The CEO Wrestling Coach!
There has never been a more important time in the history of amateur wrestling for coaches to have strong CEO skills such as fundraising, marketing, community relations, general leadership and much more. The need for these skills results from the fact that institutional funding for athletics at all levels (elementary, middle school, high school, and even college) continues to become more scarce. Unless the institutional wrestling budgets can be supplemented with outside funding, it will become increasing more challenging to operate “educationally based” scholastic wrestling programs. In fact, we believe the Olympic sports with the brightest future in the educational environment will be those with coaches who are proficient with CEO skills.
When we interview many 30 year veteran coaches in schools across America, they almost always suggest that the overwhelming majority of their time (decades ago) was dedicated to the technical/tactical aspects of coaching decades ago. Today, there are so many more administrative duties for head coaches such as paperwork, safety protocol for concussions and other injuries, parental involvement, and expectations to supplement the institutional provided wrestling budget through booster clubs.
Simply stated, it is unlikely that any head wrestling coach (at all age group levels) has the expertise and/or time to perform every administrative duty while also teaching the technical/tactical aspects of the wrestling. Many of those who try to “do it all” typically end up with very short coaching tenures (i.e. the average tenure of a high school coach today in sports other than football and basketball is only 3-5 years as opposed to 20 years plus decades ago). With this in mind, the key is for the head coach to objectively assess his strengths and then figure out how to surround himself with staff (paid or volunteer) to perform the duties that fall outside of his area of expertise.
To accomplish this goal, it is important that every wrestling event, promotion, and/or initiative is reduced to writing in such a way that the execution can be easily carried out by other staff members or volunteers. In the business world, this document would be referred to as the “Standard Code of Operating Procedure” manual. In the wrestling world, the NWCA refers to the document as the “Coaches Resource Guide” (for elementary, high school, or college coach). This manual includes sample mission/values statements, tried/proven marketing and fundraising initiatives, challenge match policies, safety protocol, guiding principles for budgeting/scheduling, and much more.
Complementing our Coaches Resource Manual is a fantastic web-based “Practice Planner” which includes an entire season of prescribed lesson plans for elementary, middle school, and high school wrestling programs. When combining these two resources, the benefits to the program are as follows:
- The “practice planner” will help head high school wrestling coach in every community create “alignment” with respect to the technique that is being taught at every age group level in his community. This tool will also make it easier to fill lower level coaching vacancies because your “system” is already in place.
- The practice planner is also a great way to insure that when a 35 year veteran coach retires, the program does not lose all of the institutional knowledge (because the coach can leave the practice planner behind as part of his legacy).
- The coaches resource manual will alleviate the need for a young or inexperienced coach to “re-create systems” because everything is laid out so systematically in the manual.
The next few months is a great time to reflect back on your 2015/16 wrestling season and begin the process of planning for next year. It may take a little time to customize the Practice Planner and Coaches Resource Guide for your unique circumstances but once it is all in place, you will save countless hours of planning and implementation in the future.
National Wrestling Coaches Association