The 5 Stages Of A Coach’s Career

Editor’s note from Brian.  I saw this thought on another blog and thought that it fits in well with the message of this post:

Rocking Chair Statement
-As a coach, write a statement about what you want players to remember about you when you are old in a rocking chair on your front porch!

The following post was written by Coach Dawn Redd-Kelly and originally published on her coaching blog, Coach Dawn Writes

Let me tell you what I think about coaches: we’re crazy in our preparation and dedication, we work long hours and love it, we give up our nights and weekends, we mentor our student-athletes, we demand big things from them and even more from ourselves, we’re passionate in our belief in our team and our love for our sport, we believe in the power of sport to have a positive and long-lasting impact in our athlete’s lives.  So when I saw “The 5 Stages of Your Career” over at Bob Starkey’s blog, I wanted to expand on it over here.  It’s interesting to figure out what stage you’re in and those that you’ve already gone through…or have you circled back around to some you thought you were finished with?  Check them out and see what you think.

The 5 Stages of Your Career

1.       Survival: Don’t Know What You Don’t Know
Coaches, you remember what this stage felt like don’t you?   Or maybe you’re in the middle of this stage now and feel like you’re flailing.  I remember being beyond clueless…that’s back when I thought I just needed to know volleyball to be a volleyball coach!  Turns out also I needed to formulate a recruiting plan, balance a budget, create practice plans, order equipment, manage assistant coaches, and make in-game adjustments.  Color me unprepared, but thank goodness for a veteran coach who took me under his wing.

2.       Striving for Success: You Want Folks to Recognize You Can Coach
Your motivation?  Winning, plain and simple.  You’re obsessed with conquering the competition and put in hours and hours of your time to make it happen.  Being the best is what drives you and to be the best, you need the tangible accolades that go along with that:  lots of W’s in the win column, all-league awards for your team, and maybe a coach of the year for you.

3.       Satisfaction: You Relax, Set Another Goal, & Want To Get Better
Now that you’ve achieved a few of your goals, you can relax and know that you’re a good coach and you have the respect of your peers.  You attend conferences to network and visit with old friends as much as you do to learn some new things…you’re getting established.  Each year you set new goals to accomplish that will push you and your team forward…you’re focused.

4.       Significance: Changing Lives For The Good
At this stage you’re more concerned with how you impact your teams and your legacy than you are with personal glory…after all, you’ve already accomplished a lot.  Now you want to make sure your teams understand the value of sport and hope that you’re teaching them how to be better people, not just better players.  With all of your experience and years in the game, you’re very knowledgeable.  And because of the success you’ve had in your career, this is the stage where people solicit your opinion and ask for your help with their coaching conundrums.

5.       Spent: No Juice Left, Can’t Do It Any More
The busses, the trips, preseason, recruiting, the hustle, the grind…you’re over it.  You’re ready to hang with the family and actually make it home before nine o’clock at night.  And your weekends?  You want them back.  Not even the prospect of that super sweet and talented recruiting class that you just brought in is enough to bring you back into the fold.  As much as you love your sport, you’re just not that fired up about the season this year…it’s time to hang it up.

So what stage are YOU at?

About the Author of this Post

Dawn Redd-Kelly is the head volleyball coach at Beloit College.  Her volleyball teams have earned the best winning percentage in school history.  She has coached at the high school, club, Division I and III levels…taking my first collegiate head coaching job at age 24 with the University of Rochester.  She played volleyball at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Coach Dawn Says: “I believe in the power of sport to teach winning and losing with grace, to inspire its participants to excel, and to create a common goal for the greater good.”


5 comments for “The 5 Stages Of A Coach’s Career

  1. mike daloisio
    February 8, 2017 at 10:30 pm

    Very good article. You are so correct on all five stages. I am currently at the end of stage five after 40 years of coaching and athletics at the high school level, and can relate to each stage. Developed foot drop 4 years ago after 2 knee replacements so cannot do the things I once did, nor handle the bus rides any longer.

    Thanks, I certainly can relate.

    • bwiliams@coachingtoolbox.net
      February 9, 2017 at 11:22 am

      Thanks and congratulations on your 40 years and I appreciate you leaving your thoughts!

  2. Christian Marsh
    February 9, 2017 at 3:15 pm

    After a few State Titles and more than my share of conference championships I am clearly in the 4th stage. I hope I never reach stage 5 but I now know what to look for if I get close!

    Funny, now I want to help all the young guys. Can remember back to the time when alls I wanted was to beat them.

    Great descriptions of the first 4.

    • bwiliams@coachingtoolbox.net
      February 11, 2017 at 2:11 pm

      Thanks for sharing your thoughts!

  3. Chris Elerick
    May 28, 2017 at 3:07 pm

    I think I am in 1,2,3, and 4. But not always in the same order everyday!

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