Question: One of the athletes I am coaching now is in the process of deciding what university to attend next year. Her parents would like her to attend a local school, but I would prefer she goes a bit further to a school with a good throwing coach. Parents that are not involved in track and field do not seem to realize that not all throwing programs are on the same level. Do you have any arguments to help convince them of this? -Coach K
I agree that that choosing a school is a decision that needs to be left up to the athlete. The athlete needs to find that school that is the best fit for them. Unfortunately the best fit for the athlete is also not always the best fit for the parents. But, and it might surprise you for me to say this, the best fit for the athlete isn’t always the best coach either. Finding a good fit means looking at more than the school’s proximity or athletics program, but also its academics, the future teammates, the city it is located in, and a variety of other factors to see what environment will allow the athlete to succeed both in sports and in life. While many people online have been quick to criticize the recent decision of American high school champion and world junior championship finalist Rudy Winkler to attend Cornell University next year, I think it is a perfect example of making a holistic choice. This young man had his choice of schools, and rather than choosing a school with a storied tradition or all-star coach, he chose a local school renowned for academics with a young coach. I applaud his decision.