School is out and summer break is here. While summer is a great opportunity to step back, relax, and recharge; it is also a great time for coaches to hone their craft. This week we will discuss five things coaches must do during the summer months.
First, coaches must build relationships with their players. The summer months provide a great opportunity for coaches to get to know each player. Coaches need to let their guards down and be more relaxed around the team. We should take the time to really talk to each player and get to know him or her on and off the court. Formal meetings are not necessary, but before and after summer workouts and games provide a great opportunity to do so. Coaches need to show the players that they care about them individually, and that they are not out for themselves. Strong relationships are built when coaches are able to show their sense of humor and their true personality to the players.
Secondly, coaches must build trust. This is easier said than done. One of the best ways to develop trust is to provide frequent and honest communication. Players value your feedback and if they get it regularly they will trust you more. Another key is to have the big picture in mind. In the summer I am constantly talking about the process in becoming a better player and a better team. We don’t talk about or focus on winning summer games. By constantly focusing on the big picture, my players and I are able to develop a trust in one another that really helps when the games matter during the season. As a coach, if you focus on helping each player to get better they will trust you. Players trust those who invest in them on and off the court.
A third area of focus should be placed on skill development. Summer is the time to work on player weaknesses. The main goal of a summer program should be to improve each player’s skill level and sport IQ. Coaches must teach the skills necessary to compete at a high level during the summer. One can’t master all the skills, so it’s best to pick three areas of improvement for each player to focus on. Summer time is not about winning games. Players should have more workouts than games played. Here’s a link to a previous article I wrote on open gyms.
A fourth thing coaches should do is go away to a team camp. I highly recommend that coaches take their teams out-of-town to a team camp. Doing so will provide a great team bonding experience. Some of my favorite memories as a player and a coach have come from attending out-of-town camps. This is perfect setting to make memories, play different competition, build relationships, build trust, and take home great stories and inside jokes. This experience will not only bring your players together but it will help create a bond between the coach and players.
Lastly, coaches should put in their systems. Use the summer to teach your offensive and defensive systems that you plan on using during the upcoming season. The summer provides a perfect time to evaluate whether or not the systems mesh with the personnel. Coaches should evaluate how well the schemes match the player personnel, along with which players play the best together. By the end of the summer coaches should find out what changes need to be made by the beginning of the season.
Coaches, what are some other essential summer coaching musts that you have?
As always, thanks for reading, have a great week, and be and RGP today!