Being a Manager of a sports team at any level bears plenty of responsibility, and with that responsibility, can result in quite a bit of pressure. Like the old saying goes, “If you can’t handle the heat, don’t enter the kitchen”, and below, we will talk about 4 roles and responsibilities, and what you can do in order to help handle the pressures that may arise with managing your sports team.
We will start with what is often the biggest expectation that comes with management, and that is results. If your team isn’t winning as much as was hoped and expected of them, the manager often cops the brunt of the blame for this. From a manager’s perspective, sleepless nights can be spent trying to come up with new game plans and structures as the pressure mounts on them to find a way to start winning quickly. This pressure can be a lot to bear for some people, but the best thing to do in these situations is not overthink it. Every team goes through a bad run of results at some point in time, and all you can do as a manager is make structural changes until something works. Sometimes it is just a waiting game too, and you just need to have faith that the game plan will work out once players better understand it.
Another key point is maintaining positive morale in the dressing room. If players are having constant disagreements, then chances are they won't work together, which can affect more than just results on the field. The potential for players walking out is high if these issues aren’t dealt with early, and this can be done in many ways. The way I would suggest dealing with these problems is to sit the players down that are causing the problems, and explaining that they don't have to get along outside of the sport, but while they’re training and playing together, they have to work together as you’re all trying to achieve the same goal.
Training can often be a dreading time for all players in any sport, as let's face it, no player ever really wants to be there. As a manager, it is your duty to ensure that the players are enjoying training and providing them with a reason for wanting to attend, while also implementing drills that are going to help them achieve the results that you set out to at the season's start. There are many ways to make training an enjoyable experience, especially at the local level, as a lot of teams aren’t really playing for sheep stations. For a bit of banter, many local clubs implement a fine policy where if a player does something incredibly stupid, then they get fined a certain amount of money which goes towards something such as the end of season team trip, or towards new equipment.
The last management role I want to talk about is recruitment. Recruitment is a big factor in any offseason, even at the local level as it can take a team from the bottom all the way to the top if done right, but if not handled correctly, can see your team dwindle down the bottom of the table, no matter how much practice you put in. While tactics and structure are a wonderful thing, you also need the right cattle to be able to play your game plan, so as a manager, your recruiting structure should revolve around players that will fit your game plan and be able to play the roles that you expect from them. Recruiting can also potentially lead to current players feeling unsettled and unhappy as they may feel that the new players will take away their playing time, so the key tip would be to not recruit too heavily to begin with, and success is often a long-term goal anyway.
These are 4 of the major roles and responsibilities of a club manager, and how to handle them correctly. We hope this helps you as a manager and you and your club can chase the success you thoroughly deserve for the upcoming season!