Every single sports coach, no matter the sport, needs to have one skill in common. Organization. It doesn’t matter whether you are coaching kids or coaching adults, organization is key! If you want your coaching to work out and people to feel like you have it all together, then being as organized as possible is important. As a coach, you already have a lot of hard work ahead of you and many skills to master, but that doesn’t mean that there aren’t ways that you can make life easier on yourself. As a coach, you are a leader, teacher, guide, confidant and supporter, and being organized will enable you to wear all of these hats and be successful at what you do.
Before the coaching season begins – whatever your sport – you can make a plan to get ahead of all of the coaching organizing. You don’t have to have a nightmare trying to run a team, not when you can get yourself sorted early. It doesn’t matter whether you coach football, baseball or basketball; you need to get your ducks in a row early so that your team can play and practice without any worry! Tom Coughlin was regarded as one of the legendary coaches of all time, and his dictatorial style proved he could lead a team to greatness – twice. While you may not want to be a dictator with your team, you may choose to be ruthless in your organizational style. You can coach anyone if you have the tips below to keep you in line and keep coaching as stress-free an experience as possible.
- Add Some Team Goals
When you’re trying to get organized for the coaching season, you need to have a goal in mind. Of course, it’s winning for most people, but what aims do you want to hit with your team this year? What way do you want the players to work together? If you’re coaching children, how do you want their parents to get involved? These are things that you need to ask yourself if you want to be able to hit your goals for the season. You need to have a philosophy in your coaching so that you can achieve something by the end of it. As a team, you can sit together and choose some things to achieve this season. If you want to ensure that punctuality is a goal of yours, why not consider a similar schedule gift for each of the players like the ones created by MagnetStreet’s custom football schedule magnets? A gift put together for each player with a magnet schedule, a badge or shirt for the season and some goodies will really help to get everyone motivated as the season begins. Don Shula is a coach with 347 NFL wins under his belt: his goal was to make no-name players stars, and he achieved it with focus! If you know that your team has goals to hit, you know that your season has a structure and you’re not just a team playing for fun!
- Enhance Your Communication
It doesn’t matter whether you are coaching children or you are organizing a bunch of aults, you need to make sure that you are communicating properly with everyone! You have to communicate times and dates of games, and you have to agree with the way in which you communicate, too. Whether you send mass text messages to team members or their parents, or you have an email list or Facebook page communication is key! Along with adequate communication, you have to ensure that you are timing this properly. Start your team season with a letter or email to introduce yourself and your expectations. Sure, you’ll have a team meeting to discuss behaviour and what you expect from your team, but you need to let them know that you don’t expect people to turn up ill-equipped for games.
You also need to let them know that you will provide people with a safe place to play games and you have a system for injuries. If you have a First Aid qualification, you’re going to be able to offer more to your players, too. If you introduce yourself properly and share your contact information, team roster and the schedule for playing, everyone is going to appreciate the effort that you have gone to. Along with all this, you need to know that your team details are as up to date as possible, so that your team can be contacted at any time. Communicating any changes to the games or the schedule is also vital if you want people to turn up on time when you need them to be there! Getting organized with all of this with communication and information packs before the season begins is going to ensure that you remember who to contact and how to get in touch with them.
- Host A Pre-Season Team Meeting
Before the season begins, get hold of everyone to discuss all of the important areas of the season before you start. You need to communicate with parents the philosophy of coaching you hold, the equipment needed and how play time will work. For adults, the same thing needs to be discussed on a different level so that they are aware of what they need for a successful season. With parents, they will want to know how you plan to play the kids so that they all get some playing time on the field. If you need to have some parent volunteers for games, now is the time to discuss those needs and ensure that people are aware that they can step up to volunteer and help. This meeting is going to help you to show others that you have the right qualifications for coaching, First Aid and a criminal check that’s clear. You are as much a part of the team as the players and parents and others need to know this! Your team meeting needs to dictate your expectations for the behavior of those on the field, too, and it’s the perfect opportunity to take on any questions that may come up in the season.
- Plan Your Practices
While you may have planned what you want to get out of the season, you need to plan each practice. Much as a teacher would plan a lesson, you should be doing everything that you can to make sure that every single time you and your team get together to practice, you achieve something. A plan enables you to work out the timings you want to use for each piece of the game, and it lets you follow a structure for every meeting, too. Bringing a handwritten plan to each match practice may seem tedious, but once you’re there, you’ll be thankful that you brought something to follow along with. You don’t want to waste the time of the players and the subs – they’ve taken the time to come to the location you’ve discussed and they don’t want to sit around the whole time waiting to do something. If you have an assistant, they can help you to divide players into groups of different strengths to practice in different areas and they can work with you to ensure that all players are versed on where they are needed. Players improve during practices, that’s what they are there for. Dean Smith made Michael Jordan, and he didn’t get there without maximizing team practices. With 897 college victories, you have to ask yourself how organized he must have been during practice to make his team work so well. So, you have to think about how you want your practices to look so that you can maximize player productivity and really have something fun to do with them.
- Encourage Praise
Both children and adult players thrive on knowing when they are doing something right. You don’t need players to fail only to be jeered at by their teammates, either, it’s not the definition of good team spirit. Whether it’s children or adults you are coaching, ensure that you are encouraging as much praise and cheer as possible. Those who are weaker in some areas need to be encouraged and buoyed by those around them, so keep that team spirit in check while you all play. You can also create small challenges for your team to keep them organized: prizes for those who dont forget equipment during the season, and prizes for those who achieve the team goals that you discussed early on are excellent ways to show your appreciation here. Coaching doesn’t have to be disorganized and neither do players, and it’s up to you to ensure that they are as buoyed up as possible, too! Encouraging praise is a good way to instill good team spirit in your players, and they will thank you eventually for giving them a shot.
- Be Brief With Your Weekly Updates
Most people don’t have the time to read lengthy communications, so don’t send them! If you make your emails and text messages brief, you’re going to get the attention of others and keep them as informed as possible at the same time. You may have handed out schedule magnets but that doesn’t mean that everyone has attached them to the refrigerator. Each week, send out a timing and schedule reminder as well as a reminder about weather-wear. You want people to get the information that they need without waiting around, and this is the way to do it. If you have cancelled games, you need to let people know with enough notice that they can cancel their travel plans and ensure that they rearrange themselves. You should be brief with your communications so that you are to the point with your players.
Being organized as a coach doesn’t have to be difficult. We’ve just put together some easy tips for you and now you can be the coach with the most this season! People appreciate you when you are organized, so start with these tips and go from there.