Worthwhile planning can't be done just before the school year or season starts. For planning to be productive, it must be an ongoing process; the outgrowth of continuous observation as well as input from your staff.
Start the process by scheduling a general coaches' meeting as soon as possible after the season. Ask pivotal questions like:
- Did we achieve our goals?
- How far off are we from where we want to be?
- In what areas were we successful? In what areas do we need improvement?
Elicit answers to these general questions. Let your staff get things off their chest. Listen to their suggestions and give them careful consideration. There obviously will be conflicts. Keep the discussions on target specific issues. Avoid going off on tangents.
At the same time, don't be defensive. Don't interpret their opinions as a challenge to your authority. Show interest but tell them you want to "sleep on their recommendations."
Resolve all conflicts on their merits, not who they come from. You must keep the best interest of the athletes in mind. If you act with competence, integrity, and commitment, you won't curry anyone's favor or fear anyone's disapproval in making your decision.
Remember, your staff may suggest, but you assume the ultimate responsibility. At the same time, you must tell your people why their recommendations are not being accepted.
Follow up this meeting with a brainstorming and self-examination session. Ask yourself such questions as:
- What problem areas need your attention?
- How can they be corrected?
- Does the athletic department have an understanding and agreement on goals and does it function smoothly and efficiently?
- Are we communicating properly?
- Do we give athletes personal counseling or are we just concerned with the X's and O's, winning and losing?
Skim over your daily log to ascertain how well you are using your time.
- Are you letting yourself get bogged down with meetings and memos when a simple telephone call or personal contact would suffice?
- Do you eliminate the less important tasks to focus on more important ones?
- Do you delegate some tasks so that you can observe and supervise?