Many adult volunteers start their Little League® “careers” as coaches. It’s a great way to get a feel for what is required to serve Little Leaguers® in a way that develops character, baseball and softball skills, and a life-long devotion to sports and fitness.
“If you are considering the move, it’s probably because you find the activities rewarding, want to increase your impact on youth, contribute more to your community, and take on the challenge of doing that all, as well as possible, in the highest leadership position on a team.”
Of course, we hope many volunteer coaches also fall in love with Little League enough to make the next step up and manage a team. Here are some points to consider as you decide to take that next step.
Can I devote the extra time to managing?
Moving from coach to manager, you will spend more time on your Little League activities than you did before. If you are considering the move, it’s probably because you find the activities rewarding, want to increase your impact on youth, contribute more to your community, and take on the challenge of doing that all, as well as possible, in the highest leadership position on a team. Good for you. Just recognize that it will take extra time, so make sure your employment and family situations are supportive.
Am I willing and able to handle the extra responsibility that managing entails?
Managers are more likely than coaches to: fill out line-up cards, address parents’ concerns, serve as the first stopping point for any players who want to learn more or have an issue that needs to be discussed with an adult, interact with the league’s Board of Directors, take responsibility for paperwork, participate in division and league meetings, plan practices, and make strategy decisions.
That partial list is a lot of additional responsibility, and not everyone is up to it. You can be a strategic genius, who has trouble getting parents on board with the team culture. You can be a whiz at paperwork, but not a great teacher of skills. But as a manager, more than as a coach, the buck stops with you on all those fronts. Perhaps most important of all, your peers, players, parents, and spectators will look to you as the person responsible for how your players carry themselves, how well they perform, and whether they are having fun and learning. Communications is key and using a team website or app, like those available through the DICK’S Team Sports HQ, can be a great tool for managers throughout the season.
Can I delegate? Or learn to?
Between the added time and the added responsibility, you will need to delegate. You may be tempted to try to do it all yourself so that the experience for you, the other coaches, players, and their parents comes off just the way you hope. But that won’t happen without some degree of delegation.
Don’t be afraid to ask for help, and be honest with yourself and your coaches about who is best equipped to handle what. Keep in mind, what your manager used to ask of you when you were a coach, and bring learnings from that experience to your new role as manager.
Three keys to overall success in the transition are asking a lot of questions of others who made the leap from coach to manager, staying patient with yourself, and keeping paramount your commitment to offering the children in your charge a quality experience of learning their sport and life lessons.
Additional free resources from PCA are available at www.devzone.positivecoach.org/.
Submitted by David Jacobson, Positive Coaching Alliance