Today I asked a college coach in her 3rd year as a head coach what she thinks departments should do to help first year HCs?
“What do you wish had happened?”, that first year, I asked her.
I wish that it was not optional to have regularly scheduled coaching sessions.
I needed help that I didn’t even know about.
I needed someone to ask me questions and reflect my answers.
I wish I had a chance to ask about the mechanics of running a program.
I needed some lessons on head coaching.
Where were we for that coach and the athletes that didn’t get our best product?
Look at the littlest things when things are not going well.
What small components need a tweak?
Start with the little things. It’s easier and more effective than dismantling the big things only to find that it’s the little things that needed the work in the first place.
It’s tough out there! 50+ positions have turned over in college softball this year. FIFTY! A good amount of coaches–of both genders but more women it seems–are leaving the profession altogether. #coachingishard
Tongue in cheek I have said that women are leaving more often than men because they are “smarter”, and when it gets tough the recognize that there are other great opportunities. I don’t really believe that, however. I think that lots of “smart” people are finding coaching at the college level to be too big a challenge because “we” don’t adequately prepare people for the job.
Yes, it’s a job. One that needs training and deserves our best attention. Like teaching in too many places, however, we think about how people do the job and not enough about what the role of a coach should be. There’s too much at stake to just roll out the balls and hope people get it.
Obviously, sports at the college level is zero sum. Those who win couldn’t do so without another party playing the role of loser. Someone has to win. So, unless are are globally happy with a 50% loser rate, the scoreboard cannot be the only measure of success.
Let’s train people to define success (by this I mean administrators being honest with themselves and others) and devise a plan to achieve most of the goals. Let’s allow mistakes on the scoreboard and believe in our bones that, indeed, things like good team culture, kids enjoying the process and becoming “better” people will indeed lead to positive results on the scoreboard, but not every time and not simply because we hope that coaches and players alike “get it”.
We are better than this.