Coaching college, high school, or junior team play is one of the hardest things to do. For one thing the players for the most part, are not polished players. They have huge issues with their game but of course they are juniors or college inexperienced players so of course they do! The second thing is the coaching, or lack of. Technique, movement, etc are out the window and the name of the game is win baby win. I routinely see sore elbows, shoulders, blown up knees, and so on because technique is not taught nor understood. I feel vindicated because the way I am teaching racquetball works best for safety and results. My kids who have done the work are all improving.
In my experience coaching College teams (West Point and ASU), Junior National teams, and the Adult USA, Mexico, and Ireland teams all had different challenges to overcome. Luckily in every case I had great athletes and people to work with. The subtle things it takes to lead a team are often overlooked by administrators and rookie coaches. It is not just coaching racquetball, but putting out a team that competes and represents our country in the proper way. Not easy!
Here are a few mistakes I see people make.
1. In (National Coaching-I assume the college coaches or high school coaches know the athletes)
Not knowing your players. Solution: 1/2 hour minimum meetings with players and or teams with coaches.
2. Too many meetings. Solution: Daily newsletter for the team’s eyes only. In it you can get to many different issues etc and limit the team meetings to 2 or 3. I liked before competition, one during and one before the finals day.
3. Assuming the team knows all the rules. Each tournament there is a Coach’s meeting and new rules, referee changes in enforcement, etc. are gone over. In addition there are local issues or cultural happenings that may be communicated. Solution: Go over the rules that are broken the most before competition. Breaking curfew, alcohol consumption, bullying, etc are things that can break a team and diminish performance. Try to be proactive rather than reactive. One more thing about rules–as Head Coach I always tried to think ahead to what could go wrong. Where was that athlete(s) who might break rules inadvertently or overtly! I would do one of my “step into my office” routines with that athlete to attempt to avoid incidents.
There are other issues of course but I see these as the big three.