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Coaches - good majors for wanting to be a coach

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momof5

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DD is starting to think a lot about college and where she wants to go. We did some research this weekend and of course the school that she has wanted to attend for their gymnastics program doesn't have the major she was thinking about. So that got us looking a several other schools with good gymnastics teams and they also didn't have the major she was thinking about. She wants to be a gymnastics coach so she was thinking about something like exercise science, athletic training, or kinesiology. The dilemma is she can find very few programs that fit her other wants. She is wanting to stay on the west side of the US, wants warmish weather, and of course of good gymnastics team. What are some other majors that would be helpful to someone who wants to be a coach?
 

4theloveofsports

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I don't think you need a college degree to coach gymnastics. But it certainly is great to have it. How about a degree in physical therapy, physical education? Sports management? If she is planning to have her own gym, perhaps a minor or even major in business management will be helpful . Many colleges offer courses in physical education and coaching (i.e., Arizona. State). Most large universities should have every imaginable major or at least something close to what you are looking for.
 
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Faith

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Physiology, anatomy, biochemistry. Sports science, physiotherapy.

Teaching is always good too.

Like others have said though, if coaching is her passion she doesn't necessarily need a degree. Depends on finances etc. she can always go back later.
 
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LucyTRA

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I get asked this surprisingly often - 'my daughter wants to be a coach, what degree should she do?!' It's difficult because I know very few coaches where that is their sole job - for most (at least here in the UK) it is something they do alongside their 'regular' job. For that reason I would suggest that she takes a degree in something that interests her and something that she can see herself doing outside of coaching. It can obviously be sports related, but she will need a fallback option that she is going to love!!
 

wallinbl

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Physiology, anatomy, biochemistry. Sports science, physiotherapy.

Teaching is always good too.
That list minus biochem. I have a biochem degree. It's a difficult subject and won't likely help for gymnastics. An undergrad in biochem won't get you much of anywhere in other fields - it's really just a first step towards MD or PhD, which are mostly required for professional work in that field.
 
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Faith

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I disagree about the biochem :). Although it's likely dependent on individual course content.

Immune system, understanding ATP, krebs cycle, metabolism, genetics, nutrition (especially in depth), hormones, enzymes, electrolytes etc can all give an understanding of how the body works, and be relevant to sport. Biochem grads can enter into many fields- most core science subjects like microbiology, botany, anatomy and zoology include a lot of biochem.

I do think you need a passion for the minutiae and a need to understand the body at a molecular level though :)
 
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sbonham

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As someone in higher ed for 30+ years (my first 6 coaching men's gymnastics (last 4 at the University of Georgia)), 6 more teaching coaching techniques and kinesiology - the last 14 as a faculty developer (director & lead instructional designer) I would offer the following advice if she wants to coach gymnastics (and/or any other athletic/health & fitness area). THIS is what I would do were I to do it over again!

Get a degree in Biomechanics/Kinesiology. This degree will require that your daughter learn; all the core (basic math, science, English, etc.) and then(!) human anatomy and physiology. Biomechanics/kinesiology... the science of movement - the physics and mechanics in any form of human movement. Apply every study/project to gymnastics skills/issues. Even basic skills when analyzed are VERY complex - and incredibly interesting. Sport psychology. Basic business management. Basic information processing - including multimedia and webpage/site design & management. Marketing and promotions. Dance. Nutrition. Athletic training, Human cognition (how people learn). Instructional design. Volunteer part-time in MULTIPLE roles at local gymnastics clubs - work with your college coach to gain experience in; recruiting (you'll be recruiting either gymnasts (as a university coach) or instructor/coaches at your private club before you know it. Meet management (it's complex when done right - a course in Logistics (business management) might be wise!).

She'll be so marketable - and uniquely skilled she can write her ticket.

MY 3 cents. ;-)
Best of luck! And by the way... the southeast (SEC) has some pretty good women's programs. My alma mater LSU is an up and comer... and they are going to have a new state of the art training complex in the new few months. UGA, Fla, Alabama, Arkansas... the weather here is just as nice (if not nicer) than California.

Steve
 

momof5

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Thanks for all the advice. She is definitely leaning toward kinesiology or exercise physiology. She was surprised that it wasn't as common of a major as she expected it to be. You guys have given her a couple of other thoughts. I don't think it would be too hard to convince her to make every project about gymnastics. She already does!
 

Geoffrey Taucer

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Theater.

All the technical knowledge in the world will do you no good if you can't connect with an audience and keep them engaged.
 

MissKate

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I am a coach under a fantastic head coach who has a degree in psychology and has coached two olympians. Personally, I have taken two coaching classes at my university and contemplated a coaching minor. I soon realized that these classes are generally pretty generic and teach what we as gymnasts already know. Our sport is much more leader dynamic and respectful than most other sports. My coaching classes were basically sociology classes. However, I have greatly benefitted from sports science classes. I agree that learning about physiology and kinesiology are more beneficial in the long run than anything else. These subjects teach you about how to notice and work with bodies in an anatomical manner instead of just a book knowledge manner; if that makes sense. With anatomical knowledge it is much easier to treat every situation and gymnast as a unique situation or gymnast instead of trying to compare them to something you read or heard somewhere. Overall from what I've experienced, school cannot teach you how to "coach." Good coaches and your former gymnastic experience can teach you how to coach.
 

kandkfunk

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Thanks for all the advice. She is definitely leaning toward kinesiology or exercise physiology. She was surprised that it wasn't as common of a major as she expected it to be. You guys have given her a couple of other thoughts. I don't think it would be too hard to convince her to make every project about gymnastics. She already does!
We are just starting to look at options for my son (who is looking at athletic training/kinesiology/physiology) and I was also surprised by how few colleges offer these programs. If you dig deep, you can sometimes find an athletic training major/minor buried in the science department. However, it sometimes isn't listed as a major and you have to read more about the department to learn if it's available. We've had more luck finding these majors at the smaller schools (DII) in our area than the big state Universities.
 

GYM0M

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Ok, biochem major, ummm no! Biochem is a very important part in understanding the body and it's functions. A biochem COURSE would be extremely beneficial, but as a biochem major, I doubt she would be able to handle the courses and gymnastics once she got to jr/sr level. Both require too much time and dedication. I was an 'early' mom so I was a 'mature' student........And I was barely able to handle my compulsory gymmies schedule with my biochem COURSE!
 

JBS

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Lots of good stuff here...you must be able to connect with the kids though. I failed out of college because I really didn't want to go. When I failed out...I moved to San Diego and started coaching full time. I had over 20 preschool gymnastics classes per week. This was the key.

The technical side of things is not that hard and is quicker learned in the field than in school. Learn like the trades do...work under someone...be an apprentice.

If you must go to college...learn to be a leader...a motivator. Learn to be in charge of something.

I failed out of Nuclear Engineering and Engineering Physics because it was boring. Going to nuclear reactor lab at 6:20 am to sit in front of a control panel is not nearly as fun or rewarding as coaching. The closest thing that I saw to coaching in my experience in college was the Professor that was running the toroidal fusion research project...he truly had a "team" working on Pegasus (http://pegasus.ep.wisc.edu/index.htm).

And further more...never stray from what you believe.
 

profmom

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Regardless of major, I think some courses in early childhood development and a psych minor would be excellent plans for a future coach. Heck, sometimes I wish I'd picked up a psych minor for my job!
 
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JBS

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You need a college degree (4 yr) to coach at the NCAA level if that would ever be a plan down the road...
Yes...and this would be the only reason I would ever think about going back to school. Not because you need it...as you definitely do not...but because a degree is required.
 
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