November/December 2020 - 6

A.D.MINISTRATION athle tic dire ctor strate g ie s
a guide to building better
By Dr. David Hoch, retired CMAA
While coaches should prepare their teams to win
games, it is essential to remind them that the number one
objective in education-based athletics is the growth and
development of student-athletes. And this fundamental
point does not strictly or narrowly refer to sport-specific
skills. The intent is much larger and more important.
The ultimate goal is to help young people become good,
contributing individuals in the community and society as
a whole, and someone who gained valuable qualities and
traits through involvement in athletics.
Perhaps you have heard the expression that athletic
administrators are, or should be, the coach of coaches.
With this in mind, you should clearly explain your
expectations of coaches with respect to developing good,
effective working relationships with their athletes. It
should be crystal clear that coaches will not be evaluated
by wins or lack thereof. Evaluations will always be
based upon how they relate to and help their athletes to
reach their potential. Also, you should include in your
discussions what qualities and traits you value and which
you deem are necessary to succeed within your program.
The following are some ideas and hints to help you
to guide your coaches in order to create these vital
relationships with their athletes.
* Identify what qualities and traits you want your
coaches to possess. While each school setting
may be slightly different and unique, many athletic
administrators probably want someone who is
supportive, nurturing, encouraging, positive, caring,
and more concerned about the development of studentathletes
than their own personal goals and ambitions.
* Create interview questions that will reveal and
provide insight into the important qualities which you
desire in your coaches. Developing a good relationship
with athletes starts at this very point by hiring the right
person. This means identifying an individual who is a
good fit for your education-based program and will help
your student-athletes to grow and develop.
* Take your role of helping coaches to develop good,
positive, and effective relationships with athletes
seriously because it is vital. As covered in the National
Interscholastic Athletic Administrators Association's
Leadership Training Course 504, providing training
for coaches is one of the 14 legal duties of an athletic
director. And training includes mentoring, which is
another way saying 'guiding.' As the coach of coaches,
you need to establish and clearly communicate your
* Start each school year and season with a staff
meeting. While you probably will have an extensive
agenda, providing your expectations for how coaches
should develop working relationships with their
athletes should be one of the focal points and covered
thoroughly. Never assume that your staff understands
these details even if they have heard the message
before. This point, like all others, has to be covered
annually in order to provide a method for
* Reiterate and remind your coaches of your
expectations. Most individuals forget something at
some point and benefit from a well-timed and intended
reminder. Since you are in charge, it is your
responsibility to keep your coaches doing what
is necessary to provide the best environment for
your student-athletes. A good medium and vehicle to
accomplish this task is to use a carefully-worded email.
* Understand that there is another reason why
reminders are vitally important. Yes, some individuals
may forget as just mentioned. But also, the original
message may have been missed or misunderstood. One
should never assume that everyone initially assimilated
and processed your expectations. Periodic reminders
may fill-in the communication gaps and help make sure
that most of your staff are on the same page.
* Use links to send articles that feature positive
examples of coaches interacting with student-athletes.
If need be, you can also photocopy and distribute
helpful information and materials. But regardless of
your method of delivery, these documents can subtly
support your basic message.
* Highlight and reinforce positive incidents with
your coaches when they encourage, support, or help an
athlete. This endeavor can be as simple as a quick,
casual comment. " Hey, great job encouraging your

November/December 2020

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