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What I Learned in Point Park University’s Master’s in Athletic Coaching Program

I am confident the experience and knowledge gained while completing my master’s degree in athletic coaching from Point Park University will serve me tremendously in the coming years as my teaching and coaching careers progress. Also,I am now more fully prepared to take on new challenges and opportunities in my chosen professions thanks to the education I received from Point Park.

The ten-course, 30 credit, entirely online M.Ed. in athletic coaching enhanced my ability to think critically and to formulate ideas relating to a wide variety of topics, all of which have had an impact on my overall philosophy of coaching. The athletes I coach will benefit from the comprehensive course content as I continue to put into practice many of the strategies and concepts taught throughout this program.

As an older, non-traditional student employed with a full-time teaching job and nearly year-round coaching duties, the option of returning to the classroom was not something I felt was realistic at this time. Fortunately, the program at Point Park allowed me to fulfill my professional duties while completing the coursework at my convenience without having to travel or sit in a classroom. I simply would not have undertaken a master’s program would it have required completing in the “traditional” way.

While there were many features of the online M.Ed. in athletic coaching that I enjoyed and felt were useful, the cohort format was possibly the most rewarding and beneficial based on my experience. I was not sure what to expect when I started the first introductory course, but working with a select group of other individuals who were undertaking this endeavor along with me was reassuring and educational. We soon got to learn about one another and could evaluate much of each other’s coursework, which I found to be extremely helpful. Reading the contributions, comments and critiques of my classmates gave me insight into their coaching philosophies, and with a wide variety of experience in various sports at both the high school and collegiate level, my fellow students brought perspectives that were unique but at the same time could be applied to my specific coaching situation. It was also nice to know that we were all “in this together,” and I quickly grew to respect and appreciate what everyone was bringing to our classes to help enhance one another’s learning experience.

The coursework we received dealt with all aspects of coaching education, such as safety and conditioning, sport psychology, ethics, financial responsibilities, diversity, and communication skills, to name just a few topics. Coaching is both an art and a science, and this program really helped make me aware of all the peripheral facets that contribute to building a successful program and becoming the best coach for our athletes that we can be, no matter what sport or level. I have over two decades of experience coaching athletes in multiple sports at various ages, but I learned so many useful concepts and strategies throughout these ten classes that I wish I had been able to have the opportunity to learn this material in a format such as was offered by Point Park’s online master’s program much earlier in my career.

The instructors for every one of our classes challenged us to submit quality work, and I was forced to find discipline and time management techniques that I never knew I possessed. I thrived in the format of the eight-week courses, with the weekly assignments and feedback providing the structure and routine that I needed to be successful. My work was graded fairly and in a timely fashion, and any time I had questions my email was answered promptly to my satisfaction. Each instructor brought his or her own standards and expectations to a specific course while still maintaining reasonable yet challenging content for the students. I always felt they understood our situation as full-time professionals who also were devoting significant time to coaching, so the assignments were straightforward and able to be completed without undue disruption of our “regular” lives.

I would recommend the M.Ed. in athletic coaching from Point Park University to anyone looking to earn a post-graduate degree while still being able to maintain their current position and lifestyle. As a matter of fact, I encouraged one of my co-workers to enroll, as he needed to begin his 24 post-baccalaureate credits for his instructional II certificate, and currently he is closing in on finishing his degree this fall and has had an overwhelmingly positive experience as well. Overall, I am proud of the fact that I was willing to persevere for 18 months to earn my master’s degree, and I could not have done it without the support of the instructors and staff at Point Park University and their exceptional online program. It has without a doubt made me a better coach and teacher, and I look forward to helping my students and athletes reach their goals in the coming year and beyond.