We need to get better! We need to work harder! We need to learn more! These three statements are often made by coaches during the season and also heading into the off-season. But how many times do we apply this to ourselves? Team success starts with the coaching staff and parents each year. No matter how much success was experienced the prior year, growing as a coach is still very important. Below we’ll discuss 3 different ways coaches can be better and grow before next season starts.
Heading into the off-season, coaches should not only evaluate and provide feedback on players but also on themselves and their staff. Sometimes coaches forget that growth can be had from the leadership surrounding the team. To do this, be sure to start by asking some simple questions. Did I bring energy every day? Did I pull the best out of every one of my players? Did I remain consistent and positive through dips in the season? Did I lead by example? Did I provide my team with the resources they needed to be successful? From there, you can go more in-depth on expectations for the program and how each staff member performed. Lastly, align on one change you would like to make as a staff next year.
Communication is one of the most critical skills someone can possess. The ability to have a productive conversation with parents, players, and staff can be daunting at times and, for many coaches, something that is strategically avoided. It takes effort and energy just like any other skill and requires a person to look inward and be thoughtful of the person they’re engaging with.
Team success plummets when there’s a lack of communication, particularly in the off-season. Does your player know what to get better at? Does your player know your expectations? These simple questions can help you understand why your players may be struggling or not growing at the pace you know they are capable of. Communication also builds bonds and trust that will become unbreakable during tough times. When you need your players the most, they will trust you because their is an open line of communication.
I’ve been coaching and training for many years now, and I’m still surprised at how much I learn every year. I salivate at the chance to add knowledge in some capacity because I know it will lead to growth and success. Unfortunately, many coaches, begin to believe that learning is below them and that their coaching is absolute. When this happens, you can bet a program will start declining in due time.
Throughout the year and particularly in the summer, clinics are offered to help coaches learn and implement new strategies into their program. These clinics include high-level coaches that give advice and ideas to help stimulate growth. Be sure to check out as many coaching clinics as you can this off-season, and by doing this, you’ll sharpen your coaching toolkit. Check out the ones that Dr. Dish will be at this year!
Lastly, be sure to learn from your players, staff, and parents. You’d be surprised what new ideas or perspectives come from outside observers. Not all of these thoughts will be beneficial, but incorporating the ones that make the most sense for growth is important. At the end of the day, be a sponge and want to learn and get better for your team. Learning is contagious and promotes growth and leadership. These lead to success and eventual respect from those around you!
Take advantage of these 3 growth opportunities in the summer and see how quickly success is generated. Not only will you feel accomplished as a coach, but you’ll feel motivated and hungry to keep grinding every day!