KIN 401 – Principles of Coaching II
Spring 2015
M/W 12:40pm – 2:30pm
112 IM Circle (Google Maps Address: 308 W Circle Dr, Room 112)

Instructor: Andy Driska, Ph.D.
Email: (I check e-mail once a day at 3:00pm)
Phone: 517-432-8399
Office: 207 IM Circle (ISYS Office Suite)
Office hours: Wednesdays 2:30-4:00pm, or by appointment

Course Materials
Required course readings will be provided electronically, through Desire2Learn.

Section 1 – Course Description and Objectives

Course Description
Psychological, sociological, administrative, philosophical, legal, ethical, and teaching principles of coaching competitive sports for athletes of different ages and abilities.

Course Objectives

  1. Acquire scientific and best-practice knowledge in the following areas related to coaching: human growth and development, motor skill acquisition, philosophy of coaching, psychology of coaching, sociology of sport, law, ethical conduct, and athletic administration.
  2. Develop the skills and abilities to apply that knowledge to maximize athlete performance and well-being.
  3. Develop and refine problem-solving and ethical decision-making skills.
  4. Develop and refine the skills of reflective practice.
  5. Value and understand how to use scientific and best-practice knowledge to become a more effective coach.
  6. Improve communication skills (both speaking and listening).
  7. Improve writing skills with relation to critical self-reflection.

Section 2 – Course Philosophy, Organization, and Delivery

My philosophy on teaching coaches
My coaching expertise is extensive, but is limited to the two sports that I coached extensively. However, human behavior is quite universal, especially in athletic settings. My approach requires that you consider the nature of the sport you play(ed) and intend to coach, but consider the principles presented in this class and apply them to your sport context.

I am a big believer in reflective practice, and we will spend some time on the principles of reflective practice. The best coaches are constantly learning from their environments, and this is done through structured and unstructured reflection. Coaches that don’t reflect and don’t learn try to apply the same principles to every athlete and every situation, and that simply does not work.

Many students in an undergraduate coaching course have not coached before, and may struggle to apply the concepts and principles to real-life scenarios. To help with this process, think about where you might coach in the future, and try to pair yourself up with a person who DOES have even minimal coaching experience.

Course organization
This course meets face-to-face twice per week, and also includes several online assignments that are completed on a regular basis. Getting into a regular habit of completing online assignments before class will ensure that you have a better academic experience in this course.

I check e-mail daily at 3:00pm, so if you have a question to ask via e-mail, please send it before then. I generally do not check e-mail on the weekends until Sunday night.

When you send email to me, the first item in the subject line must be: KIN 401. I cannot emphasize how important this is for helping me to quickly and accurately answer your questions!

If you have not done so, please change your email settings so that emails from you show your first and last name, not your MSU Net ID. Again, this will help me to reply to your questions quickly and accurately.

Tips for Academic Success
In order to be successful in this class, it starts with doing the assigned readings, and completing the out of class work on-time, and then attending each class prepared to contribute. I suggest having one question that you want to ask during class. I enjoy student questions because they are an excellent way to generate discussion, and for me to help clarify points that you may not understand.

That being said, doing well in this class requires more than just showing up and asking a question every now and again! We learn best when we find ways to compare new knowledge to existing knowledge in our brains, when we find ways to apply knowledge to situations that we are familiar with or where we anticipate that it might be helpful in a future career.

Section 3 – Assessment and Grading

I will use a variety of assessments to evaluate student learning against the course objectives. These assessments are broken into categories, and each category has a weight to determine the final grade for the course.

Exams (45%)

– Exam 1 – Wednesday, February 18 (in-class)
– Exam 2 – Wednesday, April 8 (in-class)
– Final Exam – Comprehensive final exam. Thursday, May 7, 12:45-2:45pm

Exam dates will NOT change, so please plan accordingly! The relative weight of each exam within the exam category will be determined by the instructor at the time of the exam in order to reflect its difficulty and depth of content. These exams will have a variety of fixed-response (e.g., multiple choice, multiple select) and open-response (e.g., essay, short answer) questions.

