The article was provided by Coaches Network
By Dr. David Hoch, CMAA, CIC
To bolster their professional development, coaches have long attended clinics and conferences, read books, viewed videos, and taken classes. All of these methods are excellent, beneficial, and should be used. But there’s one more avenue for improving your coaching that is right under your nose—learning from peers in your own school.
Even though someone may coach another sport, this doesn’t mean that you won’t be able to learn a great deal from this person. Obviously you won’t pick up exact drills to improve sport-specific skills and strategy, but there are many other aspects of coaching that you can discuss. And the best part is that these individuals are right there in your building!
What can you learn from good, experienced coaches in your school regardless of the sport that they coach? Here are a few things:
Practice planning. While you might know the skills and strategies involved in your sport, perhaps your practice sessions could be a little more organized. An experienced coach can provide ideas for the placement of the various segments and drills during a practice session, how much time should be allotted, and understanding the concept of scheduling a hard drill followed by an easier one to help with recovery.
Communicating with parents. Nothing is more critical and perhaps more difficult for many coaches than effectively communicating with parents. Seek out coaches at your school who do this well and ask them for advice. How do they keep parents well-informed? How do they deter parent complaints? How do they get parent buy-in? How do they deal with a very difficult parent?
Working with the media. Making off-the-cuff comments, using inappropriate language, or making emotional statements after a game can cause major problems. Guidance and help from experienced coaches can be invaluable to avoid these missteps.
Being tough but supportive. To be an effective coach, it is important to understand young people and to treat them with respect, care, and compassion. Good coaches are positive, encouraging, and nurturing. It can be extremely helpful to attend practice sessions of exemplary coaches and watch how they can be both demanding and supportive during the course of the same practice session. Outstanding coaches place the growth and development of their athletes at the top of their priorities, and you can learn this through observation.
Motivating athletes. It is also important to understand that members of your team are all unique and respond differently to motivational efforts. To get the most out of each team member, you can’t use one, cookie-cutter approach. Experienced coaches can share new and different techniques that work to reach a diverse group of individuals.
Work-life balance. Coaching is demanding and can be totally consuming, which means you may have to work extremely hard to maintain a good family life. Ideas and suggestions from others can be invaluable and may end up extending your coaching lifespan.
David Hoch retired in 2010 after a 41-year career as a high school athletic director and coach. In 2009, Dr. Hoch was honored as the Eastern District Athletic Director of the Year by the Nastional Association for Sport and Physical Education. He was also presented with the National Interscholastic Athletic Administrators Association Distinguished Service Award, and in 2000 he was named the Maryland State Athletic Director Association’s Athletic Director of the Year. Dr. Hoch has authored over 460 professional articles and made more than 70 presentations around the country.