One of the hardest things I’ve had to do as a coach is go to a new team, especially when the staff is already established. I thought I would write a quick post on some tips that might help you out.
Tip 1: Be Yourself
This applies to everything, but especially with high school aged kids (and junior high and college really). They will see right through you if you aren’t yourself. Don’t try to be something your not. It’s okay to work on improving something (aka, cussing less, yelling less), but don’t forget who you are.
Tip 2: Constructively Listen to the Staff
The new coaching staff knows your new team the best if they’ve been there before. They have insight into the kids. I would say it’s good to listen to them and accept any coaching they have in regards to the players. However, make you own opini
ons too. If a kid get’s discouraged, you might have the coaching style or background that most connects with him, while other coaches may already assume he’s uncoachable or something like that.
Just be smart about it. Don’t assume the coach is right or wrong, but any feedback is worthwhile.
Tip 3: Get to know the Players
I’ve never met a player who genuinely dislikes a coach getting to know them. Some may be harder to get to know than others, because of their social likes or dislikes, but it’s worth while to make the attempt. If they push back, take your time. It might not happen this season, or ever really, but try to get to know the kids. Most will appreciate the effort you put in, as long as you don’t push on sensitive areas or their own personal boundraries.
Overall, as a new coach on an established team, it will take a bit to become fully comfortable. Comfortable is a two way street as well, sometimes it’s you with your team and other times it’s your team with you. Don’t take anything for granted, be respectful, and be honest with the players, the staff, and most importantly yourself, and you’ll be fine.