The Coach’s Roundtable is where we sit down as coaches, once a month to share ideas and discuss a variety of topics. A chalk-talk with beverages. A barbershop of sorts, where each of us slowly start to pay less on haircuts.
Each month we put together an agenda. For March it became about the off-season, as all of us have found ourselves watching nets cut from spectators row. Take a look at the agenda below & the reflections that were mentioned.
- Season in Review: What did you learn from the season?
- What trends did you take from this season? Staying ahead of the curve
- Exit Meetings – What kind of questions to ask? How do you organize the meetings? Individually or online? How do you follow-up with individuals based on answers? Seniors vs underclassmen?
- Off-Season Planning – What are some of the steps you have taken in the past? What are you intending to do this off-season? What have the results been? What are you expecting from this summer?
Open Discussion (Saturday of #ChampWeek – conversation started to bounce)
Saying we had a rough season is an understatement. Following a strong postseason run from last year to being out of contention midway through the season was a challenge. In review:
1. What did I learn from this season?
Leadership and losing not being mutually exclusive. During a difficult season, the inclination is to mix things up. If the theory goes, “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it,” then we were in the shop after the fourth game of the season. And that was the problem. There is a dichotomy of thinking when you are winning and losing. However, there can be complacency in both. It takes a balance of staying true to identity allowing natural growth of the team over the course of the season and making subtle adjustments that will keep you on that same path. Nonetheless, as a coach you learn the value of consistency, whether winning or losing.
Leadership is always an interesting topic – see my take on Qualifying Captains. How as coaches do we develop effective leaders? A sustainable culture of success is a reflection of the transfer of leadership within the program/organization. Let’s take the San Antonio Spurs for an example, consider the David Robinson era to the Tim Duncan era. Admittedly, we aren’t in a position fortunate enough to draft the likes of either of these professionals. But, the point being is the continuity in leadership facilitates the strength of program standards.
2. What trends did you take from this season? Gaining an edge
This conversation tended to revolve around the officiating. We won’t go too far in depth on this conversation, other than we all found our way on the opposite end of the officials’ roundtable at some point this season. Related to the officiating was the trend of the physicality during games, especially if there was a disparity in size between the teams. Other trends that were noted were in the prevalence of zone defense, especially following out of bounds situations.
3. Exit Meetings
These can differ based on job at the high school level. If you work in the building, there is a convenience to being able to have exit meetings on site. As oppose to coaches that work outside of the building finding an opportunity to getting individuals to schedule time to meet, or creating a virtual exit meeting through online forms or Google Docs.
I have had the opportunity to be a part of both. The generation of student-athlete today seem far more comfortable expressing themselves with an online medium. However, the ability to interact face-to-face has clear advantages with being able to establish more context within Q & A’s.
Here is an evaluation/reflection form that has been used in the past:
4. Off-Season Planning
Again, this will differ between levels based off availability or accessibility to players. In the state of Massachusetts we are in the unfortunate situation where coaches can have zero access to there plays for development unless you get creative. There is a 50% rule that nobody seems to certain on regarding number of prospective players in the gym and who can actually coach them. So, the best approach is finding the most optimal way to simply getting the players in the gym. In the past, I have provided off-season packets for anyone interested in participating in our Summer Leagues. These packets will consist of a nutritional guide, strength and conditioning options (with images of instructions, since we can’t be there to supervise), agility workouts, and skill development drills based on position.
This year my approach is to simply, get in the gym. I want to create as many open gym opportunities for anyone to participate. The attempt is to create more chemistry with returners, organically enable communication lines to open up, and hopefully create a more competitive environment. My thought process is that the more that they are in the gym the more shots they will get up on the side and the more interaction they have with prospective teammates.