Coach's Corner: Tom Radke 2/20

Tom Radke

By Tom Radke Piper Head Coach
Posted: February 20, 2011 - 9:27 AM

“If you can take one thing from each clinic session you participate in that will help your program, it was worth it.”


We’ve all heard this, and it’s true, but how do you do it? How do you make the most of your time, and make sure that you are really focusing on the information that will best serve your team, and your staff?


I will have gone to six clinics and listened to over 20 coaches this off-season alone. The information can be overwhelming, and it’s easy to lose your focus. If you aren’t careful, you can go thinking you’ll focus on player attitudes, and come away changing your defense.


Here are a few helpful hints that I compiled from some experienced coaches about how to best utilize the clinic season: 

  • Honestly evaluate the weaknesses of your team and go to the sessions that will help you fill in the gaps.

  • Learn a new way to teach the same technique. We all know that over time, the old ones get boring to players and coaches.

  • Attend sessions of like-minded coaches.

  • Attend at least one session that justifies what you are doing is good.

  • Pick up all handouts BEFORE the coach actually makes his presentation, then you can take notes on areas of interest to you.

  • DO talk to the presenter if you have more questions, they are there to help you.

  • If you are making major changes on offense or defense attend as many different sessions related to that topic as possible.

  • Attend sessions that focus on the skills present on your current team (big and slow, small and quick, etc). 

  • Know who you are listening to. Stay away from clinic speakers that have all the talent in the world. Anyone can win if they have an abundance of talent.

  • Embrace change, but try to find speakers that share a similar foundation of core beliefs.

  • Leverage breaks to talk to other coaches; you may learn more from these side conversations than you do from any of the offered sessions.

  • Share your ideas with other coaches; someone may be interested in doing something you have already implemented.

We are all in this business to make our athletes better and be the best we can be, so utilize the clinic season to better your program. I’m lucky, during the off season (and in season, for that matter), I pick the brain of my mentor, who happens to be my Dad, Myron Radke. He retired two years ago with over 30 years of coaching experience, and is the best mentor that I could have asked for (Thanks, Dad!).


Tom Radke is the head coach at Piper.