Let’s face it. Some high schools are highly devoted to their athletic programs, building strong teams and fostering excitement around each and every game. Other schools, however, let their athletic programs fall by the wayside.
The truth is that research has found that playing a sport or two in high school can have amazing impacts on our young athletes. With increased confidence and better leadership skills, high school athletes are well-equipped to face life after graduation.
Now is the perfect time to start planning for your fall high school sports programs. What can you do to put a greater emphasis on sports and improve the experience of your high school athletes?
Read on for tons of great and doable ways that you can improve fall high school sports for the 2022 season.
Train Your Coaches
Why do some schools have outstanding sports teams while others don’t seem to compare? There are a lot of moving factors in play here but one of them is coaching.
Think about it. Is your basketball coach first and foremost a science teacher? Did the US history teacher step into the role of football coach without really expecting to?
It’s natural for schools to ask teachers to start coaching. It often makes the most economic sense. However, it’s not doing anyone any favors if you expect those teachers to learn from nothing but experience.
Invest in training for your coaches. The better they know the sport, the more they can guide their team through a successful season. Plus, investing in staff training tends to lower staff turnover, and nothing discourages athletes quite like losing their coach every year.
In the past few decades, we’ve seen an increase in high school athlete recruitment. In other words, schools with strong teams are taking athletes from other school districts to pack their teams with outstanding athletes.
Your athletes will undergo the recruitment process when they’re playing at the college or professional level if they so choose. They don’t need to start making those kinds of decisions now.
Focus on the students that are already on your team. Getting over-involved in a teen’s choices can hinder the development of their own decision-making skills and resourcefulness. Plus, active recruiting can generate anxiety for both your current athletes and the ones you’re trying to recruit.
Build Community Relations
What’s going to make your student athletes feel appreciated and excited for their fall athletics program? Having a community that supports and encourages them.
Build a relationship with your local media outlets. Ask them to cover all of your athletic events, including the ones that often get overlooked–we’re looking at the girl’s teams, who deserve some love.
Make games more accessible to the community by investing in high school sports broadcasting. Live-streaming is a great way to get more eyes on the game and allows the out-of-town loved ones to watch their student athletes play.
Reach Out to Lower Grades
Athletes in schools are in a unique position to inspire younger kids. Students who are striving to play on a sports team in high school tend to perform better and for some, this aspiration can prevent an otherwise inevitable drop-out.
This fall, put together a mentorship program or student athlete leadership group. Pair your high school athletes with elementary school or middle school students who have an interest in athletics. Ask the elementary and middle schools in your district to host assemblies where high school athletes can come and speak about athletic opportunities.
These types of outreach programs are a true win-win. The younger students will gain from the chance to interact with older athletes, learning about the sport as well as the value of education as a whole. The older students will gain from the opportunity to partake in this volunteer experience, flexing their leadership muscles and getting to see the positive impact they can have on others.
Prioritize Athlete Health and Wellness
Unfortunately, athletes are at risk for developing serious or long-term injuries, even at the high school level. The good news is that many of these injuries can be addressed and you can prevent permanent issues, but it requires know-how.
As part of your coach training, ensure that all of your high school athletic directors and coaches are aware of basic sports injury prevention. This includes warm-up procedures that protect the joints and muscles. It also includes quick and appropriate responses to injuries that do occur during the game or practice.
High school students who enter into sports programs are putting their trust in you and any other members of your athletics program. They don’t anticipate that an injury will take them out for the season or put an end to their athletic career. Make sure that you’re prioritizing athlete health and wellness with the proper training.
Start Holding Preseason Meetings
Parents are often the key to a successful sports program. After all, you’re relying on them for a lot: getting their kids to practice, getting their kids to the game, and helping their kids to maintain a good balance between school, sports, and life.
Preseason meetings are a great way to get to know the parents and guardians of your athletes. They’re also a great opportunity to set the standards for what you expect from your athletes. Starting in mid to late-summer, invite all parents of athletes to attend preseason meetings and involve them in your athletics program.
Also read: SW418
Boost Your Fall High School Sports Program to Improve Athlete Success
Your fall high school sports season is approaching quickly. Are you prepared to have a great season? Use this guide to improve athlete success and turn your school into a great place for athletics.
Looking for more ways to improve the educational experiences of your students? Take a look at our education content for tips, guides, and the latest education news.