A Reader Question: “Have you heard of tipping a coach for coaching during a tournament?”

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“The coaches at my academy are great.
They encourage competitions and they come and coach everyone who competes for every match.
Their dedication is amazing and they work really hard to be sure they are there for every student for every match.
I was wondering what would be the appropriate etiquette for tipping a coach for coaching during a tournament.
This is extra time they put into their students and I do feel it should be rewarded.
Have you heard of other competitors tipping coaches?
If so, what is an appropriate amount, say a particular dollar amount per match?
Would love to hear your feedback.”

Jiu-jitsu Times: No, we have never heard of tipping a coach for coaching during a tournament.

I doubt many coaches would even consider accepting a cash tip.

That said, thank you on behalf of all coaches everywhere for you recognizing the effort that coaches put in on weekend tournaments.

There is an unclear overlap in many bjj academies between unpaid volunteer work – like cleaning the mats, substitute teaching classes, coaching – that is a carry over from the origins of the Asian martial arts traditions.
Students would apprentice at the dojo by performing cleaning duties in exchange for lessons.
In those days, teachers were not operating the dojo / gym as a business.
It was a private club where secret knowledge was earned by the students form the masters.

In the current age, the business aspect has come into the way academies are operated with contacts, automated billing systems, and professional cleaning staff.
But many of the old volunteer traditions carry on and there is much unpaid time and effort put into running the academy by senior students and coaches.

If you would like to express your gratitude to the coaches at your academy for their help at the tournament, I would recommend a less direct way than cash in an envelope.

Find out what their favorite training gear is.
A T-shirt, rash guard, pair of shorts or even gift certificate might be REALLY appreciated by those hard working coaches.

Even something as simple as asking the coach for a photo together at the competition and recognizing their help is a great gesture.

read also: Toxic Gyms – Red Flags of a Bad Martial Arts School

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