Coaches Need To Learn To Work With Media

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Newspaper and other media coverage provides an excellent opportunity for coaches to promote their players and sport.

But developing a well-oiled working relationship with media members can often be a tough chore for coaches no matter what the level -- youth, middle school or high school.

One of the finest coaches I've ever been around at working with the media and earning recognition for his players was Tot Workman.

At Round Valley High School in the 1970s, 80s and early 1990s, Workman was a one-man public relations firm for his football players. No matter what the publication or the media outlet, Workman was there to see his players got their fair share of plaudits and pundits.

Workman, the 1999 National High School Athletic Association Coach of the Year, an Arizona Coaches Association Hall of Fame inductee and the 11th winningest coach in Arizona with 225 victories, was a marvel at working the media for PR.

As a former head football coach at Show Low High School, I often battled him trying to ensure my kids were in the headlines as much as his were.

Believe me, I learned a lot from him.

Workman's media influence extended far beyond the White Mountains into both Tucson and Phoenix.

When some big city reporters were assembling rankings and polls for small-town Arizona schools, one of their first calls was to Workman for his input and advice.

I don't know if Coach Workman helped the Arizona Interscholastic Association publish a plan in 1999 to assist coaches develop positive relations with media, but some of the suggestions seem to bare his trademark.

The AIA, in a guest editorial from Coaches' Quarterly, proposed a TEAM acronym for coaches and media that stands for Together Each Accomplishes More.

In it they suggested coaches:

Make personal telephone calls to provide information.

Provide ongoing written information -- they truly appreciate that.

Develop confidence with media to be able to speak on and off the record.

Be understanding of their deadlines -- send results in a timely fashion to help meet deadlines.

If something unfortunate happens, don't try to cover it up. You will immediately lose trust.

Present the negative honestly.

Of course, there were also suggestions for ways coaches could educate the media.

They were:

1. Must communicate ideas, facts and knowledge.

2. Communicate feelings, aspirations and concerns.

3. Communicate plans, goals and directions.

4. Make the media aware of your needs.

5. Educate about the good things that are happening in your program.

The guest editorial also included some well chosen words of coaching advice: "We must realize that some sports get more coverage than others and we need to be understanding of this.

"Don't get frustrated if you don't get what you feel you or your sport deserves."

The type of approach that appears in the AIA magazine, almost always results in more support for the coach and his players.

Ready those poles,

crank up the reels

Mark April 12 on calendars as the day to take the youngsters to Green Valley Park to enjoy the Second Annual Optimists Fishing Festival.

The angling treat begins at 6 a.m. and continues until to 3 p.m.

All events will be free but there will be concession stands with breakfast and lunch items for sale.

A fishing license is not required for registered participants in the festival.

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