This is the third installment of creating a strategic plan for your football program. In part 1 we discussed how the vision and mission statements create the big picture for your program. Next we discussed writing objectives and goals to set the stage for the planning and work to be completed. The next part is to create a specific plan of action so that the work needed to accomplish each goal and ultimately the vision can begin.
This part of the process is about implementation. Planning and executing the actions necessary to reach the goals are detailed in the “plan of action.” This is accomplished by writing a to-do list for each of your goals. The plan of action should consider all steps to be taken as well as some of the things you identified in SWOT analysis. The head coach cannot be the person doing all of the work. Assign each plan of action or possibly each item in the plan of action to different assistants. In order for any goal to be accomplished, all involved need to feel the ownership and responsibility of doing what is necessary to reach the program’s goals. As the leader of the program, the head coach should have a sense of what each assistant does well. Use the assistants’ strengths and weaknesses when assigning the tasks. They should be involved in the whole process. As a head coach you may even allow your assistant to develop the action plan.
Each item on the action plan should be a specific task with a deadline. You will find that a strategic plan will have many items in each action plan. Without deadlines, there will be no way to ensure that all work is completed in a timely fashion.
As the head coach, you can write these deadlines on a calendar so that you can keep track of progress toward your goals as well as make adjustments along the way.
Let’s look at one strategic goal and an action plan to accomplish it.
1. Improve academic performance throughout the program.
As mentioned in part 2, all goals should have an effect on the bottom line, which is “win and develop good people.” Specifically, academic excellence helps the program in several ways. First and foremost it ensure eligibility of the players. Having your best players on the field is of utmost importance. Secondly, it helps promote the program in a positive light both to the faculty and student body. Finally, it opens doors for your players at the next level. There are plenty of opportunities around the country in which a high academic football player can get the chance to play at a great school. I’ve always told my players, the higher your grades, the more opportunities you will have. Pursuing a goal like improving academic performance is significant. I would suggest that you put something specific on that goal such as “team GPA of 3.0” or “all players eligible to play.” These really depend on your own situation and the strengths and weaknesses you uncover in SWOT analysis.
Plan of Action:
1. Grade checks throughout each semester.
a. Assign academic advisors by alphabet. (Coach____, date)
b. Develop reporting method. Interims are too late. Have list of schedules & 1st Semester report cards. (Coach____, date)
2. Academic Pride:
a. Calculate and Post Team GPA in the Field House. (Coach____, date)
b. Recognize outstanding academic performance in our newsletter. (Coach____, date)
3. Use external sources to promote our academic
performance(Newsnet 5 Scholar Athlete,
Cleveland Browns Academic Achiever Program)
develop list of awards/contacts (Coach____, date)
4. Academic help:
a. Identify players who are struggling and find them the appropriate help. Create list of steps taken for each player. (Coach____, date)
b. Organize study tables for players not meeting standards. Tuesdays-Thursdays at the Field House immediately after school for 1 hour. (Coach____, date)
5. Academic Intervention Plan:
a. identify students who are at risk of failing/becoming ineligible(through academic checks) (Coach____, date)
b. mandatory study tables and/or tutoring session (Coach____, date)
c. mandatory homework assignment sheets. Also use online grade books. (Coach____, date)
Each step in the process should have a deadline and someone assigned to the task. One coach could be put in charge of the entire plan of action as well.
As the head coach, this is an opportunity to help some of your younger coaches gain experience in different areas of your program. The head coach should know what his assistants’ career goals and help them achieve those goals. Young coaches who have the ultimate goal of being a head coach and running their own program can be put in charge of a goal and creating the action plan. The head coach can help guide the assistant through the process.
Taking your vision and using it to set goals then making it a plan on paper and listing the tasks that must be accomplished along the way will help set a definite direction for your program. The next step is to put a simple system in place to evaluate those steps and progress toward your goals. This will be discussed in part 4.
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