How to Build a Coaching Support Network
Building a Coaching Support Network is one of the best steps any coach can do in promoting their own knowledge about the sport of basketball. For coaches at all levels a Coaching Support Network can provide some vital input in helping to make significant decisions. Depending on the coach and their level of experience, the identification, selection and communication between the Coaching Support Network will be important points to consider.
As a coach you should be looking to have other coaches who are part of your Coaching Support Network that are a little more knowledgeable than yourself. Having coaches who are less experienced or knowledgeable could potentially hinder your development. Likewise having coaches who are at a significant level within the sport might not be able to relate to some of the issues and the specific content of your questions.
Other professionals who you invite into your Coaching Support Network need to have skills relevant to the type of program activities you can gain access to or implement yourself. For most coaches having specialists such as Strength and Conditioning Coaches or Sports Psychologists as part of your Coaching Support Network are worthwhile placements as many coaches apply these facets of a program either themselves in a limited capacity or on a contracted basis by a professional. However, they might not implement aspects such as nutrition because they do not have the expertise or the resources to do so. For this reason having an individual on your Coaching Support Network who is a nutritionist might not be as worthwhile as someone else with a different skill set.
As you develop as a coach and possibly move into more advanced and comprehensive programs so too will you need to recruit and renew your Coaching Support Network. There should be a review of your Coaching Support Network each twelve to twenty four months to make sure this group is meeting your needs and helping you to operate at an optimum level. For many coaches once you reach a senior level in the community you live within, then a challenge will appear in which you will need to seek people outside you immediate circle of knowledgeable people who are known to you. You will need to seek people you have not met before and possibly ever had contact with. In doing this you will open a wider circle of people to draw upon for your Coaching Support Network and hopefully continue to grow as a coach.
So how do you fine people to take part in your Coaching Support Network? Well here are some avenues:
Local Coaches Get Togethers: These activities are a great way to meet coaches in your local area and sometimes even make acquaintances with coaches who you might rub shoulders with in your community. Each basketball community will have senior and experienced coaches who no longer are very active in coaching circles. If your local Club, Association, School or College does not have these maybe you need to organise one!
Mentors: If you have mentors already bring them together to form the core of your Coaching Support Network. Mentors can be anyone who might offer you something about coaching, a specialised skill, a knowledgeable friend or a person with some significant life experience you could possibly draw upon.
Assistant Coaching: Being a more experienced coach’s Assistant Coach is a great way of making a connection with a senior coach. The great thing about this activity is it affords you the opportunity to gain ‘on the job’ experience while allowing you to develop a connection with the Head Coach hopefully leading to an increased chance of them accepting your offer to be part of your Coaching Support Network.
Conferences/Exhibitions: As an educational opportunity, conferences and exhibitions can be great events of research specific skills and knowledge. Often as a coach you can attend for specific reasons such as the main topics are focused on your current coaching philosophy. But they also provide an opportunity to network with other coaches. Talk to those around you in the audience, before and after the sessions start and even to the lead coaches on the floor.
Forums: Online forums can be a great resource for finding immediate answers or receiving input from a wide audience about your questions. You will soon find from attending these forums which coaches have knowledge you need or that can help you, and those not likely to benefit you as a developing coach. However, don’t be dismissive with this opportunity, forums have the potential to provide a rapid response to your issues and problems and this is often worth its weight in gold.
Social Media: The new world for coaches to network across. Whether it be Twitter, Facebook or LinkedIn to name a few, you can find great opportunities to reach out and find people you otherwise would never possibly meet. You might know of coaches or others who would you would like to talk or meet, social media can provide this bridge for communication.
Just be mindful that not everything is as it appears online. For forums and social media not all experts are created equal and you should use a healthy dose of reality when thinking about the responses you achieve from online sources.
Coaching Support Networks can be a fantastic option for coaches. Those coaches in remote locations can be significantly helped by this strategy. For coaches who need to be challenged and develop their philosophy a Coaching Support Network can help in this process like no other resource can.