Finding Success With Your End-of-Season Meeting

Coaches Inc. is a proud partner of the Alliance of Women Coaches.

Finding Success With Your End-of-Season Meeting

By Garry Rosenfield, Coaches Inc.
On Twitter: @GarryCI

It’s easy to put a plan together in the summer that fully incorporates everything you need to do for your career and your program over the next calendar year. It’s entirely different when it comes down to sticking to it, remaining disciplined, and making sure that you remain thorough in all your responsibilities.

When I talk to coaches in March, things are typically busy. Extremely busy. I get that; as whether it’s coaching a game, recruiting a student-athlete, hiring a new staff member, or even finding job – there’s almost never any “down” time any more. Being so busy makes time pass quickly, and it also results in coaches not preparing for one of the most important parts of their career:  the season-ending evaluation.

As we turn into a new month, it’s essential that all coaches take the time to recognize the importance of their upcoming evaluation. Most importantly – while it is often seen as an unpleasant meeting, coaches can turn their evaluation into a valuable tool for their current job and career as a whole.

(Note: the points discussed are crucial for any coach in any sports/season, not just those whose seasons end in the spring.)

First things first: take notes. Make sure you enter the room with something you’ll use to write all that is discussed. While this might sound trivial, there’s no doubt that in the midst of discussion, brainstorming, and possible negative reviews, it can seem like a whirlwind of a meeting. Taking notes and writing down what’s discussed allow you to more fully remember what was talked about, and revisit the meeting after the fact.

The most common error coaches make in the end of the year review comes before anything is even said. Too many don’t prepare as they should. This is an opportunity that goes beyond simply hearing from your sports administrator/athletics director whether or not they are pleased with the program. It’s an opportunity for you to identify what worked (and what didn’t), where the program needs help, what the expectations are moving forward, and address issues either pressing or looming. Additionally, it’s great to gain answers to questions you have, and to build trust with your administration through discussion of the program. I’ve always felt that the best way to avoid finding yourself in tough situations is to have buy-in and trust from your administration, and the season review is an important opportunity.

It’s important to always address your current employment status and contract situation. Is your administration happy with you as coach? As an assistant – is your head coach happy with the work you’re doing? Asking this directly (if needed, and not brought up in the meeting) is important, and allows you the chance to read body language as well. In particular – if you’re coming off a good performance and there are changes you’d like to see in your current setup, there’s no better time to discuss.

You’ll also need to address expectations with your administration, and this can be done in two ways. You can bring up the expectations yourself, and be proactive about it. For example, if the program struggled through the season, don’t hesitate to make sure it’s clear you recognize and expect better in the seasons to come. The same goes for if it was a solid season – make sure your administrator knows you’re pleased, and explain some of the key reasons why you were able to do what you did. However, if you’re not sure how the department views the job you did, it’s okay to wait for them to tell you their feelings. Either way, this conversation must be had, because it’s critical to make sure that you’re all on the same page (either way).

Your end of the season evaluation is also the best time to discuss particular student athletes (S-A) and issues you might be facing. I’m always a proponent of facing S-A issues head-on by addressing them quickly and not allowing things to fester. This meeting is a great opportunity to make sure all parties involved with the program are caught up on where the roster stands, changes you foresee ahead, and planning any other changes you’d like to make. Discuss with your administration their feelings on roster changes, and whether or not there’s anything you should know.

Finally, plan for the offseason in your meeting. Let you administration know what the upcoming schedule will look like in terms of recruiting, staff changes, and various other tasks that will need to be accomplished. TDiscuss how you can help the athletic department overall; whether there are appearances you can make or alumni/donors to visit with. Being a team player and collaborating with the department will make your job easier. It’s important to put a plan together for your self as well, accumulating all tasks and responsibilities, and jotting down notes to remember as the days fly by.