The Fives

Focus Your Off-season: A Program Building Exercise

The season has ended, the equipment is turned in, and already you are analyzing what your program can do to be better.  Depending on the size of your staff and program you could have between one to twelve different opinions on the impressions of the season and thoughts on the upcoming one.  I am going to share with you an exercise that helped my program and my teams get a little better each season It’s called 5-5-5.  

At the first meeting of the off-season I explain and hand out a form to each coach, trainer, equipment manager, team parent, who ever is involved.  The form has fifteen lines on it with the words, Keep, Remove, and Add.  

Keep – In this section I want to know what we are currently doing that you would like to keep.  This can be something small like the team wearing high socks at games to a coach wanting to keep our pre-game talk to under a minute.  This section is all about what is liked, worked and want to keep using. 

Remove – This is where you find out where your program stands.  You will likely be familiar with most suggestions of removal  The ones you have not thought about is what is going to help you get to another level. My first experience with this was a coach who wanted to remove snacks at half time as it distracted the players. Another wanted use to remove the entire offensive philosophy In this section you will see the most disparity and learn what is important to each staff member. 

Add – Your staff will most likely have the hardest time with this one as there are only five lines and most have more than five ideas. Having only five will filter out the least practical and put to the forefront what is most important to that team member.  From this we have bought field equipment, changed jerseys, decrease play sheet size, introduced personnel packages, and even removed individual awards – all leading to more successful seasons in the future. 

When you introduce this sheet to your program, do not have them complete it in the moment.  Explain that you want complete honesty as this is how “we will become a better program”. Have them take it home and give their sheet to you by whatever time you want to designate. I personally used a month.  

When you have all the responses collected you will see trends and similar ideas. Try to consolidate these.  At the next meeting present the finished product. If you have five staff members and 25 different Removes, go over each of them as a staff and brainstorm.  This meeting will likely take a while and will bring up great discussion, so plan accordingly. The goal is to leave with a consensus on each topic and new focuses going into the next season.

Good Luck!

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