One of the consistent things about coaching transitions is the shift of team dynamics. The timeline length may shift, but the phases are always the same.
Players and Coaches Transition Through:
- Honeymoon Phase
- Reality Check
- Come to Jesus (Buy-In or Quit)
- Leaders Stepping Up
- Moving Forward
This process is one that needs to happen in order for each new head coach to develop the team culture to fit the philosophy they were hired to implement. And the reality is, the quicker a team moves through the first three phases the better off it is for the whole program.
At the high school level, a lot of this process is influenced by an athlete’s parents. It’s become very apparent that a parent has the power to encourage a team to a deadlock if they choose to allow their past experiences influence their child’s present opportunities. So it’s time for a gut check. It’s time to figure out if your team is in a deadlock.
How to Know Your Team is Deadlocked:
- Do your conversations begin with “We’ve always done it this way”?
- Do you bring up what the previous coach said/did as a rationale for why your child shouldn’t have to comply with the new coach’s requests?
- Do you think or say “we will see” when someone says something positive about the new coaches?
- Do you discuss the reasons why quitting is ok and include it’s new, it’s hard, or it’s different in the list?
- Do you openly discuss the ways you think the new coach is handling things poorly?
- Are you frustrated because you assumed things would change to look a certain way and it’s not happening?
If you can answer yes to one of these questions then parents, you need you understand you are contributing to a team deadlock. Further, you are hindering your child’s opportunities for future recruitment every time you keep your child living in the past instead of embracing the present. The best thing you can do for your child is to do your part to help break the deadlock.
How do you Break a Deadlock?
- Understand someone has to make the first move.
- Give the coaching staff a chance.
- Buy in 100% and leave judgment behind.
- Leave the past in the past.
- Stop your child’s negative talk and help them see the bigger picture.
Change is rarely something that people embrace. Especially in situations where a coach leaves that parents and athletes loved it can be hard to move forward. But life is constantly changing and a sign of an excellent athlete includes the ability to excel under any coach.
You Need to Make the First Move
If you are waiting for your new coach to prove they want to coach your child’s team you’ve missed the point. When your coach accepted the job they committed to their livelihood being determined in part by your child’s athletic performance. They are already committed.
Now it’s your turn.
Break the Deadlock
- Join the booster club
- Bite your tongue when negative words bubble to the surface
- Above all, encourage your child to embrace the change and buy in.