One of my biggest challenges working at the high school level is not having an office or inconsistency in a daily schedule revolving around basketball. At the grassroots level, your organization is predicated on the individual balance of responsibilities. Most coaches are working full-time jobs, whether it be in the building as a teacher or off-campus unrelated to the school. Finding the time to organize your thoughts and plans can be problematic without a permanent office, or a consistent schedule to sit down and accomplish a laundry list of tasks. Here are a few things I look to do to stay on-top-of-things, but in no means is it an exact science or consistently effective:
- Weekend Mornings – I know that this may be your only time to sleep in, but depending on the situation this may be the best time to take advantage of hours of leisure to be productive.
- Multitasking – Cut-up film or writing up practice plans tend to take place on my couch in front of a TV with whatever I may be attempting to follow. Maybe during laundry, try to get a first-impression casual scout. Getting a couple of chapters from that procrastination book you’ve been intending to read while doing a 20-minute cardio workout. Whatever works when it can work helps, sometimes you have to get creative.
- Document & Archive – If I were to encourage you to start a habit of anything it would be saving notes, documents, practice plans, or diagrams. Worked at a Division III program where the head coach was solely responsible for the campus charging for making paper copies. In his office, this individual had binders from the 1980’s when he started coaching as an assistant at the collegiate level to the current year when I was working with him – filled with preseason notes, in-season scouts, and end-of-year evaluations. He was his own coach’s clinic; it was incredible what he could draw from a drill database or system implementation standpoint. Ever since I have kept a binder for each year I have been coaching, as an assistant or head coach.
- Take Advantage of Technology – After telling you to hoard paper notes in binders for organization and growth, don’t be naive that technology doesn’t have its advantages. There are a lot of applications out there that can make a coach’s life a lot easier. *Warning* – there is a lot. Find what works for you, being inundated in too many resources can be just as inefficient as not using anything. Tools that I use most often – FastDraw with FastModel, Synergy, TeamSnap, and Canva. There are a lot more links on the sidebar for other resources to consider.
These are just a few options that have worked for me, but everyone has their own approach. The further in my career the more I find value in ‘less is more.’ It is easy to get lost on YouTube watching drill after drill, or filtering through endless notes from coaching clinics. There is value to the depth of resources, but I never want to get to a point where my philosophy becomes simply an artificial representation of other coaches. As much I respect guys like Brad Stevens or Buzz Williams, they have their own style that fits them. We use the term ‘buy-in’ a lot within our programs. I think the more that our programs are genuine – clear in values, goals, and standards – the more our players buy into how we can help them find success competing on the floor and developing off of it.