Coach's Corner: Tom Radke 10/14
By Tom Radke Piper Head Coach
Proper communication with parents and athletes will alleviate most of the common problems we encounter as coaches. As a coaching staff we feel that communication with parents and athletes is a core component of a successful program.
We have implemented several communication tools to help parents, Piper administration, and youth coaches stay engaged and aware of the activities occurring related to the football program.
I send out a weekly email to all involved with the program (parents, administrators, etc.) to let them know what is scheduled for the upcoming week. I feel this alleviates a lot of the stress because there are very few surprises. I also send out calendar reminders and an update on what the players have been up to during the past week.
I have a Parents News Conference on each Monday after practice. This gives the parents an opportunity to ask questions about decisions made in the previous game, as well as to ask about the upcoming opponent. The intention is to open up communication between parents and coaches, so if there is frustration, we can identify it and work to alleviate it where possible. Individual playing time is not a topic of discussion during these conferences.
In addition to the traditional communication tools, we also host several special events in an effort to engage the parents and Piper community, and help them to understand the Piper football program.
We host both a men’s and women’s football night, separately, during the summer. We go over the basics of our offense and defense. They can ask anything they want to about our program. We also invite the youth coaches to the clinic. They have adopted our terminology and most of our offense and defense, which pays off in the long run.
During women’s night, they have the opportunity to try on the pads, and we walk through a scouting report. We like to keep the moms involved as much as possible, as we all know if Momma’s happy, everyone’s happy.
We are also starting to use the social media and web tools that are popular now. We have a football website, where parents can get any documentation that they may have missed at a parent meeting.
Many coaches have started to use Facebook and Twitter accounts to keep parents in the loop. This is also a great way to get information to parents and athletes quickly. Regardless of the tool, the most important thing is just that the right information is getting to the right people at the right time. If everyone is informed of the expectations and upcoming activities, a lot of potential problems can be avoided.
In addition to overall team communications, we take direct communication with the individual athletes about performance very seriously. They should always know where they stand on the team and with you as a coach.
We keep weekly logs of how each athlete is progressing and post our depth chart every day. Competition is very important to every successful football team, and our kids know that the depth could change every day.
If you move someone down on the depth chart you need to explain why you made that move, and what they can work on to get back to where they want to be. We always talk to the player privately before announcing the change to the team, so that it’s never a surprise. We have found that often times these changes motivate the players to work harder, to fight for their spot. In the end, they become better football players, and, we hope, better people.
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