CoachingToolbox.net – The Evolving Role of the Basketball Coach
August 20, 2014
Basketball coaches are being asked to do more with less. It used to be that you could focus a majority of your time on your athletes. Now, you are being asked to shoulder more responsibilities such as fundraising, providing year-round training opportunity and recruiting the best athletes to the team. While we focus on the tactics of meeting our increasing responsibilities, we are often better served by zooming out and identifying the strategies that will help us succeed. I have spoken at dozens of coaches conventions and clinics across the country. I always ask my audience, “What do you need to succeed?” The answers I get are always some form of the same responses.
Stronger community support
The key to getting any of these lies in one word: Communication. A coach that communicates with athletes, parents, fans, and alumni well is best prepared to succeed. Here are some powerful steps that you can take to succeed as your role as a basketball coach evolves.
Funding: Budget cuts and economic stress have affected every team. Schools are asking coaches to do more fundraising. Club programs are working with more families that have their own financial constraints which affects participation numbers. While selling cookies or doing other traditional fundraisers will bring money today that will quickly be spent tomorrow, there is a more sustainable approach. I call it fundraising through fan-raising and it’s what every successful college program does. People give money to people, not organizations. They give because of the people in your program. Build relationships and create an emotional connection between your supporters and your people (athletes, coaches, volunteers). Do this and you will find that you will be able to build a sustainable community of donors who support your team because of the people that they are helping. Learn more about this approach to fundraising for your team.
Year-round training: Basketball is no stranger to the phenomenon of the year-round athlete. Between the high school team, AAU and various camps and clinics available to your athletes, you are expected to be “on” 10+ months/year. The fan raising model explained above will help you attract both financial support as well as volunteer support. You need to delegate tasks to your most engaged parents and alumni. If you have established channels of communication through which you regularly tell your story, you will have engaged your community enough to move them to support you. For your team to succeed, and for you to live a balanced life, you must communicate your vision to your community and then lean on them for support.
Recruiting: Kids and parents have choices regarding where and how they spend their time and money. People tend to want to do what others are doing. There is a certain trust that comes with an established program that has lots of fans in the stands, people wearing your shirts, and coverage in the media. This is also true now in social media. If you have an established presence on Facebook, then more kids will be talking about and interacting with your program online. This social proof gives prospective athletes (and their parents) the social proof that they need to make their decision to join you easy.
Now that you understand why communication is the underlying key to developing your program, you must execute. That means answering “how?” Through my own execution, I’ve made tons of mistakes before succeeding and ultimately growing my own club. We have had record participation for the past two years and our fundraising has been stronger during the economic downturn than ever before. We execute as evidenced by our regular (like clockwork) weekly email newsletter and our over 3,000 Facebook likes. We treat our fans like donors and they treat us like a charity.
I’ve compiled these lessons and given you a blueprint on how to execute on your own fan-raising and fundraising strategy for your team.
Take action today!
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