By TJ Buchanan | @usltjbuchanan
In addition to my responsibilities as the coaching education content manager at US Lacrosse, I’m also a volunteer assistant for the Gettysburg men’s lacrosse team. A few weeks after our season ended in the conference semifinals, my colleagues here in the office asked, “What are you going to do now that the season is over?”
You never consider that question until someone asks it. It would be nice to take a vacation, spend time with my family or even mow the lawn, I thought. Coaches should take time after the season ends to tune back into the world outside of lacrosse, decompress and remember the people who sacrifice so you can chase your dreams.
But since I’m surrounded by lacrosse nearly 24 hours a day, I couldn’t keep my mind from drifting back to the season. Here are three ways you can treat your postseason blues.
I won’t set out to write a novel, but I will take a long, hard look at what I did this past season and how that affected our team. I will ask the hard question, “How did I fail our players?”
At Gettysburg, we’re expected to compete for conference and national championships, and since we did not accomplish either this year, I need to analyze what I did or did not do that led to not reaching Memorial Day weekend.
- Did I watch too much film, making the guys think too much about their opponents rather than focusing on what they do well? Or did I not watch enough film to prepare them?
- Was I too complacent in planning? Did I incorporate the right drills for us to peak at the right time?
- Did I overuse certain players and wear them out before we really needed them?
I don’t have the answers yet, but I want to be a better coach for our players next year. This is the start.
I save every practice plan from the season. If I look at stats and see where we did well or underperformed, and then review how I prepared my players the previous week, trends may emerge. It may influence when, what and how I will coach at certain times next season.
I also need to plan for how I will develop incoming freshmen and how to replace an outstanding senior leader.
Know what you don’t know. If you think you know everything, then you’re destined to fail. Some other coach is out there learning a new technique he will use against you.
This summer, I will research more, watch more film, observe great players, learn as much as I can about certain skills, and then apply those findings to my team. As painful as it will be, I will watch film of us losing and pinpoint the cause of failure. I will find our weaknesses and commit to improving them. I will find our strengths and commit to making them stronger.
For some coaches, the season never really ends. It’s a cycle of preparation, activation and reflection. If you’re spending your offseason on the golf course, you may want to consider if your coaching is up to par.
TJ Buchanan is the coaching education content manager at US Lacrosse. How are you spending your offseason? Let us know in the comments section.
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