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Coaches Should Use Off Season Retreat to Reflect on Future

Coaching high school football can be a time consuming and stressful occupation. Coaches are given the task of mentoring their players, coaching them on the field, and training them in the off season. In addition they may coach other sports, serve as athletic director and teach classes as well. The hours involved can be tremendous.

Oh yeah, and the team is suppose to win and win big. It is a pressure packed job.

Following the season, every coach really needs to get away to relax and recover. It helps to go to a place out of town that you enjoy. This might take place over a weekend or over several days. This trip might be a solo vacation or with your wife, other family member, or a valued friend. For most football leaders, that person is usually their wife. Coaching football is really more a way of life than a profession, so a coach's wife and family is an important part of the equation.

It helps to put a little bit of time between the end of the season and this retreat. Most seasons end with a playoff loss or the disappointment of not making the playoffs. Coaches should let that disappointment fade some before they can actively get all of the benefits of a career retreat.

Here are some things to consider for coaches who head off on that yearly retreat.

  1. Evaluate the past season with a realistic viewpoint. There were both good and bad times, so spend some time considering all of those experiences. What was your role on the team as head coach or assistant? What was the good and bad of your job during the past season? Did you enjoy working at your school? How much help did you have with regard to assistant coaches? How helpful and supportive was your administration? What is your teaching situation and how much time do you have to work on football? Most importantly, do you enjoy coaching and how much longer do you want to coach football? You and your wife should discuss these issues in depth.

  2. Are you on solid ground with the administration and decision makers at your school? If you feel like you might be in jeopardy of losing your head coaching job or your job as an assistant for whatever reason, you may need to look for other opportunities. If a resignation is in your future, you need to get a plan on when to do so and what your next steps will be.

  3. Do you enjoy living in your community? There are some communities that are better places to live than others. What is your travel time back and forth? Does this community provide the opportunities you want for your children, both academically and athletically? Think about your home. Is it the right size and and do you feel good about your financial commitment to that house? How content is your wife where you live? Does she enjoy neighbors and feel safe in the community?

  4. How happy is your wife with her job? A happy wife usually means a happy life. If your wife doesn't enjoy her job, that is a problem. Is another job a possibility? If your wife hasn't worked, is that something that you both need to consider, and what are the possibilities? Such a retreat is a perfect time to have an honest discussion with her about what she goes through on a daily basis and what changes she may want to make.

  5. What is your financial situation? Money is always an issue. What kind of salary are you being paid at your school? Is the state considering a raise and if so, how much more would that mean to you on a monthly basis? If your expenses are growing but your salary is not, do you need to consider looking for a better paying job? Would it be possible for you to work on another degree or maybe working toward a job in administration? There are ways to increase your pay, but most of them involve some planning or taking a professional risk. Is it time for you to look for a head coaching job? As your children approach college age, what is your financial plan for them to go to college?

  6. What does the football future look like at your school? If you are a head coach, your job security is closely tied to your success on the field. What does the next two or three years look like at your school? Is there a good group of young players coming or does it look like a downward trend? Are you going to be able to keep your staff members, particularly your coordinators and best coaches? As an assistant, if next year looks like a deep playoff run you might want to hang around and get that great season on your resume' before you consider moving to another job.

  7. How is your health? Can you physically and mentally handle another year in coaching? As you hit your 50s, this becomes a bigger issue than you might think. It is important that you take care of your health. A retreat is a good time to talk with your wife about your eating, sleeping and. exercise habits that might lead to health issues in the future. A physical exam might be a part of this retreat to evaluate your overall health and help you make some changes if necessary.

  8. What is your dream job or situation? If you have a job that you really want one day, you need to get a plan and start working toward that position. This might be a head coaching job, a coordinator position at a successful school or may be even a job in administration. The quickest line to being the head coach at Anywhere High School is to get a job as an assistant and prove your worth. Especially if you believe the head coach will be leaving in the next few years. Maybe it is time to get started on that administration degree. Where do you want to be five years from now?

  9. Review your retirement plan with your wife. After you have been in education for 15-20 years, you should review your retirement plan on a yearly basis. It may seem like years away, but your decisions today will affect your retirement in the future. Your state retirement check in Alabama is based on the best three of your last 10 years. Therefore it is important as you approach retirement years (25-30) that you increase your salary as much as possible. What is your full social security age and how much can you expect that check to be each month? At what age should you start to draw that check? Many educators leave public education and go to another state or a private school in their latter working years. By doing so, they can draw their retirement check and that out of state school or private school check. Often, they are able to do this without moving their residence. Have you been able to put money away in an RSA-1 account? This could also be part of your retirement puzzle. If your wife is in education, she will have some of the same options. The latter years of your coaching career can be essential to help you save and increase money for those retirement days. It is imperative that you understand your retirement and social security system. If you have spent most of your career in private school, this might be the time to get a public school job and start working on a state retirement check to go along with that 401K you have been adding to for years. Discussing your options with your wife can really help you plan your coaching and retirement future.

The coaching profession can take an huge toll on you and requires a strong commitment. Find time to get away with your wife for a weekend and discuss your future in coaching.


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