Hiring coaches and office managers are one of the most critical tasks to ensure a successful business. Depending on your structure, recruiting may look a bit different. Most organizations compensate coaches, but some rely on volunteers. Regardless of how you’re set up, here are some tips on hiring and onboarding your coaches.
Build your coaching checklist
Sit down and put together all of the requirements needed for your coaches. Do they need specialized coaching clinics, certifications, background checks, waiver forms, etc.? Do you have particular experiences required? Make a list; you’ll be referencing it plenty later.
*Note: be sure to check with your national governing body if you aren’t familiar with their requirements.
Build a dedicated webpage
Recruiting coaches will be different based on your requirements. Recruiting is pretty straightforward if you’re a recreational club that has only in-house teams with volunteer parent coaches. However, if you need to go out and get coaches, it can be a little more complicated. Either way put together a web page that lists all the steps and requirements needed to coach.
Set up your screening and education resources
You may be directed by your national governing body (NGB) to use a particular screening service or training program like SafeSport. They may have it set up for you already. If you need guidance or need to set up your own, do your research. (Hint: SportsEngine Motion partners directly with NCSI. It is used by dozens of NGBs and Abuse Prevention Systems and is considered the gold standard when it comes to safety.)
When you have this all organized, you’re going to need to set up a registration process for coaches to go through, so they can provide their information, complete forms, and initiate background screenings and training programs.
Promote your coaching search
It can be argued that the Social Feed on the SportsEngine Motion platform being able to post directly to Google and other social media outlets is the most valuable feature that is often underutilized. If you don’t advertise that you are looking to hire talent, nobody will even know to apply. So get the word out to your accounts and the world that you are looking for new staff.
Create custom filtered groups
Saving filtered member lists is another highly valuable feature that’s often overlooked. Still, it’s a slick tool that allows you to save members based on specific criteria into a single list, allowing you to communicate with your staff more effectively. Here’s how I recommend creating them.
Selecting Your Coaches
Going through your coaches’ applications is not much different than going through an athlete registration for your upcoming season. Assuming you had the potential coach candidates fill out all of the information you requested, you’ll see who has registered, the programs they are interested in coaching, and what certifications they have completed. Before moving on, make sure you have enough coaches to appropriately cover all of your classes, and if you have gaps, resume the search to engage more coaches. For-profit and non-profit organizations may have different requirements for their coaching staff. Many utilize paid staff hired on a part or full-time basis. Many others may use volunteer parents to coach, or work the desk, in which case, an email to the youth athletes’ parents may really help you bridge the gap in your staffing needs.
Ensure Coaches are Compliant
Your coaches’ registration sessions will do a great job collecting documents and information from coaches on their certification status (training, education, seminars, etc.). NGB’s may have other portals for you to visit to confirm this information. Since you’ll be the one on the hook to find someone else if your staff aren’t compliant, be sure to communicate early and often with coaches what they need to complete to be eligible to coach.
As a general rule, try to complete your coaches roster at least 30 days before your deadlines. There are inevitably going to be some who you’ll need to follow up with to complete their documentation. Additionally, if anyone is disqualified, you’ll need additional time to find a replacement.
Abuse Prevention Training for Everyone?
Athlete safety is one of the most important conversations we all should have in youth sports. However, it's not just coaches who could bring harm to athletes. Unfortunately, abuse can surface in many ways - from other athletes and even parents. It’s becoming more common for parents to go through abuse prevention training as a condition of their kids participating in programs. This additional training makes sense for a couple of reasons: first, most abuse prevention training helps educate us all on recognizing signs of abuse so we can be vigilant in protecting kids. Additionally, hazing and emotional abuse are sometimes simply brushed off as “part of sports” or “encouragement.” Having parents recognize this behavior allows them to either step in and create teachable moments with their kids. It also may help them recognize when some of their own behavior crosses the line.
It’s all about safety
The most important thing we can do is create a safe environment for young athletes to strive. For most, athletics provides structure. B on a team is a fun part of growing up. It allows athletes to make new friends, all while learning life lessons on empathy, compassion, and respect. If you follow the process outlined above, you’ll be well equipped to have a respectable staff that are skilled but also understand the key fundamentals of the advantage of participating in youth sports.