Two Keys to Building a Program

By Greg White

A year ago, I took a new job at a new school. This was different from any other job. The school would open for the first time in August of 2016. This was building from the ground up. All coaches talk about building a program but this situation was truly “Building a Program.” I encountered things you would not consider and somethings are just the same. In the end, “Keeping the Main Thing the Main Thing” is most important. Here are the two keys that I feel are the most important to consider when reviewing your season and your program.


Did you plan for success? That is a rhetorical question. We all plan for success. Here is the main question: When you talk about success, what do you consider success?  If you did not win a championship, was your season a failure? Success has to be defined for each individual season. For us, this season, success was a little different. People expected us to “just try hard.”

We had no seniors, and only two players with minimal varsity experience. We ended up 12-16 and qualified for the state tournament in the largest classification in Arkansas. We exceeded everyone’s expectations except of our staff.

Did you plan for failure? This is an important part of coaching. To truly be prepared you have to plan to fail because let us face it: One team wins the State Title, the rest of us usually end with a loss. Planning to fail lessens the times we fail. Know WHY you fail. Then know how to stop it.


I have learned a lot about patience this season. Not only in my professional life but also my personal life. We live in a “Google Society.” You can get the answer to anything you want just by asking. Success is not like that. It takes time. Sure, some coaches and teams win immediately but that goes back to your definition about success. To me, success is based on longevity.

As much as we try to separate the two, as a coach your profession invades your personal life. When we struggle at work, it creeps into and can control your personal life as well. You have to learn to be patient with yourself. You do not have to change your destination; just give yourself more time to get there.

I have already began planning for next season, just as most of you have. I am working on the patience part. We are looking at our future as we make decisions. How can we make sure the underclassmen are prepared to step in when this class graduates? The key for me is this: Patient Planning Produces Purpose.

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