As coaches, it is common for us to think that if we want things done right we need to do it ourselves. I know that’s how I did things when I started. What I learned over the years though is how to delegate some of my tasks, it gave the ability to spend more quality time on things that were important to my players and the success of my team. Even little things like, not going to the plate for the pre game meeting with the umpires. I would instead send the manager and spend time with my team getting them mentally prepared for the game.
Another reason to delegate is that sometimes we have different strengths and abilities than those that are working with us. My assistant coaches for example had their strengths and I tried to allow them to have more leadership over those aspects of the game. Most teams now have a pitching coach who deals with the pitchers and a hitting coach who helps the players to improve their hitting during games. That is delegating.
We have so much to do as coaches that sometimes it is impossible to get everything done. I have heard the saying, “if we could only just get a few more hours in the day” by many coaches. The best way to get some of those hours in the day is to delegate. Give away some of your tasks that are taking time from the things that are more important to your job as a coach rather than an administrator. If there are people you can use outside of softball such as mental trainers if that is not your strength, seek them out to enhance your team.
Knowing When to Delegate
There were always things that I felt I was good at and that I was not willing to give up and delegate to anyone else. There were times though that I was not as good as I thought I was and eventually learned that maybe I didn’t have to do it all. Some things can be much easier to delegate such as the following:
- the calling tree
- team mom
Other game aspects might be more difficult to delegate depending on your training as a coach:
The important consideration in this regard is to make sure that you have people that are on the same page as you when it comes to the technical aspects of these skills. It is important to find out what you are really good at and what you have time for and then use your resources, people to help out. By leaving the professional stuff to the professionals, you will ensure that your athletes improve.
Delegate to Parents
During practices is a good time to involve parents that are available if you are running stations for example. It is very important however that you make sure that the parent is aware that they are facilitating and not teaching. It can be hard for a parent to refrain from giving pointers to the players because maybe they played softball or baseball before. This is not such a bad thing but often the instructions can be different from what you would want your players to learn based on your coaching philosophy and experience.
We can not be everywhere at once during practices and it is great if you can circulate around the field and assist the players with their technical skills while they are involved in the drills.
Delegate to Players
We often do not think of this possibility but there are many reasons to delegate to players. Having them put the equipment away is one of the things that happen with most teams but there are other things that can enable them to feel more a part of the process. What if you delegated a drill per week to the players that will be used in your practice plans. Or you can delegate the task of planning team events to them because they are the best ones to know what types of things they like to do. Simply give them some guidelines such as everyone has to be active or give them some examples that would not be task appropriate.
A good way to begin this process is to ask them what they would like to do as a part of team growth and development. Give them the opportunity to share their thoughts and ideas on how they can contribute to the success of the team. You might be amazed at what they come up with as long as there are no perimeters in their ideas. They may not all be used but they should all be cherished.