With another exciting Little League® season behind us, the off-season can provide time for coaches to reflect, evaluate, and plan for the upcoming season. While players look to hone their skills during the off-season, coaches should also look for ways they can improve their craft.

When evaluating yourself as a coach, it should start with your coaching philosophy. Do you have a clear philosophy, did you share it with your players and team parents, and did you hold yourself accountable to your philosophy?

Regardless of what happened last season, the offseason is a great opportunity to evaluate your philosophy and incorporate actions you’ll take in practices and games to ensure that philosophy rings true all season long.

Here are a few anecdotes to consider when developing your own coaching philosophy:

  • Sports are supposed to be fun. We’re going to have fun.
  • I expect everyone to positively cheer on his or her teammates throughout the season.
  • Our sportsmanship will be exemplary. We will make sure we show respect for the rules, our opponents, the umpires, our teammates and our selves.
  • I want every player on the team to strive for some type of improvement. We will focus on where each player comes in on Day 1, and make sure that on the last day of the season there was growth.
  • I expect your best effort on every play. We’ll focus on effort and energy, which will lead to the results we want to see.
  • Mastering skills and understanding the game are what we will work on this year. Winning will take care of itself as skills, sportsmanship, and teamwork improve.

These are just a few ideas that can be incorporated into your coaching philosophy. As you fine-tune your philosophy during the offseason, think about how it will fit into the overall culture you want to create on your team. Culture can be defined as “the way we do things here.” Think about what you want your team to be known for. Are those characteristics included in your coach philosophy and in turn, your team culture?

When you’ve determined your coach philosophy, make sure you write it down and be ready to share with your players and parents at your first team gathering. Setting expectations from the start gets the season off to a great start for all those involved.

Submitted by Jason Sacks, Positive Coaching Alliance