Coach's Corner: Tom Radke 11/18

Tom Radke

By Tom Radke Head Coach Piper High School
Posted: November 18, 2010 - 6:02 PM

As the season winds down for many teams around the metro (congratulations and good luck to all of you who are still playing) I think it is time to look at a question that haunts many coaches after every season, was the season a success?


When I started coaching, I was fortunate to land my first assistant job coaching for Rick Byers at St. Pius X, who had just won a state championship. We went on to win two more titles and a runner-up in the five years I spent at Pius. For me, at the time, the only way to measure a successful season was to win a state championship.


Unfortunately, as I am finding out, that kind of success does not come around very often, and at the end of the day only one team can win a state championship in each class. So, does that mean that every team that does not win a state championship is a failure? Of course not, but right after the season sometimes it feels like that.


Of course every coach, player and parent at the start of the season wants to, and works to be a state champion. But, as coaches what are we really in this business to do? We want to make a real difference in the lives of young men. We want to make them better men. We want to take young men and make them into the best and brightest that they can be. This isn’t measured in state titles, but in the way lives were touched over the course of the season.


Here are a few questions that you need to ask yourself in determining if you had a successful season.


Did you help make better men? Did you get to make a significant difference in the life of at least one of your players? In the end this is what it is all about.


Did you get the most out of your team? Sometimes the most satisfying seasons are the ones where you exceed expectations with less talented players.


Did you come away with very few injuries, and no major injuries? As a coach one of the worst feelings is seeing one of your “boys” injured on the field, but watching a team respond after injuries to key players can be rewarding.


Did you work as hard as you could have? Did you sacrifice too much time away from the family? For coaches this is always a fine line. We get obsessed with being the best, and preparing more than the other guy, but we have to remember, like we preach to our players, family comes first.


Is your administration happy with how you are leading your program, not wins and losses, but how you are leading your coaches and players? Some of the best feedback I receive relates to how my players handle themselves off the field. To me, that means they are taking what we teach them on the field, and have learned to apply that in real life.


Were the parents happy with the season? How many parents emailed to say they thought things went well and felt communication was good.


Did you enjoy yourself? Was it fun? Above all else, if at the end of the season you can’t look back and say, “That was fun”, no matter the record, the season probably was not a success.


I don’t have all the answers, but ask yourself as a coach, as a player, or as a parent, did you have fun? After all it is just a game….right?


Every season is a success in one way or another, so be proud of your teams and their accomplishments, and remember, the next season is only nine months away.