Fall 2014 Blog – Post # 15
Nov 30 Banquet
The time has come to wrap up this Fall 2014 blog series. The final topic I’d like to comment on is the “banquet”. I am confident that many of you have your own traditions related to a season ending banquet. You might be a high school coach where the local booster clubs have a major role in pulling this event together. For college coaches, your sport may be combined with other seasonal teams in a banquet setting, or you may organize one just for your team. Regardless of the format, the banquet represents a significant moment in time. For graduating seniors, this is their final event, and often the emotions are evident. I believe that whatever time we commit to making this a special event for players, assistant coaches, and parents is time well spent.
I guess I am a bit of a visionary. I tend to look out ahead and then work my way back. In my week two blog, I talked about selecting a team, and promoted the idea that players who accept their selection need to commit all the way to the banquet. In other words, be a finisher. I am big on a lot of things, and one of them is the idea of finishing strong. Closure is important. You don’t need my help with any details of what you do with your banquet, but I can share that I loved that ours focused on our seniors. We made them the centerpiece of this event.
The power of the peer is often in full display at banquets. Hearing seniors talk about their experiences is……..priceless! I also enjoyed and looked forward to sharing some special words of thanks to players, coaches, staff members, administrators and to my family. Typically as I was wrapping up the program, I would say something like this to all the returning players – “Next season begins tomorrow. You do need to take a break, and you need some rest, but now is the time to turn your mind towards what is ahead”.
This leads me to a final point, and one that I am guessing you are not expecting. I want to wrap up with a thought about non-seniors who will choose not to move forward with the team. If you ask me, the best and most appropriate day for this to happen is the day after the banquet. If you think about that, it really makes sense. We talk about all the life lessons that sport involvement provides, right? Well….. In life, we make changes. We change jobs. We move on to new locations. Hopefully, we are able to make these changes smoothly. How about the athlete who has had enough? Don’t get me wrong – I am not encouraging this for players – certainly not for a scholarship athlete. Those athletes made a four year decision. They have entered into a contract of sorts, and I would hope they would keep their end of that. My comments here are directed towards non-scholarship athletes.
I think it is wise for coaches to give some thought to a variety of endings you are likely to experience with members of your team. Sometimes we end things for them by not selecting them the following season. From time to time, a player gets to a place where they just want to stop, or they may have other competing priorities that need more of their time and attention. All I can say is that if a returning player is not going to continue on with the team, the sooner the coach knows that the better. The closer the timing of that decision to the end of the previous season, the healthier that will be for the group. These changes can cause some turmoil, and your leadership (and wisdom) will be needed to keep the team moving ahead. Just some food for thought.
Speaking of food – with Thanksgiving now in the rear view mirror, so too is the Fall season for most coaches. Hard for me to imagine that you have not been challenged, disappointed, elated and mystified somewhere along the line during this most recent season. Isn’t coaching great? Well, kudos to you for all the effort you put into it. Keep an eye on my web page for the next blog series. In the meantime, I’m thinking of doing 25 tweets of Christmas starting tomorrow – December 1st. My summer camp 2015 brochure will also be available then. Thanks for reading and for sending comments.