Wednesday, January 28, 2009

I want to be a coach, but how?

I, personally, have had great opportunities to coach Ultimate and basketball over my years in these sports. My next endeavour, which is undecided as yet, will hopefully be my greatest effort into the coaching ranks, but who knows. I've made some comments on becoming a coach or player in this post, but today I'm going to focus on a strategy to becoming a coach.

The simplest route to coaching is to volunteer to an open position. These positions, if they exist in the first place, are good starting points, but tend to deal with learning Ultimate. If you're interested in this, these positions will exist in many forms. Also, if you want to get into high-level Ultimate coaching without taking on teaching jobs, then please tell on how you achieve this. I believe that the "teaching Ultimate" road is the main road into Ultimate coaching.

Next, if you're goal is to build and coach a team that plays at a more competitive level, then you'll need to find a position in which year to year there exists a stable team. This, likely, means high school, college, or club teams are the target. To get a coaching position for these targets, is not plain and simple. There are advertised positions on RSD that pop up from time to time, but these are far (spatially and temporally) and few.

High school coaching tends to be the domain of the high school teacher. Even if you find and build some form of program, school politics can result in you losing the coaching position. I would recommend targeting college or club positions, but even these positions will be hard to maintain. Also, as I've argued before, club positions remain a strange beast in the world of Ultimate. This means a college coaching position should be your first target.

Walking into a college Ultimate program that doesn't have a coach and becoming the head coach for the team is not a likely proposition. Instead, a slow approach is probably the best option. If the college team has a B team (C, D, and E also work), then as a starting point volunteer to coach one of these teams to develop newer players. This approach over a few years and if you're a good coach will give the rapport with players and experience to move into coaching stronger teams and developing a program that you've always dreamed of.

If the Ultimate team is small and doesn't have additional developmental teams, then volunteer to be a team manager that also provides developmental sessions for beginning players. These might be clinics for new players to attend.

Your dream program, in any case, will take years to establish. Team culture evolves slowly, but this is the advantage of working with newer players. These players over the years will become the leaders, and leaders in many cases define team culture for a college Ultimate team. Keen new players are your most important allies in developing a program and becoming a coach.

This, of course, is my imagined plan - September/August being the starting date.