by Dr. David Hoch, CMAA
After a practice session or contest, many coaches go into the locker room and dissect what took place.They talk with the assistants, vent and begin to plan for the next practice session. But … you can’t simply stand in the corner talking.
It is a coach's responsibility to supervise the locker room. What could go wrong? Just about everything from injuries due to horseplay, hazing, vandalism and theft to mention a few. It is the coach's job to supervise and prevent any of these outcomes. Sure, this is an unglamorous task, but it has to be done.
To provide supervision, you, as the coach, have to be able to see the athletes and they have to be able to hear you. Hear you? Yes, the directions that you give – for example, telling players to stop – have to be communicated clearly so that they can do as you are requesting. Supervision involves vision and voice, and by standing in the corner talking with other coaches, you may not be accomplishing this vital responsibility.
The coach has to circulate in the locker room , especially If the room is designed with rows of lockers and one or two aisles. Walk up and down the aisles— the mere fact that you are walking around will serve as a deterrent. At any second, you may be standing in front of an athlete who just might have been ready to do something stupid and immature. You still need to be vigilant even if your locker room is a large open rectangle-shaped room with locker stalls around each wall, This means that you can’t be totally engrossed in a conversation or making detailed notes. You have to watch what is going on in the room.
And one final thought about supervision. Do you realize that a coach's responsibility extends to the school lobby where student-athletes are waiting for their rides home? With horseplay, for example, students can break trophy cases or glass panels of the doors. And of course, serious injury can also result. A coach must wait until the last athlete leaves.
In your role as a coach, you have to be present, observant and proactive to head off any potential problem. This is part of your responsibility as a coach.