The basketball season is long and grueling. Once practices and games begin, the days and nights can blend together. In order to lead and mentor their teams, coaches often sacrifice things like time with family, friends, themselves, not to mention sleep and exercise. Having a proper work/life balance is important to the health of coaches, and to ensure a lasting career without experiencing burnout. Here are five ways to save time and be more efficient.
If you are like me, you like to do everything yourself and make sure it’s done exactly how it is supposed to be. Fighting this feeling is important for you, and your program. Being able to effectively delegate work is a valued quality many great coaches and leaders possess. It is important to share work with your assistant coaches not only to save you time, but to help their growth and development as well. If you are doing everything yourself, it becomes much harder for your staff to improve their coaching skills. Also, coaches have many responsibilities beyond actually coaching: tournaments operations, fundraisers, concession stand, and much more. Being able to delegate some of these responsibilities to parents, alumni, youth directors or any other trusted person will save you countless hours and days, along with some headaches.
We have all been to meetings that continue to drag on and on, and many never address what actually needed to be discussed in the first place. As coaches, we often like to catch up with our coworkers, discussing things that happened in our lives and the sports world. These discussions can run on and can take away time from meetings. It is the job of the head coach or meeting organizer to make sure attendees are locked in. Set a time limit for the meeting to ensure it stays on task – there is only so much time to cover the necessary topics. I suggests adopting micro-meetings that last somewhere between 10-15 minutes. You will be surprised by how much you can cover in a little time when focused. Have a list of topics to be covered in the meeting to keep organized.
The rise of technology has helped each of us become more efficient in all aspects of our lives. Software programs for coaches has greatly helped with saving time. FastDraw and FastScout are great for play diagramming and scouting reports, respectively, and help keep your work organized and efficient both in season and throughout the offseason. Hudl, Krossover and Synergy have really changed film watching and statistics for all levels. An app like Assistant Coach can help manage your teams, practice plans and more and an app like TeamSnap helps with overall communication. Take advantage of the technology available to you to help on efficiency. I know some can be pricey but talk to your athletic department, booster clubs or fundraise to help make your life easier.
Going the other way on this one than what you may expect… Many people, coaches included, like to think they are great multitaskers and can do numerous things all at once. In reality, multitasking is difficult and often results in spending more time on tasks, or at least lowering the quality of each task in favor of the quantity. The life of a coach is busy – trying to squeeze in time to watch film, make practice plans, prepare scouting reports and much more can be difficult, which is why it’s tempting for coaches to perform multiple tasks at the same time. Trust that a more focused approach to completing one task at a time will ultimately improve efficiency and productivity.
Say NO – It’s OK!
This can be a difficult one to do because most coaches want to give their time and energy to help others out. Coaches are often asked to help out with many different events, tournaments, meetings, fundraisers and more. It can become overwhelming for some coaches, not to mention detrimental to their actual job which is running their team. Many coaches feel put pressure on themselves, or feel it from outside influences, to be involved in every single activity going on at the school/in the community. However, coaches must allow themselves to say no if it truly doesn’t serve them or their team related to the time commitment.
Hopefully these tips help coaches at all levels save time, get more sleep, and have a better work/life balance. Coaching is what you do, not who you are!
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