Brad Rose knows what good coaching looks like and how it can motivate student athletes to win – in all aspects of life.

Rose is the Activities Director for West Des Moines Community Schools in Iowa, and has coached baseball, football, basketball and track teams – many of them to state titles. Over the past 12 years, teams in his district, such as the Tigers of Valley High, the biggest school in Iowa and where he works from – have won 50 state titles, on average 3 or 4 a year.

Brad Rose, West Des Moines Community School

“We have a good thing going here,” he says with a smile. Rose knows what it takes to win and more importantly, how coaches best engage and inspire student athletes to experience success.

So when Iowa developed standards for evaluating classroom teachers six years ago, Rose realized that the standards didn’t quite fit for teachers who worked primarily as coaches.

He had taken on the role as Iowa’s Leadership Training Coordinator for Athletic Directors, and many of them asked him: “How do we get something that is more related to coaching”?

Since his district required an hour a day walk-through evaluation of teachers and coaches, Rose took the 8 Iowa teacher evaluation standards and “tweaked” them specifically for coaches.

He also added 6 elements of his own, focused on engagement, intensity, fundamentals, teamwork and an overall impression of the professionalism and demeanor of the coach, as well as the attitudes and sportsmanship of the athletes themselves.

For a few years Rose did his daily observations on paper and pencil, but after he “fell in love” with an iPad, he started wondering if there was a way to use it for walk-throughs.

“I had always been doing this on paper and then I went to some training and heard about how principals in Central Iowa, especially in Heartland AEA were doing walkthroughs with this eWalk system,” he said.

Could it be used for his coaching walk-throughs he wondered?

He approached Toy Waterman, Educational Technologist at Heartland for some help.
Rose told  her, “Hey, I developed this template on paper, could you help me develop it in this eWalk thing?” Waterman agreed to work with him, and Rose found that eWalk was an ideal fit for his needs.

“In sports, you’re not going to watch someone for two hours at a practice,” he says. “But you have lots opportunities where you can walk-through for 15 minutes and watch a volleyball or basketball practice. If you’re at a game you can some times get 30 minutes watching the coach.”

After Rose has completed his walk-throughs, he sends the observation form and his notes to the coaches he has observed through the eWalk email feature, and lets them know if there is a reason to meet or not.

Two elements from the eWalk WDM Coaching Walk-through developed by Brad Rose


“I have met as many times for positive reasons as I have for giving advice on something they might want to tweak or do a little different,” he says. “I mainly use these as a positive way to give feedback, not as a way of catching someone doing something wrong.”

Coaching is an extension of teaching – I am not looking for the exact same thing you are looking for in the classroom

Rose believes that the person being evaluated needs to be an active partner. The informal walk-throughs give him an opportunity to watch different phases of a practice to see it at the beginning, the middle or in the wrapping up stage.

“I am mostly looking for the intensity level and engagement. Are all kids engaged in the practice?” he says. “The really handy thing about eWalk is that I can just check something off, or check it and comment. I can say ‘this is something you might need to work on, or this is something I didn’t see today’.”

He says using eWalk on his iPad is a great way to give instant feedback.

The Valley Tigers are among the teams Rose has helped guide to Iowa State titles

“Coaches are like athletes,” he says. “They are used to being corrected. If it’s something that needs correcting, we talk by email on it” using the walk-through observation as a way to guide the dialogue.

The reaction from coaches has been positive. Since they’re all really busy, and Rose has 14 buildings to cover, the system “helps a lot” since he can provide detailed feedback on observations in a quick, timely fashion.

But it was creating his own template that was the most important aspect of the system.

“The key to eWalk for me, is the ability to make my own template,” he says. “Coaching is an extension of teaching – I am not looking for the exact same thing you are looking for in the classroom.”

Rose presented details of his coaching template, along with the process on how he completes his walk-throughs using eWalk, in December to the National Interscholastic Athletic Administrators Association conference in San Antonio, Texas. He got a lot of interest from athletic directors across the country who wanted to know more, and said he was happy to share his coaching walk-through template with anyone that was interested.

This week, March 23-26, he is also presenting to 300-400 delegates at the Iowa High School Athletic Directors Association 2013 convention in Coralville, Iowa.

If you’re interested in getting more information, including Brad Rose’s Coaching Walk-through template, please contact Bonnie Homewood at Media-X (