Great coaches know there is always more to learn about the game. Most are actively seeking new knowledge on a regular basis. If you want to step up your coaching game a bit, there are certainly a multitude of options. But if you're just starting out or simply on a tight budget and don't want to spend a lot of money on books, DVDs, coaches clinics, seminars, or other paid resources just yet, I have good news for you. There are a number of free resources with quality information available for you to learn from. Not only will you gain useful information from these resources, but they'll also help guide you when you are ready to invest some money in a paid coaching resource. Here are 7 free ways to increase your coaching knowledge.
Borrow Books from the Library
Typically, there are a number of great coaching books out there. But if you're like me, you probably can't afford to buy every one you want. This is where your local library can help. You will probably be able to find at least a handful of good coaching books there. As long as you return the books on time, you can read each and every book they have to offer for free. Of course, if you come across one that you particularly like, you can always make the choice to purchase it for future reference. But only after you've gotten a free use of a number of books and are able to choose the one(s) you like best.
Visit Free Informational Websites
If you do an internet search for your sport or coaching tips for you sport, you will probably be able to find some website out there with free tips. For example if you are a softball coach you can search for "softball," fastpitch softball," "softball coaching tips," or "free softball tips." I'm sure you can think of more, but those are just a few ideas of what you could enter into a search engine to find free information about your sport. The cool thing about learning from websites is that you can do it from the comfort of your own home. Plus, it's easy to share with a friend or colleague.
Read Free Articles and Free Newsletters
Most free information websites have these next two items: free articles and free newsletters. Often times there will be a page with links to free articles you can read. Most of these sites also have free newsletters where you can have tips sent to you via e-mail on a regular basis. Usually all you need to provide is a first name and e-mail address and you're set to get free tips delivered right to your inbox.
Download Free e-books/Short Reports
Some websites out there also offer free short reports or e-books. These resources are usually provided by instant download in a pdf file. Even websites that offer paid products usually have some sort of free short report or e-book that you can take a look at. I like e-books and reports because you can print them out and take them with you to read when it's convenient for you. You can also highlight, circle, or otherwise mark the important parts of the report. Another cool thing about free reports or e-books is that, often times, you arealso allowed to pass the report on to others. The publisher of the report will tell you in the first couple of pages whether or not it's okay to reproduce or redistribute the report. If it's okay, you can make copies for your coaching staff or your players if it's something you'd like to pass along to them.
Participate in Free Forums
Another great place to learn is at online forums. There are paid ones out there, but there are often many free ones as well. Some are better than others, but usually there are one or two with a lot of activity and input from experts in the sport as well. A forum or message board is a great place to ask your coaching questions and have them answered by a variety of people. They are also great for browsing just see what hot tips or products other members are talking about or see what questions other coaches, parents, or players have about the game. Typically you'll have to register at a forum before you can ask or answer questions there. For the free ones, all they usually require is that you provide a username and password and maybe your e-mail address.
Network with Other Coaches
Networking can be done over the computer or in person. Basically, just talk with other coaches. When you attend tournaments, clinics, or coaches meetings, take the time to talk with other coaches who are there. Everyone know something you don't, so you never know what you can learn by simply introducing yourself and talking with others in your sport. Networking can also be done via e-mail or in forums as mentioned above. This may not be something you're completely comfortable with at first if you're not the outgoing type, but just think of the opportunities you may miss out on simply because you're more "comfortable" staying to yourself. Challenge yourself to get out of your comfort zone just a bit and make contacts wherever possible. You just never know what someone else may be able to offer you one day down the road if not sooner.
As you can see there are a number of ways to increase your coaching knowledge or knowledge of the game for free. Successful coaches are life long learners. There's no reason you can't learn something new today with all the ideas listed in this article. When you're ready to take the next step and make an investment in yourself as a coach, these free resources will be a great starting point to find the paid coaching resources that are the best fit and value for you.
by Stacie Mahoe
CoachOfAction.com - helping you reach your BIG coaching goals.