April 19, 2019 • Coaching

Keeping in Touch with Players During the Offseason

{Sponsored} Time off is important after the season is over, but it’s also important to keep in touch with your players in order to improve your player-coach relationships. Here are some tips for how coaches can foster a better next season through offseason communication.

First, make sure to wait at least a few weeks after the season ends to reach out – they’ll need time to unwind. At the start of the season, coaches should have asked players how they prefer coaches reach out — text, email, call, etc. Always use their preferred method of communication.

Simple things like just being available and checking how they’re doing can go a long way, but you can also take this time to recommend offseason training that they might be interested in. While you’re likely asking for feedback at the conclusion of the season, you can also do a secondary request for specific feedback and possibly learn new things that players had time to reflect upon after the season.

Here are some additional ways you can help players individually:

  • For any athletes trying to get recruited, see if you can reach out to recruiters and set up times for them to visit a home game in the upcoming season — or send recruiters footage of your players if they want you to. Talk to your players about their college applications and see how you can help them be successful.
  • If you know a player struggled in a certain subject, check if they could use a tutor and help them connect with one if they’re interested in that option.
  • Create schedules well in advance for things like weight room time and practices then send the scheduled to your players several times over the summer.
  • Support your multi-sport student-athletes by going to their games or meets in other sports and cheering them on.

Having team nights or events to keep players in touch with each other and the coaches is another way to encourage offseason bonding. Connecting over something that isn’t football will foster better relationships and help the team play better as a unit next season.

One suggestion is a team movie night. Using someone’s large back yard, set up a projector and screen a film – football-related or not. Let your players vote on the movie you’ll watch together. Provide popcorn, pizza, veggies and snacks and tell them to just bring a chair or blanket!

Another option is to see if you can have a team lock-in at a fitness facility. Choose one with an open gym and weights, but also offer non-fitness activities for players who are currently in other sports and might need a break. Set up some tables with puzzles and board games to sharpen their brains.

A team fundraiser is another idea. Have the team meet to brainstorm what could be done to raise money, choose leaders to plan and create goals. Be sure the fundraiser involves the entire time and not just the leaders. Work together to meet your own financial goals.

By making communication with your players about more than your one-on-one interactions on the field, players will trust the coaching staff more and be excited to play hard next season.

© 2019 USA Football

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