Self-Assessment Can Make You a Better Coach
By Jamie Joy, Little League® Manager of Operations
In Little League, like life, you never stop learning. Assessing your own performance at the end of each season is important to grow as a coach, leader, and mentor. I learned that the hard way. Early in my coaching career, I realized that I didn’t give all the players on my team the same amount of attention, and it nearly drove one player away from the sport. Luckily, he stuck with baseball, though, and I realized that I needed to look back at my coaching performance throughout the season to make sure I never made the same mistake again.
The Positive Coaching Alliance (PCA) offers guidance on self-assessment through its Double-Goal Coach philosophy. It’s important to use PCA’s advice, but don’t stop there. When reflecting on your season and thinking about next year, ask yourself a series of questions:
- What was our record and did that impact my players’ overall experience?
- Did my players improve their understanding of the game, and did that translate into a better experience for them on and off the field?
- If there was not noticeable team improvement, what can be done to better the learning for next season?
- What positions do I need to fill next year, and have I done my homework about what players will fit best on our team?
This offseason, start working on some ways to help you become a more impactful coach. Improving your interpersonal communications skills and understanding of Little League Rules and Regulations are two ways, and here are three more tips to get ready for the 2016 season:
- Attend a coaching clinic. Your district and region will often offer weekend clinics, and soon the Little League University free, online training website, LittleLeagueU.org, will be available for all Little League volunteers.
- Talk with other coaches to see how they run practices and coach games. Working with your peers can help you all grow as coaches, and really improve the overall Little League experience for players, parents, and everyone involved. Taking pieces of wisdom from other coaches or managers, and combining it with your coaching style may help evolve your new coaching philosophy.
- Watch games in your division and older. There are plenty of nuances that come from seeing the game from a different point of view. A lot can be learned from watching and listening.
Some simple self-assessment now can help set you up for a productive off-season and a successful start to 2016.
Jamie Joy has coached and managed in the Little League Baseball® program for 15 years. Prior to joining the Little League International Operations Staff, he was a coach on the Pennsylvania District 12 Big League Baseball team that represented the United States East Region in the 2001 Big League Baseball World Series. In 2003 and 2004, Mr. Joy was again a member of the Pennsylvania District 12 Big League Baseball team’s coaching staff. Both seasons were highlighted by an East Region championship and appearance in the Big League Baseball World Series.