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Fully Investing In Your Program
The term “invest” means to put money into something, hoping that there will be returns greater than what was originally put in. As a coach, most of what you desire doesn’t require an investment of money; it requires an investment of time, attention, and effort.
How Invested Are You?
Do you simply say, “you need to get your grades up” to players who are failing classes? Or do you perform weekly grade checks and meet with those struggling students on a regular basis? Do you schedule a weekly study table where athletes struggling in school have the opportunity to practice their academics? If you make a minimal, one-time investment, you will receive an equally small return in that investment. If you invest a great amount of time, attention and effort in your program, your results will match your investment. How large is your investment to your program and how consistently are you making it?
Investments You Must Consider
Yourself: Are you doing everything you can to become a better coach? Do you attend clinics? Do you network with other coaches to see what they are doing? It’s not uncommon to see teams underachieve simply because coaches are unwilling to modify the way they coach. Your team and skill set isn’t the same as last year. If you refuse to acknowledge this, you will never reach your full potential as a team. Are you willing to sacrifice a weekend or pay money out of your pocket to attend a clinic? If so, there are many opportunities for you to grow as a coach.
Dedicated Coaching Staff: It takes a lot of time and energy to run a program. You will get burned out if you attempt to handle everyday coaching responsibilities. To prevent this from happening, you must have coaches who are willing to do extra work. You need to find coaches you can trust so you can delegate as much work as possible. This will create a sense of ownership in these coaches, which will lead to them investing more into the program. As a result, you can quit worrying about everyday coaching operations. If you start to trust your coaches more you can stop micromanaging every aspect of your team, which will lead to lower stress levels. As a result, you will be able to spend more time focusing on being a head coach.
Youth Programs/ Middle School: What are you doing to ensure you have a quality team next year, or five years down the road? As illustrated in the previous section, you need to invest in coaches who buy into your vision and are willing to put in extra time. Are your youth coaches instructing the players properly? Are they running the same scheme or calling plays the same way? Are they giving your future players a positive experience? You would hate to have players quit before you get a chance to coach them all because they had a bad experience when they were 12 years old. Make special appearances and speak to the younger classes. Occasionally end practice early so your staff and players can attend their games. Show these coaches and players at the younger levels that they are part of the family.
Film Room: Are you and your staff doing everything you can to put your players in the best situation to win the game? It’s one thing to lose to a team who was more talented than you, it’s another to lose to a team because they were better prepared. Don’t let your players, coaches, and fans down because you didn’t invest the necessary amount of time watching film.
Weight Room: We expect our players to buy-in and attend off-season workouts on a regular basis. We often question our players’ dedication and wonder how we can make them accountable if they miss organized workouts. My question to you is, are you holding yourself accountable? Are you present and actively involved on a regular basis? How can you expect high school students between ages 15 and 18 to fully buy-in if you aren’t investing your own time? This leads us to the most important section, team culture.
Team Culture: It is imperative for you to invest significant time, attention, and effort into developing a constructive culture within your program. Are you doing everything you can to make sure your players are not only successful in their sport, but also in the classroom and within the community? As coaches, we ask our players to practice and refine position specific skills. We ask them to spend countless hours in the weight room in hopes that they get bigger, faster, and stronger. How much time do you give them to practice their leadership skills? Do you teach them how to handle adversity? As you know, it isn’t always the most talented team that wins. You need to assemble a team full of selfless, high character athletes who work together trying to achieve the same goal.
Don’t be the coach who defines success by the number of wins accumulated over the year. Don’t be the coach who sits around five years waiting to get his hands on the next “special group” of athletes. Be the coach who takes the proactive approach and is willing to invest himself for the good of the program. More importantly, be the coach who leaves a lasting impression on his players and prepares them for life outside of sports.