Getting all those involved with your program to believe in you as a strength & conditioning coach is something that gets tougher each day. And it's something good coaches must constantly work on to develop.
Recently I attended the NHSSCA Northeast Regional Clinic and had the privilege to listen to Coach Paul Kolody, the head strength & conditioning coach at Hunterdon Central Regional High School. One of his points is not to get “buy in” but belief in his program. I love that mindset.
"Buying in" is having kids do everything they are asked to do. Believing is doing all that plus whatever else is required to be successful.
Getting your sport coaches, parents, and athletes to believe in you and your program is critical to success for all those involved. In this article, I will talk about 5 tips to build that belief as a coach.
1. Relationship Building
This is what coaching is all about: relationships. Most coaches get that aspect when it comes to dealing with their athletes and usually their sport coaches.
However, this is something totally different when it comes to parents. Building relationships with parents, in my opinion, is crucial to the success of the high school strength coach.
To develop these relationships with parents, I try to be intentional about doing community service projects that involve our parents.
Recently as part of a project we had on campus, I had access to multiple parents who are very influential within our school structure. It has only been beneficial to me to develop those relationships.
2. Publicity and Recognizing Athletes Via Social Media
Now there is good and bad when it comes to social media (I think all rational adults know about this). However, as long as we are adults about our usage of social media outlets, it can be a great tool for the strength & conditioning coach to gain belief.
When I came to Strong Rock I created a Strong Rock Christian Strength & Conditioning Facebook group, initially just for giving information to our kids.
But it has grown. I've added fellow coaches to it for sharing information. I have added photos and videos of our training to highlight my kids' efforts and achievments.
The response I have gotten from coaches, parents, and kids has been awesome.
Another benefit is some of the members of my administration are a part of the group, and the group was mentioned in an end-of-year review for me... they liked the fact I was publicizing the good accomplishments of our kids.
This is something that should go without saying, but many people would be surprised to see the level of disorganization in some programs.
The adage “failure to plan is planning to fail” is too often the case in high school strength & conditioning operations.
When you are properly organized and have a plan, then all those involved can have confidence that there is a process for success. Everyone can be on the same page.
I am one of those people who over-organizes my program in as many ways as possible. The positive thing I have learned from doing this is I am usually prepared for pretty much every issue that arises and can adapt to any circumstance.
Organization is important for the high school strength coach especially during the summer months when vacations, summer leagues, travel ball, and camps all become part of our daily equation.
4. Out of the Weight Room Interaction
I have had the privilege of getting to know Fred Eaves from BGA and this is something I stole from him:
Most of the time as a strength & conditioning coach we are called to get kids to do things they normally would not do and often it’s in the weight room or on the field.
Having the kids you work with see you outside of the weight room without a whistle around your neck barking out orders, sets, and reps goes a long way in gaining belief in you from your kids and parents.
When you as a coach make the special effort to attend a concert, performance, or competition not related to athletics, you are saying you truly care about the person...not just the athlete.
Bottom line is that’s what parents and kids want from the people that help them.
5. Feed Them
Feeding the athletes is something I have tried to do at every school I have been at as a coach. God smiled upon me when he gave me a wife who is an amazing cook, which makes this pretty easy.
When I do this, I make it a big deal with steak, ribs, chicken, fried green tomatoes, tater tots, loaded baked potato casserole, cookies, cake, and ice cream just to name a few things on the menu.
My main reason for doing the meal like this to make the kids feel special. It's something that they want to come back to again.
Funny thing is... when I do this, the parents really appreciate the time put into these meals. Plus the kids come home and usually tell their parents about it. I have gotten quite a few recipe requests from parents after these meals.
Adding coaching staff to this meal is also a terrific way to build a bridge there as well.
Belief > Buy In
These are just a few tips I have used to help create belief from my athletes, parents, and coaches over my career.
Every coach’s situation is different and some of these may be applicable to you or not, but everyone can learn at least one thing or get affirmation that they are doing the right thing.
Just remember: getting people to believe in you and your program is vital to any program's success.