One of the final elements during the off-season is the coaching staff retreat.
Try not to get caught up in the word retreat, it’s not likely as luxurious as the connotation. Whereas some may have the budget to find a remote cabin in the mountains; most will embrace a reserved room at their local sports bar. At any altitude, the objective remains the same: come together as an entire staff to collaborate on plans for the upcoming season.
Typical Table Of Contents:
- Discuss Initial Team Meetings
- Establishing Points of Emphasis
- Staff Value, Roles, & Responsibilities
- Evaluate/Update Team Rules & Expectations (e.g. NIL)
- Program Terminology
- Pro-Forma Playbook
- Program Branding & Marketing Initiatives
- Fall Development: Player, Team, Strength/Conditioning, & Academic
- Anything Else Outstanding
Any single one of those talking points could easily take up an entire day to discuss.
(This is why reserving the VIP section at the nearest Buffalo Wild Wings is important, minimizing any distractions.)
The coaching retreat covers as little or as much as the staff needs in order to feel confident that not only are plans in place, but everybody is on the same page for how to succeed moving forward.
This is Steve Kerr detailing summer plans prior to this past season’s NBA Championship run:
“We’ll take a few days to try to really map out what we want to accomplish, how we want to get there, talk about different combinations and things we might want to try in the preseason and really try to establish a template for what we’re trying to do.”Kerr details Warriors’ coaching staff preseason ‘retreat’ – NBCSports (July 19, 2021)
Connect Before The Season
The template is important, but the capacity to adapt shows strong signs of a truly connected staff. If a coaching retreat helps map the destination, then equally as important, is developing trust to handle going off-road.
It depends on how the retreat is structured and the amount of conversation that is necessary to check actionable items off the list. However, it shouldn’t be dismissed the significance of coaching staff chemistry to handle the ebbs and flows of the natural progression of basketball season.
Leave With Something Tangible
Facilitating conversations is great, and sharing stories to strengthen bonds can help mitigate potentially stressful situations in the future. At the end of the retreat, coaches should be able to walk away with something tangible, in addition to the intangible level of confidence going into the season.
This could be a book or some new swag. Walk away with a physical reminder that this is our “What, How, and Why” that had just been discussed. This retreat wasn’t a formality, and damn sure wasn’t for the wings. If the slogan for the season is WTD – Win The Day, then let’s be ready to represent our intentions:
Complete the coaching retreat with a better sense of community with the staff, and confidence that the plan is right for the season.