Notice: This article was written by Steve Jordan, Coach's Notebook. Email the author at firstname.lastname@example.org.
As a head coach, please understand one thing above all others: the head coach job is a management position.
You have far more people to direct than the youth on your team roster. Your at-large team includes the kids, their parents, your coaching staff, the team managers and even the administrative staff of the organization that makes your league possible. You need to build a strong, positive rapport with all of these individuals to be successful. If you can gain the support of your entire at-large team, you can hardly go wrong. If you leave any one of these team elements out of your coaching equation, however, that segment will work against you, perhaps to the demise of your program.
A very common mistake for a new head coach is to delve into teaching the new offense right away. Worse, as new coaches may be unfamiliar with the range of duties expected of them, they may hide from their broader responsibilities by focusing solely on their players' performance hoping that alone will gain them recognition as a "good coach". It doesn't work that way. You have people to manage. Tend to the business first, the game second.
To manage a program, you need a vision that you can share with everyone involved. Then you need to win their support in making that vision a reality. As long as your vision is for the betterment of the kids, its not that hard to win people to your cause. Failing to define a vision, or thinking that your job is to merely to win games, is a sure way to foster dissatisfaction among your team members. Please see a related article, Building a Program, on this site for more information on that topic.
Your parents can contribute. Don't forget to sincerely recognize them for the work they do. Help them identify with the team and each other. T shirts, jackets, caps ... anything at all to build a feeling of unity. Once it gets started, don't micromanage it. Give your team a vision and let them realize it using their energy, creativity and resourcefulness. While the parents are busy doing all the work, then go have a great time coaching your kids.
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