Your season is over. Part of you is sad, but part of you can now take a deep breath. You can go home a little earlier, hug your wife and kids a little more, and maybe go see a movie during the weekends!
But you should also take some time to reflect on the season, in order to make your program better. Just like you watch film on Saturdays to see how your team played Friday night, now it is time to evaluate how you did leading the troops. Proper season ending evaluation will help your program improve.
Here are 9 questions every head coach should ask himself at the end of the season.
Did I do a good job managing the staff?
In my opinion, this is THE most important part of your job as a head coach during the season. Managing your staff is paramount to success. Was the chemistry of the staff good weeks 1-10? How could you better manage them next year? Take notes now.
Did I go a good job managing the players?
Second to managing your staff is managing the student-athletes. Keeping that team chemistry moving in a positive direction is a challenge. If team chemistry improved throughout the season, you did a great job. If not, why did that happen?
Did we increase the morale of the program this year? Or did it decrease?
Program morale can make a break a season, and thus make or break a few seasons. Obviously, wins cures a whole lot of morale issues and losing magnifies the bad parts of it. If the morale of the program did not increase this year, what do you need to do to get it back now? Morale of the program is not just with the kids and coaches. Include the parents, the administration and the community in this evaluation as well.
Did we overachieve or underachieve this year?
The scoreboard tells a story each week. The win-loss column tells a story of the season. We all want to overachieve. If you underachieved this year, how did that happen? Figure that out now, to fix it this offseason.
Did we stay focused on the overarching goals of our program this year?
Those fancy sayings on those posters and websites, the “Expected Schoolwide Learning Results” guide our day to day actions. Were those goals carried out this year or did they fall by the wayside?
What do we need to focus on during the offseason to make this program better?
This question can usually be answered by addressing the biggest struggle of the season on the field. Was it the passing game? Was it team strength? Was it pass coverage?
Was there any point during the season that I lost the locker room? If so, how did that happen, and what do I need to do in the future to make sure that doesn’t happen again?
This is critical to the future of the program. If you lost the locker room, did you regain the trust of your players? Or is that negative atmosphere still lingering? If you did lose it, why did that happen? Spend time diagnosing this to help you in the future.
What was the major weakness with our coaching staff, and how do I need to fix it?
If your team struggled on the field in one area that seemed to be a major weakness, can it be fixed by coaching? Sometimes a staff has that one coach that needs to be let go in order for the staff to get better.
If married – did my wife feel that I made appropriate and quality time for her this season?
This might be the most important question here coaches! Do not be another coaching divorcee statistic. Have this discussion with your wife. Ask her, and be ready to listen. Do not defend yourself. Just listen. Just asking the question can go a very long way!
Coaches who constantly evaluate their leadership and their program will be constantly moving their program in the right direction. Those who fail to do so will take their teams backwards. Spend time now to evaluate your program with these nine questions. Get others involved to help you grow.
Chris Fore has his Masters degree in Athletic Administration, is a Certified Athletic Administrator and serves as an Adjunct Professor in the M.S. Physical Education – Sports Management program at Azusa Pacific University. He was recently appointed as the President of the California Coaches Association. He runs Eight Laces Consulting where he specializes in helping coaches nationwide in their job search process. Fore was named to the Hudl Top 100 in 2017, and the Top 5 Best High School Football Coaches to follow on Twitter by MaxPreps in 2016. Follow him!