Aug 24, 2017
New Position? No Problem.
Rob Brokaw

Is this next year going to be your first at a new school? The initial months in an unfamiliar job can be challenging, but there are steps you can take to ease the way. Here are my top three do’s and don’ts for your inaugural year.

The Do’s

Work the summer before. If you are able to get in during the summer before your first year, it will pay off big time. Not only will you begin to familiarize the students and coaches with your systems, but you will also begin to build relationships. I know this may be difficult. I went three months without a check, but it has paid off tenfold in getting our program up and running.

Take your time. Work gradually as you are putting in your program and your system. Utilize chunking, an educational strategy that takes information and “chunks” it into bite-sized portions. This will allow the students and your fellow coaches to better understand what you are trying to do. It will also allow you to “test the waters” and ease students into your unique style of training.

Hold everyone accountable. I know this sounds cliché, but this is a huge part of building trust, and like Brett Bartholomew said, trust is basically buy in. If someone does not do a drill/exercise/movement right, go and fix it. Even if you have explained it to them, demonstrated it to them, and told them why a hundred times, if they are not doing it correctly, show them again. Maybe take 101 is the one that will get through to them.

The Do Not’s

Do not worry about numbers. We are coming to the last part of my first year, and I did not start tracking numbers until nine months into training. Like the late great Bill Walsh said, “The score takes care of itself.” You have enough to worry about. Do not let the nuances of data collection bog down your coaching. Focus on getting the kids familiar with your system and coaching and teaching them how to move well.

Do not get caught up in talk. You’re new, and you are going to be doing things a little differently than they were done before, and people are going to be talking about it. Remember that you are going to be the one in the room every day working with these athletes. Keep your intent positive and you will be fine. Everyone else will come around.

Do not lose yourself. In the midst of everything that is going on, remember that they hired you to do the job. They must have thought you had something great to offer to bring you onto the staff. Trust your gut. It is normally right.

Rob Brokaw is the Strength Coach at North Bend (Neb.) Central High School and is the State Director for the NHSCCA as well as the state director for the NSCA.

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