Retain Your Most Effective Coaches

An athletic director might run a school’s athletic program, but the coaches make it stand out. Your coaches work with student athletes constantly, and it’s not an easy job. Coaching can have a high turnover rate because of the demands of the position. An enthusiastic young coach might leave the program to teach extra courses or make major life changes. Attracting talented leaders is an important part of helping your program reach its potential, but so is encouraging them to stick around. Here are some tips to help you do that.
Ask the Right Questions When Hiring
When you’re interviewing coaching candidates, try to figure out what their goals are. Are the applicants using coaching to add a line to their résumés, or do they want to support their communities and teams? What are their educational philosophies? Where do they see themselves and their teams in five years? Hire someone who is ambitious and invested in making the program better.
Establish a Good Working Relationship
Coaches need to know they can come to their athletic director with problems, so make relationships strong from the very beginning. Have frequent, informal meetings with individual coaches to check in, and know they have a support system in you. Make these weekly meetings at a time that’s convenient for both of you; ask questions, offer praise and suggestions, talk through problems or struggles, and listen. An informal meeting makes the relationship more personal, and a bond encourages a coach to stick with the program.
Avoid Micromanaging
Support your coaches, but don’t constantly look over their shoulders. If they feel micromanaged, they’ll think you don’t trust them. Find the right balance. Understand and respect that coaches are doing the best jobs they can, and do what you can to make sure they are respected. As long as the coach is running a program that fits with the framework of the athletic department, he or she can manage the team how they choose – even if it’s not the way you would do it.
Help With Work
As an athletic director, you have the resources your coaches need to succeed. Make sure those resources are available. Give advice when asked, listen when they want to talk, and make changes to help achieve your program’s vision. You do a lot of work, but coaches also are trying to teach classes. Use some of your time to make tasks such as scheduling, training and paperwork a little easier for them.
No Pressure
Winning is great, but it’s not everything. Student athletes get involved in athletic programs because they love the game, and coaches love it, too. Don’t make it seem like winning is the top priority, or that coaches will get fired if their teams don’t win games. Focusing on other parts of athletic programs, such as education, character building and teamwork, are more important to your program’s culture than championship trophies.
Appreciation
Coaches are more likely to stick around if they feel respected and valued. Find ways to make sure they feel appreciated. Create an appreciation program that offers rewards and public recognition, or consider creating discretionary items unique to coaches. While quality coaches aren’t in it for the attention, it helps when their athletic director recognizes their efforts.
Take Care of Your Coaches With ArbiterSports
Athletic directors have hard jobs with a lot of moving parts, and keeping coaches happy is part of doing the job well. ArbiterSports can help athletic directors stay organized, which is great for athletic programs and everyone involved with them. Whether it’s tools to make paydays or scheduling easier, or referee training, ArbiterSports has something that can help you succeed. For more information on the tools, training and resources ArbiterSports can offer athletic directors and game officials, call 800.576.2799 or email sales@arbitersports.com.
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