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Attracting student managers. (A.D.ministration).

GOOD TEAMS DO not come along by accident. They are usually the product of good athletes, quality coaching, and the recruitment of good student managers.

Offhand, you'd think that the managers would be the simplest part of the equation. The truth is that it's often difficult to fill these positions. The potential prospects have a lot of other options to choose from, and the position no longer has the appeal it used to have.

That places a burden on the coach. Where does he find the kind of kids who can lighten up the load as the season progresses, whom he can count upon to:

1. Collect the information needed for eligibility forms.

2. Keep attendance lists.

3. Record the uniforms issued to athletes.

4. Monitor the daily practice schedule and cue the coach whenever it becomes necessary to move to the next drill.

5. Take the game statistics and record them into a computer program.

6. Prepare a roster sheet for distribution to the media and other schools.

While you couldn't consider this list as all-inclusive, name a coach who wouldn't appreciate this kind of help.

How do you go about attracting student managers?

1. Refer to your team managers as "student administrative assistants" - and mean it. Let the team know that the student managers are not there to serve them, that they are assistants to the coaching staff.

2. Think about what you ask your managers to do. It should be more than just the drudgery. Sure, you can ask them to deliver the water during time-outs, but you should make them feel that a task doesn't have to be glamorous to be important.

3. Give your managers specific duties for every practice session and contest-a written list of what has to be done. Detail your expectations of them and create job descriptions as well.

4. Allow the managers, if you have more than one, to create their own weekly schedules. Make sure you always have someone present to take care of the daily tasks, and understand that you will be able to get more out of them by making sure to keep the schedules flexible.

5. When you honor the seniors at their last home game, make sure that the ceremony includes the managers. Introduce their parents as well. Make a few comments and present them with flowers, just as you probably do with the players.

6. List the managers in your seasonal, tournament, and banquet programs and include them in the team photos.

7. Award T-shirts, sweatshirts or team jackets to the team managers - make them look like an integral part of the team.

8. Invite your student-managers to team parties, banquets, award programs, and any other function designed to boost the team chemistry.

9. Outstanding kids who were cut from the team often make good student assistants. Don't let them drop out of sight. Try to involve them in the sport they love.

10. These kinds of kids - squad cuts - can come in handy with various drills. For example, a kid to make the initial pass in a drill. Make them feel important, that they are contributing something valuable to the practice session and success of the team.

While student managers may not produce more wins, good ones can make the difference between an ordinary season and an enjoyable and easier one for the coach. It is worth the effort to seek them out and retain them.
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Author:Dr. Hoch, David
Publication:Coach and Athletic Director
Date:Feb 1, 2003
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