Who do you recruit first? Players of Coaches?
Sport Leaders from schools and clubs have a big task recruiting and retaining coaches. It is often the biggest stressor in such a role. When Sport Leaders organise teams for local competitions, there are generally two different approaches they take:
Recruit coaches then work out how many teams and players can be serviced.
Recruit players then work out how many teams and coaches are needed.
Let’s look at option 1 - Recruit Coaches First.
Recruiting and retaining coaches can be quite stressful for Sport Leaders, so this option is often chosen as it is a safe approach. This will save the hassle of calling, emailing and shoulder tapping volunteers to put their hand up to coach. The downside is, this approach almost always leads to either a. Huge squad sizes or b. Players missing out (“sorry, we don’t have a coach”). Although this approach might help the Sport Leader, it doesn’t necessarily meet the needs of players.
And now for option 2 - Recruit Players First.
This approach aims to put the players at the center of the experience. Once Sport Leaders work out how many players are keen, they divy them all up into manageable squad sizes (not too many, not too few) then allocate coaches. This can be more difficult as you may end up with some coaching gaps, but generally there will always be people willing to put their hand up, as adults / parents don’t want to see young people miss out. And depending on the context and age of the players, they may not even need a coach. They may just require someone with a warm heart that supports, helps and organises.
Now as a disclaimer, leading sport in a school or club can be difficult. There are no easy solutions. Be clear on what success looks like and get good people around you.