The Coaching Hire Conundrum

Christian schools and many smaller schools in general struggle from time to time to find coaches for certain sports. At Christian schools you’re pretty much always going to have someone chomping at the bit to coach varsity volleyball and varsity basketball. But what do athletic directors do when they need a middle school girls soccer coach for the spring and everyone on staff is tapped out? Many ADs begin to look to parents or other volunteers to fill these positions. Recruiting coaches outside of school staff can be a hairy experience. Hopefully today’s post will give you some helpful pointers as you look for the best fit for your program.

Here are five characteristics that, ideally, you’d like to find in your auxiliary personnel.

 

Knowledgeable

You’re probably thinking, “DUH!”

Touche’

Obviously, we’re not breaking new ground here, but it can’t be left out. You need knowledgeable coaches at all levels.

Often your parent/outside coaches are going to be coaching at your lower/introductory levels. This means that they will be the first experience that many of your students will have with athletics at your school.

Nothing will drive people away from your program faster than coaches that don’t know what they’re doing.

Being knowledgeable doesn’t just refer to X’s and O’s. Knowledgeable coaches also understand the relationship aspect of coaching. They also have a proper perspective.

Finding knowledgeable coaches is difficult. So if you find a parent in your program that is a great coach, hold on to them for dear life.

 

Invested

Look for people that are invested into your school.

The type of investment that you’re looking for is a school-wide investment. Every parent is invested in their kids athletic pursuits. However, if you can find someone who is invested whether or not their child is involved, they would more than likely be a great fit.

That’s not to say that people coaching their kids are not 100% invested in your program. We’re just suggesting that some people are truly invested in helping to make your school and athletic department the best place possible.

Recruit those people.

 

Committed to Vision

On the surface being committed and being invested appear to be similar. In actuality they are two different concepts.

The commitment that you’re looking for in an outside coach is that of someone who will be totally committed to your program’s goals for that team.

If your program values development and equal playing time at lower levels, then you need to make sure that outside coaches understand that expectation.

Be careful in recruiting coaches that are looking to do things their way. Nothing wrong with having someone that has different methods and strategy, but you definitely want to make sure they are training their team according to the overall philosophy of the athletic department.

 

Trustworthy

As the AD, this needs to be the biggest concern when finding an outside coach.

The brokenness of our world and the litigiousness of our society make trustworthiness of coaches the highest priority.

Background checks, protective policies, and proper supervision are all musts when vetting the trustworthiness of any coaching hire.

All too often we hear of incidents that, though they were unforeseen and surprising, were probably preventable.

Even people that seem to be above suspicion or beyond reproach need to be cleared through the proper methods for the protection of the school, the athletic department, and most importantly the athletes.

 

Flexible

Many parents would love to coach a team, but their schedules don’t allow it. The difference is some parents know that upfront so they don’t offer their services. Others don’t seem to realize that they can’t be two places at once and overbook themselves.

Unless you want to be caught holding the bag when they can’t make it to a practice or game, make sure that your coaches know going in that coaching requires a certain level of flexibility.

Unfortunately, it seems the practice and game schedules of most Christian schools are in a constant state of flux for various reasons. You need a coach that can handle some curveballs throughout the season.

 

Additional Thoughts

If parents are out the question as coaching options there are two types of people you may want to consider:

Alumni: Having an alumnus coach any of your teams is great PR. It shows investment and community. People like those things. Also, your alumni probably has a good idea of what your athletic department values and seeks to accomplish.

Retired coaches: If you’re looking for a good elementary or junior high coach, look around and see if there are any retired coaches that have “the itch.” Most coaches retire from varsity sports because the time commitment becomes too burdensome. Getting “back at it” a couple days a week for two months and a ten game season might be about their speed. This also is a major plus with parents.

 

So there you have it. Hopefully, these thoughts help you out as you look for people to fill those holes in your athletic department.

Do you have any suggestions to contribute? Are there any situations that have worked for your program in the past?

Jeff is the athletic director at Victory Baptist Academy. He is also the founder and administrator of TheAthleticDirectors.com.

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

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