Every sports organization should have a Sporting Director. It is this person’s job to set the direction technically, tactically, and developmentally for each and every player in their organization. This is one of the most important positions within each organization and it takes a unique set of skills to be able to be successful in this role. Below we note the top 5 qualities needed in order to be successful as a sporting director.
Humility: The Director of Coaching needs to be humble in the sense that they must realize that all of the decisions that they make need to be in the best interest of the club for which they are working, and not be made with their own personal interests in mind. It is very hard to find a person that embodies this mentality as most people have personal agendas they are trying to push through. A true leader in this position will take your organization to new levels.
Patience: Change takes time. While there are many things that can be changed immediately, the true technical direction of the club takes a long time for the fruits of your labor to be seen. The true results of any system and curriculum that a Director of Coaching is going to implement will take the better part of 10 years, or when your U8 age group ages out at U18.
Experience: All to often you see people with no sports experience making sports decisions. While certain people may be extremely successful in their areas of expertise it is important to have a Director of Coaching who’s area of expertise lies within that sport. Let’s take soccer for example. You would not want to have a person who grew up playing baseball making all of the soccer decisions for your organization. Your Director of Coaching would ideally have professional playing experience, or at a minimum Division 1 college playing experience. They should then also have many years coaching various genders and age groups within a couple different organizations. If possible some experience as an age group coordinator, assistant Director of Coaching, or Director of Coaching is also highly desirable.
Communication: Communication is one of the most important skills that an organization need in a Director. It is important to be open and honest with all stakeholders at all times. One must be extremely careful to make sure decisions are not felt to be made by one person. This is possible if a Director over communicates all thought and ideas with the board members and families making up the club membership.
Confidence: The Director needs to have confidence that the direction they are steering the club is what is best. In every organization there will be people who think that they have a better way to do things. As the Director of Coaching one must listen to what others have to say, but ultimately make the final decisions about the technical, tactical, and developmental direction of the club.
While there are many qualities that ultimately contribute to the success or failure for a Director of Coaching these five stand out. What other qualities do you thing a Director of Coaching should have?