Coaching doesn’t end after the final game. Here are five tried-and-true tactics for taking better advantage of your offseason.

The offseason may represent a lull in action for teams, but not for coaches. The minute post-season play is over, you start going over your mental to-do list for next season. Player admission and eligibility, team camps and your state coaching certifications are all top of mind, not to mention a fundraiser for next year’s team. 

Raising funds in the offseason is often required, especially with the rising cost of playing sports compared to registration fees and what high school budgets can cover. You want a fundraiser that will bring in the most money possible, but it can be difficult to find the ideal method.

In this eBook, we’ll cover how to get your offseason started off on the right foot, give you new and profitable fundraising strategies, explain the tried-and-true fundraising tactics, and provide a real-world example of a small school in Iowa that won a state title on a tight budget.

Step 1: Rest

It’s hard for coaches to remember that it’s called offseason for a reason. While it’s important to get to work and improve, it’s even more vital to rest, both mentally and physically. Competitors are often trained into thinking hard work is synonymous with more work. But when it comes to the offseason, working smarter should be the goal. So take a week off (or a few) to recuperate from the strains of season.

Step 2: Reflect

Time away from the gym or field provides a clear mind to reflect objectively on the previous school year and season. To prepare for the future, it’s imperative to evaluate the past. Identify the major strengths and weaknesses of the team last year. Ask yourself questions like, “how can I innovate different areas of training to take my team to the next level?” Thinking through these things will help you build a stronger game plan for the summer.

This is the best time to reflect on the whole team, your staff and yourself. At the end of every season, you should raise the bar just a little bit more for next season. Coach Stone, High School Football

Step 3: Invest

Use this offseason to improve yourself. Look into books without a sports focus that will challenge the way you approach everyday life. The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen Covery may be a good place to start. Discover a more effective form of leadership by listening to the Learning Leader Show, a podcast made up of interviews with the most fascinating leaders across the world. Attend a coaching clinic to find innovative coaching methods in your specific sport. The offseason is the perfect time to educate and challenge yourself.

Step 4: Prepare

Through strategic planning, you can maximize the offseason and make major progress towards your biggest future goals. Take advantage of the time to prioritize what areas are most important. Consider the resources you’ll need for success, like gym space, access to video or weight-room equipment. Will you need to fundraise to get these things? Mapping these out in advance will help prevent future

If we only reach two or three goals, we’re going to do some running. If we get four or more, we’re good. If we get four or more a couple times, we’ll get some pizza or something like that. We did some little things to not just be negative. When they did a great job, we tried to do something that they like too, so they’re buying in. Andre Noble, Imotep High School Basketball Coach

Step 5: Progress

Set goals and track team progress along the way. Consider your team’s vision and create goals to help the team get there. Start with smaller weekly goals— these can be anything from maximizing player attendance at optional practices to attaining a new level of individual fitness. Achieving short-term goals will build the team’s confidence and culture.