Coaches have daily contact with the student-athletes at your school and are in a position to directly influence them. As an athletic director, your most important responsibility is to empower those coaches to provide a good educational environment to your students. Being a mentor is a huge responsibility, but the time and effort are worth it. Whether you’re a new athletic director or just want some new ideas for connecting with your coworkers, here are some ways to go above and beyond when mentoring coaches.

Use Emails

Emails are a quick and easy way to do something for your coaches every day. You can send quick virtual notes of encouragement, reminders of what needs to be done, important pieces of information, and things to think about for the day. It doesn’t take much, but emails are a good way to touch base with and mentor your coaches.

Find Interesting Articles

As long as you’re emailing coaches, why not send them links to interesting articles? There’s a lot of reading out there on sportsmanship, leadership and professional development, and other topics relevant to coaches and education-based athletics. You can tailor the articles you send based on settings and needs to help your staff grow professionally.

Set Up Training Schedules

The National Federation of State High School Associations has free training courses for coaches. You can make recommendations on courses that your coaches take to help them with professional development, and the online tools make it possible for you to check and make sure that the courses are completed. ArbiterSports offers web-based resources for referee training as well to make sure that the people you hire to officiate your games are on the same page you are.

Match New Coaches with Veterans

If you have any new coaches in your roster, match them with trustworthy and dedicated coaches in your program who are a little more experienced. These coaches will know your school’s culture and be able to serve as mentors for the job as well as the institution, meaning that their advice is especially valuable. Get your guidelines for coaching mentors ready during the summer so that you can start the fall season off right.

Make Yourself Available

Emails and coach mentors won’t replace you if someone needs help with a major issue. You’ll need to be available to provide help when it’s needed, even if that means adjusting your to-do list to accommodate emergencies. This will require being proactive: you don’t want to wait until a crisis to find the answers. Be open and welcoming so that your coaches, whether they’ve been with you for years or are new to the profession or your school, will feel comfortable coming to you.

Praise All Positive Accomplishments

Sure, it’s great when a team wins a championship game. However, your coaches are also educators—not all of their achievements are going to be on the field or court. If one of your coaches has gone above and beyond for your department or your students, make sure that you show some appreciation. Recognizing even small examples of positivity goes a long way toward building a positive student-athlete culture, and all it really takes is a quick email just to say, “Well done.”

Athletic Director Resources from ArbiterSports

Athletic directors have a lot on their plate and many people are counting on them. Thankfully, the tools from ArbiterSports can make parts of your job easier and ensure that your coaches and referees are taken care of. We have resources for managing everything from payments to scheduling from your desk or your mobile device. We can also give you the ability to customize how you train and talk to your people. For more information on what we can arm you and your athletics program with, call 800.576.2799 or email