This is not going to be a very long post but it is an important one. I want to make sure to emphasize that a coaches primary job is to be a teacher. Emphasizing academics is a key aspect of coaches that I believe is undervalued. With most rules calling for a minimum 2.0 GPA, coaches simply do what is needed to make sure their students are eligible.
If your primary objective is to be a true coach both on and off the court to your athletes, you need to show them the importance of academics. Last year I implemented a 3.0 minimum GPA and this year I have implemented a minimum 3.5 policy. Typically I have one or two athletes fall short of the minimum GPA but a 3.3 GPA that falls short is far better than a 1.8 GPA.
Here are some things that I implemented into my program that have helped us rise from a large number of students not being eligible for college prior to my arrival at Ontario High School to a team that had the 26th highest GPA in all of Southern California:
- Weekly Grade Checks.
- Team running at the end of the week for all athletes under the minimum goal.
- Setting higher expectations with GPA and behavior in the classroom.
- Assigning each athlete an academic accountability partner.
- Partnering the highest academic achievers with those that are not doing as well in the classroom.
Lastly, remember that if your athletes are achieving good grades, it will allow more colleges to recruit your athletes.