I didn’t realize how tough the first post would be until I sat down in front of my computer to type this. The best place to start? I figure where I start with our coaches is as good a place as any. This is the first of two posts explaining how we structure our overall athletic department.
Every fall I meet with all GFPS head coaches to pass along new information, remind them of the important old stuff, and give them some “umbrella” direction from the athletic office. One of the things that I remind them of every year are the three department goals that I’d like them to try to accomplish with the kids.
1. Have fun.
This is much easier said than done, but the top goal of every one of our coaches should be allowing the kids to have fun. There are two major difficulties to meeting this goal: (1) “Fun” means different things to different kids, and (2) We still have to run a competitive high school program.
2. Teach the kids how to compete the right way.
Teach them how to act when they win, how to act when they lose, the level of work and dedication it takes to be successful, how to balance sports with the rest of their lives, how to communicate with the various stakeholders in their athletic lives, etc. etc. etc. Again, when you consider the number of kids in our programs who participate for very different reasons, these get to be tough lessons to teach.
3. Teach the kids something about the sport.
This goal varies from sport to sport, but tends to be the easiest of our three goals for coaches to meet. All of our coaches have a passion for their sport and are eager to pass their interest along to the kids.
**The one goal I don’t give to our coaches and don’t talk about during or after the season is winning games or hanging banners. In my opinion, a successful season has nothing to do with the won-loss record when games are done for the year. Winning is a by-product of so many different moving parts – some controllable, some uncontrollable – that I don’t place it as a priority. That’s not to say that I don’t like winning (or, rather, really hate losing!), but I don’t use wins and losses as part of the program evaluation.
In the follow-up to this post coming later this week, I’ll discuss how we try to create balanced levels of competition (and why that structure makes the three goals above so difficult to meet).