You have written a profile about your basketball coach Mike Warren.


Your discussion of your former coach is perceptive and often nuanced.  You’re admiration of him is apparent and your sense of his character is robust – very good!

Recommendations and Strategies for Improvement


This paper lacks a thesis, and for that reason, your paper lacks a clear focus (except that it’s about coach Mike).  Remember, a thesis should describe all the major ideas you will explore in your essay – it’s a kind of blueprint, so that the reader can understand the basic arguments in your essay.  Try this exercise:

1.      After your first draft is written:  REVERSE OUTLINE a.k.a. IDEA MAP

Number your paragraph and write down the main idea of each paragraph of your essay.   Combine your main points into a single, strong, argument—now you have a thesis!

Also, you neglect a central aspect of the assignment – it needs to be in 3rd person.  That means you cannot refer to yourself – no “I” “me” “my” allowed. You are not a character in this essay, and your focus needs to be exclusively on Coach Mike. 

All of your editorializing about what you did for this assignment is unnecessary.  A section like this on page 2 needs to be cut out entirely:

“For this project, I booked for an interview with Coach Warren. He invited me to his office and took part in an interview. Combined with my personal observation of him, as well as, the comments from some of my teammates, that formed the basis for my profile essay about him.”

This assignment says you need to write a profile about someone, not a paper about the process.  Pay special attention to your assignment guidelines.  Try this exercise with all assignemtns:


·         Read the assignment sheet all the way to the end.  Reread the assignment sheet, circling important words, that explain what you are being asked to do or the steps you are being asked to take to accomplish the objective.   Hint:  Go for the NOUNS & VERBS!

·         Then, write the goal or objective of the assignment in your own words.  Then write:  What skill does the professor want you to develop by doing this assignment?


This paper lacks any clear organization.  While you do a good job focusing on one aspect of the coach at a time, there doesn’t seem to be much rhyme or reason why you pair a paragraph about loving the sport with a paragraph about the coach’s sense of the value of education.  Try to break your paper up into these three basic angles (each should have a few paragraphs):

Coach Mike the man

Coach Mike the coach

Coach Mike’s ethics


Your sentences are generally clear. The major problem here is wordiness.  Your sentences are frequently repetitive and wordy, which obscures the ideas you are exploring.  Here’s one example:

“Being a person who loves and actively participates in the sport of basketball; I have had to regularly interact with Professor Mike Warren, our basketball coach who is also a sociology professor at my college. In this context, though Professor Mike Warren is a distinguished professor with exemplary academic capabilities, I have chosen to focus on his basketball coaching skills. This is the area I know of him best. I’m not as familiar with his teaching skills because I’ve not been part of his class. This paper will purpose to highlight his astute coaching skills that have seen in him.”

This can simply be rewritten like this:

“Mike Warren is a sociology professor and coach.  Although I haven’t take any of his classes, as a coach he has been a hero to me.”

You can write something better than I have, but you get the point.

Of course, this section relies too much on your own experience and should be cut entirely.


When you take out all the first person pronouns, you will find that your paper is far too short.  This will give you an opportunity to expand your paper and dig deeper in thought you haven’t explored.  Here are a few instances you can develop:

Where is coach Mike a coach?  You spent far too much time discussing yourself, I don’t know where he’s a coach and professor.

What makes a coach good – draw up a list – then describe all the ways Mike is a good coach.

Can you connect his academic training in sociology to his ability as a coach?  That would be cool.

You still need to brainstorm new angles for this essay.  Try this exercise:

3.      QUESTIONS:  The Inquiry Method  (You can use this in Development too.)

·         First, write 5 KEY Questions about your topic beginning with How, What, Where or Why.  (Make sure no question can be answered with only a yes or now.)

·         Second, list the 3 of those 5 KEY Questions which most interest you, leaving space below each one.

·         Third, write 3 MORE questions about each of those 3 Key Questions in the space you have left.  Same rule applies:  use How, What, Why, Where so you do not get yes or no answers. 


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