June is here but fall and winter are coming. What happens in June, July, and August will greatly influence how your season goes. Success doesn’t look the same for every team, and that’s okay. However, if you, as the leader of your program, can implement these five offseason components you will reach the level of success you’re capable of.
By now there has been time for separation from last season’s end. As the weather gets warmer it can get easier to forget about the goals set for when it gets cold. Now is the time to have purposeful workouts and intent behind everything you do. Here are five ways to win your summer season:
Encourage and Uplift. Summer is not the time to yell, scream, and overreact. Come to think of it, it’s never the time to do that. However, summer is the time to be overly encouraging and uplifting. Shout praise every single day. You should offer encouragement seven times more than correction. Make sure everyone is giving high fives and fist bumps often throughout each workout. As the coach and leader you must model this. Make a point to slap hands with each player at least once during the workout. Find time before, during, or after to say something positive and uplifting to each player. Summer is the time where you want to build momentum for your season. By encouraging and uplifting your players on a daily basis you will create the right culture to achieve the goals which have been set.
Develop relationships. Relationships are the key to success. Summer offers the perfect environment for developing bonds between teammates and coaches. There is a tremendous amount of available time to do this: before, during, and after workouts;before and summer league games, and attending a team camp. During these times talk should not solely focus on your sport. Conversations should include life, family, siblings, music, movies, and social media. By simply being together as a team there will be many opportunities to laugh together and build bonds.
As a coach you have to get on same level as your players. You have to learn to how to communicate with them. While it’s absolutely necessary to verbally communicate with each player on a regular basis, you must also communicate with them through social media. Does your team have it’s own twitter and snapchat feed? If not, it’s time to create one.
Create an atmosphere of trust. One of the most important things you can do to earn your players’ trust is to listen them. By looking them in the eye and truly listening to what they are saying, you are communicating your level of care for them. Another way to establishing trust is to only teach what you know. There is so much out there which can be overwhelming at times. You don’t have to teach and know it all. However, if you try to implement something you’re not comfortable with or cannot clearly explain; you will lose trust.
Another key is to let your guard down. At times we think we should be only voices our players hear. The key is to find the voices who speak the same message as you. When you do, share their words, wisdom, and content with your players on social media. The more voices they see and hear speaking the same message as you, the better. It will further help create trust and buy-in.
Have a plan and then adjust. No one cares who wins summer league or 7-on-7 games. If you do, your goals are misguided. Summer is all about creating a basic plan for your season’s offense and defense. Now is the time to evaluate your systems and personnel. What do your kids do well? What will work for you? What should you scrap?
Summer is about creating players; not plays. What would you rather have at the end of the game, good players or good plays? The highest percentage of time spent in the offseason should be on fundamental skill work. Keep your offensive and defensive philosophies simple, and allow your players to play. Once summer is over, you’ll have a good idea of what will work for you during the season.
Team Build. A great idea for all programs is to have an incentive program. We are calling ours, “The Champions Challenge Cup.” What we do is choose five leaders and give them a team to lead. Over the summer we create a point system and at the end our of summer we award the winning team. Teams earn points through attendance, workouts completed, shots taken and made, team challenges, scavenger hunt, obstacle course, and various other challenges. This is a great way to find out who has natural leadership ability, as well as creating enthusiasm for the upcoming season. It’s hard to get up early in the mornings for workouts on summer break, so we’ve created a program to help motivate and provide incentive. The kids are excited about it, and our coaching staff is committed to making a fun, exciting, and rewarding experience for all. We feel it will create positive momentum and energy heading into our season.
What are some tips, methods, training techniques that your program uses? What have you found valuable in the past? What have you eliminated?
We’d love to hear your thoughts!
As always, thanks for reading, have a great week, and be an RGP today!
Coach Elmendorf is available to speak to your team, group, or organization. Message him for details.