Are you feeling pretty good about the future of your youth sports club?
You should be. After all, you’ve focused on marketing and recruiting, and you have a great group of athletes joining your sports club next season. You have an exceptional administrative team in place and a supportive board of directors ready to help your organization.
Just one piece might be missing – experienced, tenured coaches.
If your sports club is seeing a revolving door of coaches enter and exit, it can be difficult to build a successful program. Coaches are the men and women youth athletes interact with the most at your club, and they are the ones ultimately responsible for helping players enhance their skills. If you get a great coach, it can help attract new players and retain existing athletes. But if you lose a good coach, it can cause players to leave the club to follow him or her to a new organization or exit due to lack of consistency in coaching.
Because of this, it’s important to both attract and retain your top coaches. Use these nine tips for ways you can avoid a coaching carousel at your sports club.
Find Coaches that Can Relate to Youth Athletes
When hiring coaches, you first need to ensure you select men and women who want to coach youth athletes and who can relate to these younger players. These types of coaches will be invested in their players and their athletic development and will be more likely to coach long-term.
Find Experienced and Successful Coaches
You want to find coaches who have previous experience and proven winning records. This can help your club’s players and parents feel more confident with these coaches. This also ensures you’re hiring coaches who know what to expect when working with youth athletes and their parents. Having already experienced success, these coaches already know the commitment it takes to get the team and athletes up to the level they need to be, meaning they won’t be surprised by the time and work required.
Find Coaches Who Can Handle Parents
In addition to hiring a coach who can work with youth athletes, it’s also important to ensure he or she can handle players’ parents. Dealing with parents can take a toll on coaches, and if they are not prepared for the interactions it can cause them to leave the club. Ideally, organizations can find a coach who works well with the players and who can establish a positive relationship with parents to ensure a successful season.
Build Policies that Can Help Coaches Succeed
To help set coaches up for success with players and parents, it’s important for the organization to establish policies to help coaches. One type of document clubs should consider creating is a formal Code of Conduct for both players and parents. This can state the organization’s exact expectations and consequences for athletes and parents. Having parents and athletes read, sign and agree to follow these guidelines can help the coach deal with any issues that may arise during the season.
Need help with different ways to communicate with parents?
Recruit Club Alumni
One way to ensure you are hiring coaches who are engaged with your program is to recruit former players from your club. Start with former athletes who are still engaged with your organization and who are still active in the sport. Hiring alumni can help ensure he or she is using the coaching strategies and philosophies used by your club, as well as guarantee that he or she has long-lasting connections to your organization to encourage him or her to stay with the club long-term. These hires will also help players and parents feel confident with the coach, knowing he or she came up through the club’s system and knows the ins and outs of the organization.
Support Your Coaches
Throughout the season, your club’s coaches are likely to encounter issues with a player, parent or another coach in the league. It’s important for the club to support the coach and have his or her back to encourage him or her to want to work through the issues and stay within the organization. Knowing that he or she is part of a club that believes in his or her coaching philosophies and standards will help encourage the coach to stick with the organization.
Encourage Coaches to Bond Together and Support Each Other
Teaching and training youth athletes can take a toll on coaches. To help them cope and find support, help your organization’s coaches bond with each other. Clubs can help create an environment where coaches can socialize with each other, exchange ideas, vent, share successes and struggles, and create a peer group. Having these connections will help encourage coaches to stay within the organization longer as they feel more a part of the community.
Let your coaches know that you’re aware of the positives they are bringing to their team. This will help them feel more appreciated and know that their efforts are being noticed. It’s also important to address any concerns with coaches as they come up to avoid any misunderstandings later. This gives you and the coach a chance to discuss issues before they become larger. This can help improve transparency between the club and the coaches.
Why you should be evaluating your coaches & players at the end of the season.
Investing in your coaches can encourage them to stick with your club longer. Sending coaches to seminars and training camps to keep them updated on the latest rules, skills ad developments in the sport will make them better coaches, help them better instruct the players, and give them more skills and experience to add to their personal resumes. Providing these opportunities to coaches can help build loyalty to your club and make them want to coach for the organization long-term.