Beyond the Xs and Os: How Do I Get Better as A Coach? UPDATED 8/20/20
Updated: Aug 18, 2020
Finding good information on improving as a coach can be difficult. There's certainly no shortage of advice that one can get from social media. Facebook groups and Twitter are filled with such information.
There is certainly a space for this, but improving as a coach also requires thinking a bit deeper about what it means to lead young athletes as they transition from childhood to adulthood. Here, the insights of people who make a point of studying coaching can be useful.
As a relatively new coach at the high school level, this is something that I have struggled to learn. Fortunately, over time I've begun to discover some really excellent writers, research centers, and podcasts that can help you out.
What follows are two sources that I have found particularly helpful. This list will grow over time. UPDATED 8/20/2020
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[NEW RESOURCE] Positive Coaching Alliance: Founded by a professor at Stanford University, PCA works nationwide to create "a positive, character-building youth sports environment." In addition to offering in-person training for coaches and athletic directors, PCA has online resources, a blog, and a series of books all focused on helping coaches become "Double-Goal Coaches."
[NEW RESOURCE] Rise: Talking about race relations, discrimination, and social justice issues is something every coach must do. It's also something far too many coaches don't feel comfortable doing. Enter RISE, a national nonprofit organization that uses training, resources, and role models to help administrators, coaches, and athletes navigate the important discussions around race.
[NEW RESOURCE] TrueSport: From sportsman to nutrition, and from straight talk about doping and bullying, TrueSport puts resources in the hands of coaches, administrators, and athletes to help them be successful both one and off the field.
[NEW RESOURCE} We Coach: Unfortunately, many youths experience trauma in their lives. We Coach helps coaches and athletic organizations know how to help children and young adults adversely affected by trauma. Begin by downloading the organization's white paper, "Why Trauma-informed Sport Is Vital." We coach also assists organizations and coaches to get young women more involved in sports.
Changing the Game Blog: Authored by John O'Sullivan, founder of Changing the Game Project, this blog takes an honest look at the challenges coaches face daily - from parents who expect too much, to administrators who don't always understand the challenges you face. Recent articles include a look at how being a coach who raises a competitive team is not at odds with being a coach who creates a supportive environment that allows for fun and player development, what volunteer coaches could learn from volunteer firefighters, and how coaches' words change lives. Another feature of this blog is the deep dive into coaching books that O'Sullivan does for his readers. If you don't have time to read the titles, O'Sullivan will give you the highlights and help you find the ones you most want or need to read.
Tucker Center Talks: Based out of the University of Minnesota, the Tucker Center is a research organization focused on women in sports. It's podcast series offers insights into research on the state of women in sports, as well as provides practical advice for women coaches. Examples include this show with Matea Wasend, who discusses the impact female coaches have on helping female athletes move into coaching. The results are really quite startling.