Coach Selection Procedures

USA Taekwondo

Selecting coaches is a difficult task.  The procedures proposed below are an effort to create a more objective process by which the USATKD High Performance team can select a staff that will work to maximize the potential of athletes on a given team. The procedures have a list of criteria and those criteria have been defined in order to inform the rater as to what the meaning of each criteria is and how it should be used to rate perspective coaches.

The primary purpose of the coach selection process is to ensure that the High Performance team has an objective process by which coaches can be selected for the purpose of securing the best possible results.  A secondary purpose is to create institutional memory within the organization so that when transitions occur it can be done as smoothly and objectively as possible.  As always procedures must support the missions and purposes of USA Taekwondo and the Unites States Olympic Committee.  Both organizations promote having an "athlete centered" approach and has a mission of “sustained competitive excellence”, therefore when making coach selections we must keep in mind what is best for maximizing athlete performance and upholding the principles of both organizations. In addition, we must look at principles such as integrity, reliability, continuity and ethical behavior. 

The below procedures are applicable to the selection of coaches for training camps, CIDP certification courses and coaching national teams.  There is one caveat to these procedures.  These procedure may or may not be applicable for selecting coaches for the Olympic Games, Pan Am Games and the Grand Prix Series.  Those events have a finite number of competitors and have additional oversight by the USOPC.   

Coach Selection Procedure Option #1

1.       Technical Acumen

Demonstrates proficient knowledge of the sport.  Proven ability to train and prepare athletes for competition.  Able to maximize the potential of athletes.  Able to communicate technical, tactical and strategic information to athletes and other coaches.  

2.       Sport Specific Experience

Has extensive experience working with high performance athletes.  Has experience with coaching athletes in international competitions.  Ideally, coaches would have experience with working with athletes, coaches, administration, officials and support staff.

3.       Contemporaneous: Currently active and involved with the athletes, organizations, and officials

Working knowledge of and recent interactions with current national team athletes.  Within the last 12 months the coach has trained high performance athletes, coached at international competitions, has had input into the high performance plan, communicates with the high performance team and interacts with WT officials.  Being current reduces or eliminates the time needed for the coach to adapt to changes.  Reduces or eliminates the need to assimilate their coaching philosophy with the current state of the sport. 

4.       Certification

Level 2 certified.  Holding a level 2 certification indicates the coach is committed to educating himself/herself to the highest degree possible within the organization.  This coach has taken the initiative to educate themself beyond the minimum basic requirements set by USATKD.  In the future coaches that obtain the Level 3 certification, when it becomes available should receive a higher score than those with Level 2 and below. 

5.       Licensing

Currently licensed with the WT and PATU.  This is a straight forward criteria insuring the coach is eligible to coach at any and all international events.

6.       Team Work

Communicates openly and effectively in a team environment.  Genuinely takes an interest in the success of all the athletes on the team.  Takes the time to assist the other coaches in their efforts to maximize athlete performance.  Open to taking direction from the USATKD High Performance staff. 

7.       Rules and regulations adherence

To build strong foundation of trust with administration, other coaches, athletes and support staff, it is necessary to make ethical-decision making a priority at all times.  Acting in accordance with the rules, regulations, policies and procedures as prescribed by the USOC, USATKD, WT and IOC is non-negotiable. 

8.       Rules and regulations enforcement

The coach takes a proactive approach to communicating and enforcing rules, regulations, policies and procedures as laid out by the coaching manuals and team manuals.  Overtly communicates rules and regulations to the athletes.  Also coaches must make the effort daily to reinforce rules and regulations.  Communication and enforcement will limit the amount of violations and work to ensure safety. 

9.       Knowledge of international rules and procedures

The sport of taekwondo is constantly in flux.  Rule changes, competition formats, scoring systems, etc. change from event to event.  It is imperative that the coaches be up to date on the current state of taekwondo. 

10.   Positive contributor

Every coach has strengths and weaknesses.  Coaches on a team must utilize their strengths to ensure the success of everyone on the team.  Each coach must know and understand their role.  Knowing your role and playing to your strengths while encouraging the other members of the team to contribute will inspire everyone to work hard at accomplishing the team’s goals. 

11.   Communication skills

Having effective communication skills is imperative to the success of the athletes.  Moreover, positive communication skills will allow for open and honest dialogue with the athletes, other coaches, support staff and administration.  Positive effective communication fosters an atmosphere of confidence. 

12.   Motivational skills

The coach actively motivates the athletes to perform to the best of their abilities including athletes that are not from his/her program.  The coach has a genuine, honest, trusting and caring relationship with the athletes on the team.  The coach is able to help athletes reach their full potential.  

13.   Organization/Institutional merit

The coach has a history of working productively for the organization? (Camps, competitions, programs, etc.) This a very critical criteria when selecting coaches.  Coaches that have worked for the organization on various levels will most likely be vested in the overall success of the athletes representing the organization and the country. Also, these coaches understand how administration, coaches, support staff, members, etc. all work together to promote athlete success internationally. 

14.   Coaching merit

Does the coach have athletes on the National Team?  Has the coach trained and developed athletes on National Teams?  Coaches that have a history of developing, training and coaching high level athletes have demonstrated their expertise.  

15.   Knowledge and understanding of athletes

There are some excellent coaches that are very astute at coaching one athlete or a small group of athletes.  A team coach must have the ability to observe, analyze, evaluate and train athletes from other programs in a condensed amount of time.  Coaches that familiarize themselves with athletes not from their own program have a greater ability to train, motivate and guide the athletes on the team.  Every athlete on the team deserves to receive positive constructive coaching.  

16.   Talent and skills integration with tactical planning and adjustments

Every coach has a philosophy and process by which they believe will heed results.  Every coach therefore has a certain set of techniques and skills they teach their athletes.  However, each athlete that makes a national team comes with their own set of skills.  A national team coach must take the athlete’s current skills and integrate them into an effective tactical and strategic plan to maximize the athlete’s strengths and limit the athlete’s liabilities.  It is important to note here that coaches on a national team will have to do this for several athletes. 

Coach Selection Template - Option #1



Below Average


Above Average


1.      Technical Acumen







2.      Sport Specific Experience







3.      Contemporaneous







4.      Certification







5.      Licensing







6.      Team Work







7.      Rules and regulations adherence






8.      Rules and regulations enforcement






9.      Knowledge of international rules and procedures






10.  Positive contributor







11.  Communication skills







12.  Motivational skills







13.  Organization/Institutional merit






14.  Coaching merit







15.  Knowledge and understanding of athletes






16.  Talent and skills integration







Note: Scales are formatted to have numerical values associated with each category.  Each categories score can be added together to give a total score.  The score can then be used as an overall numerical representation of how each coach has been rated.  Also, a minimum score can be determined in order to indicate a baseline standard coaches must reach in order to be considered.  Furthermore, coaches can be debriefed as to their scores in individual categories so that areas in which they are deficient can be addressed.

Coach Development

All coaches who are interested in furthering their development would be eligible to apply to work different camps and non-GP/Pan Am/Olympic tournaments.

  • Applications would be submitted to USA Taekwondo High Performance
  • Applicants would be evaluated based on the criteria listed above, as well as minimum level requirements established for each event (such as Level 1 and above for Athlete Development Camps, etc.).
    • Camp coaches can apply to be full camp coaches, or assistant “training” coaches, who would not be allowed access to the floor.

These criteria would be used on a camp-by-camp basis. Data on applicants and on the successful coaches would be maintained by the USATKD High Performance department. This development data would be used to help establish the development levels of coaches applying as National Team Coaches for the National Team Pool.

If you have any questions, please contact May Spence at