Things I’ve Learned: Coaching Year 1

With the conclusion of Track season, States at Shippensburg this weekend, I’ve officially completed my first year at Great Valley High School. I can’t thank Coach Dan Ellis, Football, and Coach Nicole Jones, Track and Field enough for the opportunity to be brought on. With Spring mini-camp about to start, I’m giving you a list of things I learned in my first Year.
Set the Expectations, but be Flexible.
Many of the athletes knew quickly the type of coach I would be. I demanded a lot of them and I expected them to push themselves on the field or in the weightroom. But that doesn’t mean I was set in my ways. There were days we deviated from the gameplan or the workout and it was because you have to work with the athletes you have. It’s not about me – it’s about them.
Celebrate the Small Victories.
For me this pertained primarily to T/F seasons. It’s not just if you have a young athlete set a personal best by 3 seconds in the 100M or by two extra feet in the triple jump, but if you have a kid who doesn’t foul all their jump attempts or finally breaks through starting height in the pole vault celebrate those achievements with them.
Compete Every Day. Win The Day.
Whether they are the All-American/Division I player or the new kid to the sport. Competition allows them to get the best out of themselves, even in practice. They’ve all heard the cliche, you play the way you practice. I make sure the kids know, if your expectation and my expectation is to win this game or get first place at the next invitational, then you have to practice like you’re going to win.
Connection and Honesty with Athletes, fosters Development
Athletes know when you’re honest with them. They can tell if you really care about them or if you’re just there to collect a paycheck or just to move your coaching career forward. Whether it’s engaging with them because they broke off a route too early, made the wrong read against the defensive coverage, or how they can improve their sprint form or a little change in the hitch of their jump approach – engaging with them in a meaningful way is more important than saying run faster or run that again. Take the time to break down the technique, it means more when you engage with them.

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