Recently Allen posted as a comment the following questions regarding coaches at UPA Club Nationals. They are all questions that have come up before, but given the breadth of commenters on this blog it might produce some insightful results if we re-hash those questions directly to this audience. I imagine that we could all take a stab at answering these questions in our own posts, with differing results. I'll try my best, keeping in mind that I have never coached a club team to UPA Nationals. Hopefully those with more insight can fill in the gaps of my answers.
(1) What are the coaches doing and how are they helping? (In both divisions the coaches are disproportionately working with top teams): I imagine that a bulk of elite coaching is system installment and getting people to avoid bad tendencies. I'm confident it changes from Open to Women's a bit, but I can't imagine Greg or Ted having to teach someone how to throw a pass. Maybe they tweak it a bit, but even that seems like something everyone knows how to do if they are playing at this level. When I was coaching with AJ we had enough coaches for me to only be a "throwing coach." It was nice because I didn't really care if we won or not, I would just take our players aside when they came off and got them to focus on a specific pass the made and how to make it better. Many coaches have to wear this and many other hats as they develop their players. I imagine the elite level coach can focus on overall strategies, match-ups, more global things as their players can micro-manage more than lower level players can.
(2): Why are women's teams more open to having coaches? Stu Downs wrote in a post here that coaches should be aware of a team's (and their own) ego before coaching. I've coached both genders at the college and high school level, and I've always had an easier time getting women to pay attention and buy into a system. When coaching men it was difficult to manage egos (often you need them to get the most out of your players), and early on it was also difficult to convince them that I know what it takes to win. Of course this would change depending on the school and level, but I feel pretty confident that it is easier for women to put their egos aside for a greater cause.
Second, I'll say that coaching makes more of a difference in women's sports. In the women's game the relative size of the field, the average ability of the throwers, the margin of error all make it so strategy can make a larger difference in a game than in the men's game. I've had more "great coaching" moments coaching women than coaching men. Situations where I look at a win and think about the adjustments we made and the effect it had.
(3) Why are the bulk of coaches men? Most coaches are asked to coach and are (in many ways) on a shorter leash than professional coaches. With no financial investment from an owner, a coach can be dismissed whenever players become dis-satisfied. This less the case at some High Schools, where coaches are paid by the administration, but a majority of coaches out there are at the mercy of their teams. With that being said, teams ask for coaches and maybe they just happen to ask men more than women. There are a number of successful female coaches (Jennifer Donnelly and Tiina Booth are the first that come to mind), but there are a disproportionate number of male coaches. Perhaps this is a similar ego problem, but it doesn't explain why so many women's teams have male coaches. I would ask the question: since the largest base of coaches is retired players, where are the retired female greats and what are they doing that isn't coaching?
I know there are better answers out there, so let's hear them.