Coach Observation and Analysis (20%)
You will be required to contact a coach of a sport program in which you have an interest, then arrange to conduct an observation of a practice. You will then conduct a scientific study of this practice using an established coach observation rubric. You will write-up the results of your study for peer-review and final revision. This assignment will most likely require you to travel off the campus of Michigan State University. Please read the assignment explanation and rubric carefully to gain an understanding of the expectations for this assignment.

Theory of Athlete Development (20%)
You will be required to reflect and write a theory of athlete development at the outset of the course, and then revise this paper for the end of the course. This paper is intended to be a framework for your knowledge and beliefs about coaching your sport of interest, and a starting point for a scientific principles as they relate to coaching.

Comprehension Assignments (15%)
Small assignments, completed in-class or online, and assigned at will of the instructor in order to assess student learning. Total number to be determined by instructor. Lowest scoring assignment will be dropped. Example assignments include participation in a discussion or debate, completion of small-group work in class, participation in an online discussion forum.

Final Grade Determination
Minimum Percent, Grade Point Score
92% = 4.0
85% = 3.5
80% = 3.0
75% = 2.5
70% = 2.0
65% = 1.5
60% = 1.0
Below 60% = 0.0

I will maintain an active grade-book using Desire2Learn, and I will update grades roughly every two weeks. It is your responsibility to check the accuracy of these grades, and to bring any grade discrepancies to my attention.

Section 4 – Expectations and Policies

I will expect you, as the student, to:

… engage with the course content, your peers, and the instructor (“triangle of engagement”).
… find a personal purpose for the content of this class, that is, to find ways in which it applies to your personal and career interests.
… align your efforts in this class with your stated goal for a grade.
… demonstrate etiquette, which means being respectful, understanding, and open-minded with respect to the content, your instructor, and your peers in this course.
… arrive to class on time, prepared to participate.

You can expect me, as the instructor, to:

… fair and consistent in my grading and in working with you and other students.
… respectful and open-minded when considering the views and opinions presented in the class.
… challenging of your abilities and expectations with regards to academic performance.
… available to you in my office hours or by appointment.

Digital Etiquette
During class meetings, please only use the internet for purposes related to this course. If I see that you are using the internet for a purpose unrelated to the class, be warned that I will publicly ask you to turn it off. Be sure your phone ringer is turned to silent for the duration of class. There will also be times in this class when I will ask you to UNPLUG or TUNE IN, which means that I want you to disengage from the digital world and bring your focus to me and/or your classmates. This is especially important during small-group work sessions in class.

While it may seem confusing at first, I used this blog as a “course hub” – a central repository for course information. Due to some copyright restrictions, there is some content that I cannot share in the public domain, and so these materials will appear on the course Desire2Learn page.

You need to check your e-mail on a daily basis. I use e-mail frequently to elaborate on assignment expectations, to clarify concepts that arise during class, or to alert you to a change in a due-date for an assignment.

If you have questions, you can ask me after class, during office hours, scheduling an appointment, or through e-mail. I check e-mail daily at 3:00pm, so if you have a question to ask via e-mail, please send it before then. I will do my best to reply to you within 24 hours during the work-week. I generally do not check e-mail on the weekends until Sunday night.

When you send email to me, the first item in the subject line must be: KIN 401. I cannot emphasize how important this is for helping me to quickly and accurately answer your questions!

If you have not done so, please change your email settings so that emails from you show your first and last name, not your MSU Net ID. Again, this will help me to reply to your questions quickly and accurately.

I do not formally take attendance in class. However, I will frequently use in-class comprehension assignments as an informal means to track student participation. Missing several of these assignments is an indication of poor attendance and participation, which will be reason enough for a meeting to discuss poor attendance. Frequently missing class may be reason for you to receive a grade of 0.0 in this course.

While I may post power-point slides, they are generally very sparse outlines of what we will discuss in class. Therefore, attending class is essential for understanding what is communicated during class time. You are responsible for getting notes from a peer if you should need to miss class.

