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Tips and Resources to Help Better Become a Varsity Coach - by Sarah Daren

From the Coach’s Clipboard Basketball Playbook
"Helping coaches coach better..."
Sarah Daren is a featured writer on the Today Show website and has been a consultant for organizations across a number of industries including athletics, health and wellness, technology and education. When she's not caring for her children or watching the New York Yankees play, Sarah enjoys practicing yoga and reading a good book on the beach.

Sarah Daren
Sarah Daren

Coaching may be one of the more fulfilling jobs that someone can spend their time doing. For those people who dedicated themselves to such a pursuit, there are plenty of benefits, for individuals and communities, that can bless the lives of those involved in sports. No matter if coaching is done as volunteer work or in a professional context, there are many different ways in which a coach can learn and develop themselves or the program for the benefit of the team and its participants. While simply volunteering one's time for a child sports team can be enjoyable, the level of pride and accomplishment that can be derived from working as a varsity coach is something that not many people can say they have attained.

At the same time, however, becoming someone who can stand out and adequately perform as varsity coach material takes more than just having played sports when younger. Years of dedication, hard work, extra practices, and plenty of travel usually goes into developing a coach who is qualified enough to effectively lead a varsity-level sports team.

For anyone who has considered taking the leap into a more intense position of responsibility, no matter the age group or sports type, there are plenty of ways to go about preparing oneself to enter the role of varsity sports coach. Ironically, the competition to become a varsity coach can also be intense. Here are some tips for becoming a better varsity coach.

varsity coach

Shifting Perspectives: Going from Playing to Coaching

Coaching is different from playing. Just because someone has played on a sports team before does not make them the most qualified candidate for the oft-coveted varsity team. The people who are on the sports team have proven themselves to be the cream of the crop, and thus will be looking to further themselves and their abilities not only for the teams' sake but for their own personal goals.

A varsity coach has done the groundwork over the course of their own lives by having previously dedicated themselves to a level of excellence and hard work that caused them to stand out in the first place, but while that may have been from the playing side, shifting perspectives to coaching becomes necessary.

Gaining More Experience

Above all other requirements and means by which someone might become a better varsity coach is also perhaps the simplest: Gain more experience. It involves more than understanding which drills to run, or how to point out flaws in performance, it takes emotional maturity, a keen eye, and diligence of study.

Emotional maturity will be needed to understand when and how to relate to people, determining if they need to be pushed, or encouraged; a keen eye will help to spot and hone in on what aspects of individual players need work or how that talent can support the team as a whole, while being diligent in studying other teams, past films, or learning from other seasoned coaching professionals will enhance the knowledge base needed to push innovation and performance capabilities. All of this comes from gaining more experience in whatever way becomes available.

Earn the Right Certifications

Think about pursuing coaching credentials. Doing so will cause people to stand out as a qualified varsity coach. There are organizations like the National Federation of State High School Associations (NFHS) which offer coaching education and might even have some remote learning programs for anyone looking to further themselves.

Articles by Sarah Daren