Your Take: Win The Offseason: Organization Mattersby: Raymonn Adams
© More from this issue
Organization isn’t the sexiest topic to talk about, but if you’re serious about improving as a coach, it takes more than how-to videos and watching game tape. Reviewing your notes and processes can help save time and energy, while also allowing you to tackle your goals of molding your athletes into better players and people.
Being disorganized can mean the difference between winning and losing. Even the smartest coaches need to be reminded of old plays and schemes that could help them, for example, beat a 3-4 defense.
Here’s the good news: how well you organize in the offseason affects your wins and losses during the season, so start winning now. As coaches, we are competitors in every way. So why are so many of us risking our most valuable assets in a box that is in a storage shed or on the basement floor? No matter how big your budget or staff is, getting organized is a constant battle that we must overcome to be at the top of our game.
Here are seven tips that can help you get organized and win the offseason.
Review your material.
Dust off your storage box and go through some of your old drills, playbooks, schemes, practice plans and more. Assessing your past techniques can help you prepare for the upcoming season. Maybe there is a more efficient way to plan your practices. Or you can find five plays that you can recycle into your current playbook. This memory jog can give you some creativity. Plus, your material can be useful to other members of your staff.
Categorize and archive old files.
If you’re going to take the time to go through your old drills and plays, at least organize them so that you can more easily find what you’re looking for next time. There are plenty of ways to tag and archive, especially with the web-based software available to coaches. Separate your drills, plays, practice plans and clinic notes by uploading each to your computer (and then to the Cloud) with the appropriate file name.
Write down your thoughts.
For a lot of coaches, a majority of their drills and plays are inside their head. This is where they keep concepts, practice plans, new ideas and more. There have been many occasions where I wish that I could remember a concept that I created, or a play from 10 years ago. My advice is to write things down. As I get older, it gets a bit tougher to remember everything that I worked on with in the past. In the long run, getting organized includes prioritizing your mind for a new season.
Organization is quicker with a team.
Organizing years of drills, plays, files and more can seem like a steep task, but it doesn’t have to be. Talk with your coaching colleagues to see how they organize their material. If you’re part of a collaborative coaching staff, making sure that everyone is using the same format for your practice plans is critical.
Technology will make your life easier.
During the organizational process, try to adopt new technology so that you are more comfortable using it during the season. Finding a software that leverages secure cloud storage, the ability to collaborate and share with your peers and monitor your coaching success will ultimately allow you to be more successful.
Collaborate to gain inspiration.
Don’t be afraid to reach out to your peers to figure out what drills they’re using in practice. If their offense gains more yards per carry than yours or their line is blocking better than yours, that’s an opportunity to figure out what they’re doing that you’re not. The worst that can happen is that the coach would say no to sharing drills, but who wouldn’t share a drill with a fellow coach? When coaches collaborate in the offseason, the coaching fraternity gains strength. Sharing new ideas and concepts with your colleagues will help you take on the challenges that the 2014 season brings.
Obviously, the last thing that any coach would want is for their coaching material to get ruined or stolen. Keep your materials safe, especially if you’re going through all of the work to get organized. Keeping a box in a basement or storage shed might seem secure, but I almost lost my material to a flooded basement a couple of years ago. A cloud-based solution is great to eliminate the risk of a leaky basement.
What the great coaches are doing now, more than ever, is taking advantage of the offseason to refresh their minds with their old material to get better. In between spring ball and summer camp, you have a big opportunity to start organizing your coaching material, metrics, stats and more.
About the Author: Raymonn Adams is the founder and CEO of Lockr [getlockr.com], a practice planning coaching software. Before that, he was a running back in the NFL, CFL and NFL Europe, as well as a running backs coach and special teams coordinator for 7 years.