If you must miss this course due to a family emergency, university excused absence, or other valid reason, please give me advance notice via e-mail. Be as detailed as possible in the e-mail, noting days that you will miss, and the reasons for the absence.

Time Commitment
The requirements of this course are designed to implement University policy regarding out-of-class time spent on the material. That is, for every credit received, the student should spend at least 3 hours outside of lecture working on course-related readings, completing projects, studying material, etc. Therefore, for this 4-credit class, the student should spend at least 12 hours per week, excluding in-class meeting time.  Please review your schedule, other commitments, and your GPA goal for this class… then align your efforts with your goals for this course!

Assignment Lateness
In-class comprehension assignments can only be completed and turned in during the class period in which they were assigned. No late or make-up assignments will be accepted.

The two writing assignments (Athlete Development Paper & Coach Observation/Analysis) will be docked 25 percentage points for every 24 hours they are late. Lateness will be determined by the time-stamp of the Desire2Learn dropbox. Unless otherwise noted, these assignments will be due at 12:40pm (start of class-time) on the assignment due date.

Exam dates are fixed and WILL NOT CHANGE. I will follow my attendance policy regarding university-excused absences, family emergency, or other valid reason to determine if a make-up can be offered or not.

Submitting Assignments Electronically
Your file must be appropriately named, using the following structure:


Unless otherwise noted, submit all assignments in the most recent version of Microsoft Word (.docx format).

Academic Dishonesty
Any student discovered receiving assistance from or giving assistance to another student on an exam, quiz, or homework assignment or cheating in any other way on anything related to this class may be given a failing grade for the class. Any such incident will result in a meeting between the student and instructor, and will also be reported to the department, the college, and will go on file in the student’s academic record.

By enrolling in this course, you are indicating implicitly that you have read, understand, and accept the Universities’ policies and procedures regarding academic integrity and dishonesty (see the MSU Ombudsman’s website for details). Plagiarism and cheating will not be tolerated and all university policies apply. Please note that plagiarism is using the ideas or writings of another as one’s own. It varies in degree and severity. The most severe is the use of another person’s entire work word-for-word. Other forms of plagiarism involve the use of another person’s sentence, paragraph, or ideas without giving credit to that individual (i.e., without providing a reference) and, when appropriate, using quotation marks. Self-plagiarism involves the use of your own work previously submitted for another course or another purpose without any changes.

Mandatory Reporting
Essays, journals, and other materials submitted for this class are generally considered confidential, pursuant to the University’s student record policies. However, students should be aware that University employees are required to report suspected harassment to the appropriate authorities when they become aware of matters in the course of their employment (including, but not limited to, child neglect/abuse and sexual assault). More information about what is included in the University policy can be found at the MSU Office of Inclusion website.  Sexual assault survivors are encouraged to meet with the Sexual Assault Program at the MSU Counseling Center for counseling services, and more information regarding sexual assault can be found here: Sexual Harassment & Assault Information.


Students with Disabilities
If you have a diagnosed disability or believe that you have a disability that might require reasonable accommodation, please call The Resource Center for Persons with Disabilities (RCPD) and speak to me during the first week of class. As part of the Americans with Disabilities Act, it is the responsibility of the student to disclose a disability prior to requesting reasonable accommodation. It is imperative that you inform me of any accommodation needed before assignments are due or submitted, or exams are to be taken. There will be no redoing of assignments after they have been graded.

Contact information for the RCPD is below:
The Resource Center for Persons with Disabilities (RCPD)
120 Bessey Hall
(517) 353-9642

English as a Second Language
If English is your second language, and you believe this may hinder your ability to participate in class or learn the material, please speak to me during the first week of class.

Medical Conditions
If you have any medical conditions that may affect your participation in the class, please let me know within the first week of class.

Student Agreement
You must read and acknowledge that you will abide by the student agreement for this course, which will be circulated during the first week of class. You will need to sign it and return it to me as soon as possible. If you have a question about the student agreement before you sign it, please bring it to my attention.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s