Finding coaches for youth sports teams is no easy task, but retaining them could be even more of a challenge. It takes a special person to want to dedicate their spare time to coaching youth athletes. A coach’s willingness to work with young players should never be taken for granted. For coaches who had a great season and an ideal squad, getting them to sign on for another season could be an easy ask. But for coaches who had to endure a difficult season and deal with challenging players and parents, asking them to return for another year could be an unwanted request.
After finding a coach, investing in training, and developing them into a leader the players respond to, it’s worth it for a club to invest in the time and effort to retain its coaches.
Get tips below on how to reduce the turnover on your club’s youth coaching staff.
Make them feel appreciated.
Whether a youth coach is a paid staff member or a volunteer, it’s important to let them know how much they are appreciated. Asking a person to spend their free time coaching youth players is a large commitment. Between work, their own families, hobbies and other engagements, most adults don’t have a lot of extra time. Finding a person who is willing to spend their few precious free moments with a youth squad is not easy, so it’s important to ensure the coach knows their efforts are appreciated. This can be through a simple “thank you”, a conversation, or a gesture to acknowledge you know they are giving up a lot, and their efforts are being noticed.
Let your coaching staff know how they are doing. Whether it’s positive or negative feedback, letting a coach know what is going well and what he or she needs to improve on could help them make corrections throughout the season to make the year more tolerable. Ending the year on a good note could encourage the coach to want to return for another season, and continue the improvements they have started to make. If the coach is doing well, it’s important to let them know so they are aware they are performing at a high level, and should continue the good work.
Offer sufficient training.
Don’t put your coaches in a position where they don’t feel prepared to coach a team at a high level. Offer your coaching staff training – whether it’s classes or seminars hosted by the club during the offseason, or attending larger clinics at the state or regional level. Depending on a coach’s experience, he or she will need a varying level of training. For parent coaches who might not have any coaching experience, and maybe even very little experience with the sport itself, more beginner-level training might be needed. Offering these rookie coaches help throughout the season through regular meetings can benefit the coach and the team. For more experienced coaches, they might need to attend more advanced clinics to improve their coaching skills and strategies. Offering these opportunities will help the coach feel engaged with the club and the sport, and encourage him or her to keep gaining more experience.
Forming friendships and good working relationships with your youth sports coaches can encourage them to want to stay with the organization. The more attached they feel to the club, players and parents, the more likely they are to want to stay long-term. [Click to Tweet!]
Recognize why coaches take the position.
To entice a coach to remain on your staff, it’s important to recognize why they took the position. Did the coach want to make a difference with the youth athletes? Did they want to teach skills to a younger generation? Do they love giving back to their community? Recognizing the reasoning could help you convince the coach to keep working with the team. Let them know how they accomplished their goal. Show them the difference they made, or how much the community appreciates them. Then help them find ways to further their involvement. Help set goals for how they could make a bigger impact in the future, or a new long-term goal.
Develop relationships with your coaching staff.
When people feel connected to others at their job, they are more likely to want to stay. This is true at most workplaces, and can also be the case at your club. Forming friendships and good working relationships with your coaches can encourage them to want to stay with the organization. The more attached they feel to the club, players and parents, the more bonded they will feel, and the more likely they are to want to stay long-term.