The high school softball season is coming to a close. Whether it ends in the postseason, with a state title or without a playoff berth, the end of games doesn’t mean the end of work for coaches.
Coaches have plenty of responsibilities to wrap up before turning their attention to the offseason. We talked to a handful of coaches around the country this season. With their help, we’ve come up with a 15-point checklist for coaches to remember when wrapping up the season and beginning preparations for the next one.
1. Hold Individual Player Meetings
Spend some time talking with your players to review the season and plan an offseason program to help them improve. “We try to individualize a program, whether it is skill related, strength or speed,” said Tim Stuewe, coach at Southlake (Texas) Carroll Senior High School. “We are not allowed to work with our athletes outside of school time, therefore (offseason workouts are) up to them.”
2. Set Team Goals for the Offseason and Next Year
In addition to individual meetings, John Chilman has his players at Las Vegas’ Faith Lutheran High School fill out an anonymous evaluation of the coaching staff. “I (also) talk to the players about what they think the team needs to do to get to the next level,” Chilman said. “It helps me hear them out and gives them a voice moving forward.”
3. Collect Uniforms
4. Check Equipment
Practice equipment, balls and bats, pads, nets, etc. — everything needs to be reevaluated to see if it needs to be replaced next year.
5. Place Equipment in Storage
All that equipment then needs to find a home for the offseason. Make sure to clean and organize all your equipment so it’s ready to go the next time you need it.
6. Vote on Team Awards
The GameChanger app can help you easily see your team leaders in many different categories. Here’s your chance to recognize those players that led your team on and off the field.
7. Host a Team Banquet
The team banquet is a great way to get the team together, celebrating the accomplishments of the season and looking forward to the future. You can give out your awards, recognize your seniors and thank your volunteers for all they did this year.
8. Check Athletes' Grades
9. Visit with 8th Grade Players
Make sure your future players know expectations for the coming offseason and season. Help them get ready so they are prepared for tryouts, workouts and the upcoming season.
11.Prepare Game Schedules for Next Year
12.Plan Team Fundraising
These steps will get you ready for next year. These items may not take place until closer to the new season, but getting a head start will make planning this fall easier.
13.Summer Camp Preparation
If you are hosting or working with a camp for younger players, there’s plenty of work to get done: advertising the camp, ordering t-shirts, making a plan for activities and drills, and recruiting volunteers.
14.Update Coaching Certificates
The summer is a great time to make sure all of your coaching certifications are up to date. Most states require some sort of safety training (CPR, first aid, AED, concussions) while specialty classes (such as bus driving certification or heat illness prevention) are available.
15. Identify Professional Development Opportunities
The summer is also a chance for coaches to meet with other coaches and learn new drills, strategies and skills. Coaching clinics hosted by college coaches or through state associations can be helpful for all coaches.