The Coach of Many Hats
Take a moment to think of the various roles you play and the different hats that you may wear in your day to day coaching. At any given time you could be a team manager, marketer, administrator, office manager, league convener, HR manager, psychologist, facility manager, just to name a few.
There is a lot to do, and often not enough money, time, energy or staff to get it all done. Not only that, but you also need to consider how much time you’re spending wearing each hat.
Depending on the size of your organization/club it can make sense for a few people to inherit and manage many tasks. We become “expert” jugglers at switching from task to task and many jobs, although part of your program, are being done in addition to the actual time spent on a field, deck, court etc.
So while wearing all these hats yourself may seem like an effective strategy, it can become disadvantageous not just for your athletes and program, but for you. Do you find that these other hats take away from your coaching? How easy is it for you to change hats without messing up your hair?
Here are a few ways to help you spend more time coaching and less time juggling
Build a team around you
Be aware of, and open about, your weaknesses. You don’t need to be a genius and expert at everything to be a great coach or run a great club or program. Bring in people who complement your hats by excelling where you struggle. “A chain is only as strong as its weakest link.”
Let applications and great pieces of technology take the hassle out of keeping track and managing multiple hats by having one closet. This will allow you more time to spend on working with your athletes on the field, deck, court, video room etc. You would be surprised to know that some hats you wear could be combined into one.
This plays into the above point of creating and surrounding yourself with a team that you can trust. Delegating some of those hats can help you achieve more in less time, which leaves you more time to coach on the field, deck, court etc.
Coaching is a big responsibility and the role often comes with more than just one hat. The key is balance, and learning to separate every part of your job into equally important parts.
How do you manage your many hats while balancing coaching duties? Do you find the day to day management of your club or team takes away from your coaching? How would you change it?
Rolf Waffler – Football, Skiing – Thunder Bay – 25 years
“…Having a committed manager who is able to recruit volunteers to fill key positions i.e. fundraising, etc is key. Then as the head coach you only have to keep tabs on things rather than do it all. It is key that you give the people below you the authority and confidence to do the duties and not micro manage them.”
Connie Groom – Gymnastics – Ottawa – 31 years
“…With many years of coaching and being exposed in 6 Provinces and 1 territory I have experienced small to large organizations. The saying If i only knew then what i know now, so true. Don’t go it alone, if you need help ask.When you are asked to help make sure you are not putting yourself in a position where you will burn out.Passion needs to be with you as days are long , coaching as we all understand can be tough.The gains of helping our athletes reach there goals should be a priority and everything else will get done eventually. Refer to professionals where need be and keep your knowledge based within you level of knowledge. Its okay to say ” let me get back to you on that” Over all take things 1 day at a time, try to keep work at work, and home at home. Set goals for yourself as a coach, today, the week, the month and stick to it.The best is to make sure you schedule within a week ” me time” and of course if you are in a relationship you need to schedule ” date night”
David Gentry – Basketball – Ottawa – 25 years
“…Back in the day, of my 25 years of coaching, managing a small basketball club, It was up to me and me alone to not only coach but manage all aspects of the club. Registration, signs ups, competitions, scheduling, etc. We didn’t have the fancy things that exist today. Fast forward 25 years and now we have a club administrator and the opportunity to use technology like scheduling, league management, even emailing all from one single app. The only thing I would change is I wish it all had come sooner in my coaching career!”
Lisa Loney – Gymnastics – Waterloo – 10 years
“…There should be a coaching course on how to find and use the best technology. There is a lot out there and some coaches don’t know they exist! I can’t see how any club or team runs without the use of some scheduler like teamsnap or video software like coaches eye or dartfish. It often takes just the chance to see something in action and I would welcome the opportunities to see and hear more about what exists.”
Michael Weiss – Alpine Ski Racing – Ottawa/Gatineau – 49 years
“Perform the roles or functions that are your strengths, delegate tasks that distract you from the achieving your priority of the day or week or season. Arm yourself with the best team that support what you cannot attend to as effectively these might be capable of doing. Trust your team!”
Stephanie Knill – Soccer – Brampton – 1 year
“… I just starting coaching my son’s soccer team this summer. This is the first time I have ever coached and I found that it took much more than I thought it would. I thought I would just come to each session and basically supervise since they were U05. Boy was I wrong. I became a coordinator, communicator, supporter and role model for some awesome young boys. I also had to work with the parents of the team to keep everything on track and organized. This meant staying in constant communication with the league as well.
I found that some of these things did distract from my actual coaching of the team. I found that I became more worried about getting pictures together and communicating information, rather than setting up activities and ensuring the skills are transferred to the kids.
With all of this, it would have been great to have an assistant coach to help take care of the administrative side, so that I could really take the time to focus on skills and the sport.
With all of that said, I wouldn’t give up the experience for anything. I think I may even be coaching this indoor season as well!”
Lee – Figure Skating – Eastern Ontario – 20 years
“…I am a mother as well as my two kids coach. I find it hard to keep my kids separate from the business side and the drama. I have dealth with this by moving to the kids dressing room instead of having the kids in the coaches room.”
Alyne Azucena – Ultimate Frisbee – Toronto – 3 years
“We have a team roles spreadsheet that requires every player to sign themselves up for a position that contributes to the team. This includes sideline match-ups (matching players on and off the field for a defensive ear), team doctor (brings band-aids, pro-wrap, tape, etc.), tournament organizer (book hotels, organize car rides), etc. We make sure to communicate a strong team culture from the beginning and every role is important and appreciated. The delegation takes a huge load off the leadership team!”
Emily Scott – Ringette – Toronto – 8 years
“…if every club/team had enough money to hire an operations manager who ran the website, registration, marketing, community outreach etc, that I feel would go a LONG way to improving how coaches can balance what they are meant to do, and that’s coach.”