Use NFHS National Coaches Week to Recognize Your Staff
By Dr. David Hoch, CMAA on May 17, 2019
Showing appreciation for your coaches is a vital step in the ongoing effort to retain these valuable men and women in your athletic program. Beyond salary increases and bonuses, the corporate world has known and successfully used this technique for a number of years. It is also one that athletic administrators should employ.
While you may not realize it, the National Federation of State High School Associations (NFHS) sponsors an entire week that would be a perfect time and vehicle to recognize your coaches.
As a part of National High School Activities Month in October, the third week of the month is designated as National Coaches/ Sponsors/Advisors and Officials Week. In the upcoming school year, this special week will be celebrated October 14-18, 2019.
The following are a few quick, simple things that you can do during this week and they will produce very positive results.
- On Monday, prepare and submit a daily announcement to be read during homeroom or whenever this is normally done in your setting. It should read: “This week is National Coaches Week. As an athlete, did you thank your coach for all that he or she has done for you? Today would be a good day to do just that!” This statement doesn’t mean that every athlete will approach his or her coach and say anything, but many will. And this simple act, by a few student-athletes, will have a very powerful and meaningful impact.
- On Tuesday or Wednesday, it’s time for another daily announcement. This one is primarily directed to the teachers and administrators in the building, although students will also hear it and may express their thoughts. “There are two levels of NFHS national coaching certification – Accredited Interscholastic Coach and Certified Interscholastic Coach. Did you know that the following coaches (list them) have earned their AIC? In addition, there were a few coaches (include their names) who earned their CIC. This is a great mark of professionalism. Please congratulate them!” Many teachers and administrators may not know much about a particular sport or what a coach actually does. However, they all understand and appreciate the concept of professional certification. This announcement may cause many to view your coaching staff in a slightly different light and perhaps with a little more respect.
- For Thursday, make arrangements with your booster club, and this needs to be done several days prior to the National Coaches Week, to supply coffee and donuts for your coaching staff. This can be set up in the cafeteria, the faculty lunchroom or a faculty lounge. For non-teacher coaches who cannot make it to school early in the morning before classes begin, the booster club can purchase $5-$10 gift cards from Dunkin Donuts or McDonalds for them.
- To conclude the week on Friday, purchase a nominal $1–$2 gift for each of your coaches. By going to a Dollar Store or similar business, buy a nice pen, a notepad, a whistle, school logo key ring or something similar. Produce a brief note to accompany this gift, “Please accept this small token of appreciation for all that you do for our student-athletes. Oh, and you can make use of the notepad to leave me messages in order to keep me up-to-date.” In the truest sense, it isn’t the cost of the item. The thought is what matters and your coaches will notice and feel the impact of this effort.
- There is one more step to take. Provide the names of your certified coaches and what teams they work with, which were listed in your daily announcement, to the local newspaper and radio stations. Mention that you are providing this information as part of the National Coaches Week. Most will take the hint and publish or mention this professional accomplishment and, in this manner, even the community may develop a greater appreciation and respect for your staff.
If you aren’t doing something similar during National Coaches Week, you should. A few quick, simple and totally inexpensive things can create a greater sense of appreciation for your coaches. It is totally worth it.