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Coaching the Coaches

Lee Taft, MS, CSCS, SPC, USATF, Performance Director, Sports Speed, Etc., Inc.

How many of you coaches that have been in the industry for a while try to take an interest in the younger coaches? This is something I have always tried to be involved with. I believe young coaches have a window of opportunity to create a solid foundation and philosophy that will make them improve year after year. But if they are only following in the footsteps of coaches before them that might have been flawed then they will also be flawed. Now, if they had a great mentor as a coach then there is a good chance they will take on a wonderful philosophy.

Here is my challenge to you. Take time to share with young coaches important elements that will allow them to improve their coaching each year. Here are some tips you should share:

  1. Practice Time Management – This is a problem most coaches have. If you set times for practice try to stick with it. I have made the mistake of going over the time and it only frustrates athletes and parents.
  2. Be on Time – I believe the biggest cardinal sin of a coach is to be late or barely on time. You should be there before the athletes so you can prepare for practice, greet the kids, and get your mind ready for a great practice.
  3. Assess your Team – Assessing the strength and limitations of your team so a proper and productive practice can be prepared (wow that’s a lot of Ps!).
  4. Gather your Team – Always gather your team together at the beginning so clear and concise directions can be shared. This is a great time to allow for questions and get other organizational info out of the way.
  5. Value Skill Work – If you are not spending time everyday on improving skills you are hurting the future of your program. Even though we say off-season is the time to improve, in-season is your most focused time of the year. When you coach young kids it is all about skills. Game planning doesn’t mean a lot if you can’t demonstrate proper skills.
  6. Keep Athlete Active – During practice, when I coach basketball I try to have a ball in every player’s hands as much as possible. Try to keep lines small or if you must have single lines keep them moving fast.
  7. Minimize the Drama – Always address team issues or distraction immediately. If the team is being pulled apart by a few players you must address it the best you can.
  8. Set Clear Expectations – You need to communicate clearly what your expectations are for practice and the season; and encourage the players to do the same.
  9. Pay Attention – Do a lot of listening and watching so you can learn your team.
  10. Have Fun – Your athletes will respond for you if they are having fun.
  11. Always let them know you care about them and are totally invested in them and their improvement as a player and a person.

There are many other elements that are important to coaching, but if you can get young coaches to learn to focus on these 11 items they will have a great headstart.

Yours in Speed,

Lee Taft

Please contact me at info@sportsspeedetc.com if you have any questions.

Or visit SportsSpeedEtc.com

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