Happy New Year!
We joke about it: the gym membership that will eventually disappear, the dream of eating right, spending less and saving more. There are a lot of lofty expectations around New Year’s resolutions.
And there are, definitely, many times that we fall short in our resolutions.
But as college coaches, setting goals and working against them isn’t just a matter of telling your friends and colleagues your loftiest dreams, and then forgetting about them. You don’t have to fall short this year.
One way to put yourself in a position to exceed your goals is to learn and pick up positive habits from others. As the legendary John Wooden once said, “it’s what you learn after you know it all that counts”. In what areas could you expand your knowledge base and apply new habits to exceed your resolutions, team goals and recruiting goals this year?
At Next College Student Athlete, our staff of 500+ former college athletes and coaches take pride in the relationships that we’ve established with the college coaches of today – you! We want to learn from your success and help you be the best recruiter, the best coach that you can possibly be.
We recently caught up with Bryan Rourke, an Assistant Softball Coach at Adrian College (MI), to pick his brain and learn more about what makes him tick. What can you learn and take away from the interview?
Check it out below:
Tell us about your background in coaching. How did you get into coaching? Why do you coach?
I started my softball career at Michigan State University as a student manager with the women’s softball team. I participated in duties with the coaching staff preparing for practice, travel and video, with much more to do. Catching bullpens for collegiate players was an awesome experience. In the midst of college, I had the chance to coach a 14u travel team out of the Detroit area. It was an eye opening experience, but I knew I had a gift to share. After talking with MSU head coach Jacquie Joseph, she advised me that I was going to be good at coaching and it was something I should pursue. The reason I coach is to impact the lives of the young women who play the game. I built great relationships with great players and coaches prior to coaching, but meeting people like Carol Hutchins or Patrick Murphy, and seeing what they do off the field inspired me. I coach because I want to change the game. My dream is for my players to leave the program better women, and represent me in the best way. I want them to know I am here for the rest of their life, and that they can accomplish anything.
What’s been your greatest accomplishment so far as a coach? What’s been your biggest disappointment?
As of now my greatest accomplishment as a coach has been coaching 15 players to a 3.5 GPA or higher in a season. We led the country in Division III. My biggest disappointment was when I lost my composure at a workout, and made a fool of myself. It simply was not how I carry myself and my emotions got the best of me.
What are your biggest obstacles as a coach, and how do you overcome them?
A major obstacle is catering to the needs of all your players to ensure they have the best experience playing collegiate softball. It is not for everybody, but it is a great time to be alive. Another major obstacle is keeping everyone happy with playing time. It is nearly impossible I would say, however celebrating small victories helps keep others invested. Perhaps the biggest obstacle for college coaches is holding ourselves accountable. The program starts at the top, so any concepts, or standards we implement, we must carry out. It can be easy to get lost in the shuffle of planning practice, balancing a budget, recruiting, and preparing for games, but we need to find a way to stay focused.
Do you have a coaching philosophy, or mantra that you live by?
If I had to put my philosophy into words, I would say “leave no doubt” and “you get what you give.” I want good people in our program. When we leave no doubt, win or lose, we can know we gave it our all. Some days its good enough, some days it’s not. Secondly, if you put no effort in, you will receive nothing in return.
Describe the ideal recruit, from your perspective.
The ideal recruit is an outstanding person and teammate. Outside talent, they need to be able to handle failure, not playing, and success. Being able to perform at the highest-level, be playing well, and then not playing at the snap of a finger happens, because the coach has a plan. We need players that buy in, and can be able to make decisions on their own, and answer “Why” they did it.
What advice would you give to new coaches that are just starting their careers in coaching?
Be a sponge. The best coaches are still learning, because the game is constantly changing. Ask as many coaches as you can about their philosophies, and build relationships with those coaches. They will be your opponents and colleagues for years to come. Never take the game for granted. This is a special sport and many people before us have fought to get the game to where it is today. Give back.
Describe your “ideal day” as a coach?
My ideal day as a coach is one at the end I can say I did something great today, and bettered the team. We wake up for our jobs every day for different reasons, but I would say wake up have a good breakfast, get a workout in, get work done, have lunch, plan practice, execute the practice plan, and as I eat dinner look back thinking our team got better today.
What is one thing that you want other coaches to know about you?
I want other coaches to know that I am passionate about the game and I am a great human being. If my colleagues can look at my name/picture/me and say “that guy loves the game”, I can be happy. Me impacting the game will be my legacy.
Do you have a morning routine or ritual?
Every day is unique, to the best of my ability I wake up eat, workout, and have a coffee before I get started at my desk. We occasionally have morning workouts and practice as well that interfere. I would say I have a daily checklist I need to get done, but morning routine is roughly that.
Three words that describe your program.
Passion, Energized, Competitive.
Speaking of expanding your knowledge and applying new habits this year, are you taking advantage of NCSA (Next College Student Athlete) as a free recruiting tool? Login today to search our database of over 400,000+ athletes and gain access to verified information, such as transcripts, contact info and video!