competitions when their coach may not be available.

3. By watching athlete-coaches teach, you'll quickly learn whether they have a firm grasp on the techniques they are teaching. If they don't understand certain elements, it will quickly become evident.

4. Since athlete-coaches are closer to the same age, they often explain things in terms that younger athletes can better understand and remember.

5. It improves team cohesion and camaraderie. There is often a divide between rookies and vets, and this interaction between older and younger athletes helps to break down those barriers.

This idea can be effective with any sport in which you have a range of expertise levels on the same squad.


1. Jim Aikens, Coaches Corner, Long and Stronger Throwers Journal, January 2002.

2. John Calipari, Players First: Coaching From the Inside Out, Penguin Press, 1st Edition, 2014.


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