The days are getting shorter, the temperatures are getting lower, and your team member morale may be affected. That means winter is coming! The winter months give you as coaches a whole new set of challenges and opportunities to win big with your team.
Tips to prepare your athletes in cooler weather:
Be prepared. It’s your job as a coach to be aware of the weather you’ll experience during practice and games. Let your athletes know when it’s going to be particularly cold and encourage them to bring extra layers. Be willing to adapt as needed, and change up your practice drills or game strategy in order to keep your athletes warm and healthy.
Start right away. Set up an activity for your athletes to jump into as soon as they arrive in order to minimize the amount of time spent idly waiting (and freezing).
Keep them moving. The longer they’re standing around waiting, the colder they’ll get—and when they’re cold, there are plenty of health issues they can experience such as frostbite, dehydration, or muscle tightness. Focus on drills that keep everyone moving the entire time or resort to gameplay. This way, you can also pull individuals out when they need one-on-one time rather than making everyone stop and wait.
Make time for extra stretching. Warming up is always important, but it’s especially vital in the winter. Focus on dynamic stretches in order to really prepare their muscles for the cold weather and help them truly loosen up. The more focus you place on stretching, the better they’ll practice and play.
Add variety and make practices exciting. Let’s be honest: the winter can get a bit depressing. Sometimes, the last thing your athletes want to do on a cold night is go to practice. Change up your practice drills and add in some fun games. Keep all of your athletes engaged and pay attention to the drills that make them the happiest.
Tips to win as a coach against the winter months
You know a huge part of your job is taking care of your team. While it’s important to take some time to implement the items listed above, it’s also important to take care of yourself during these months. Between weather changes, mood and morale changes that come with the season, and time off of school, it can be easy to let this time slip through your fingers without taking care of yourself. Follow these tips to combat that:
Set some goals for the season. Sure, it’s important to set goals for every season, but setting goals during the winter months can seem especially difficult with everything going on. Set goals for yourself personally and as a coach, as well as goals for your team. Be sure to check in on your goals regularly throughout the season and readjust as needed.
Take time to rest. There’s a lot going on during this time of year, so make sure you’re resting and taking care of yourself. Your athletes deserve your best self and your undivided attention during practices and games. When you’re not rested, this simply cannot happen.
Focus on your own health and wellbeing. Part of your job as a coach is helping athletes get stronger, better, and healthier—are you doing the same for yourself?
We’re here to play a small role in setting you (and your team) up for success. As the weather gets cooler and the year comes to a close, follow these tips. And if you need some extra help taking the team management burden off your shoulders, that’s what we’re here for. We offer simple solutions for team registration, fundraising, reporting, and more. Check out our platform here.