The must haves, probably shoulds, and weather dependents in a coach's bag.
January 4, 2022 by Matt Graves in Opinion with 0 comments
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When I first started coaching I had no idea what to bring to college tournaments. I brought what I had as a player. While there is some overlap, I quickly found that what I needed as a coach was not the same as what I needed when I was a player. Below is my advice on what to bring to a tournament as a coach.
Team White and Dark
Yes, this is what you’d pack as a player. And yes, every player should have packed their white and dark. But we all know that one player who will forget or somehow pack two whites and no dark. Having an extra white and dark in your bag never hurts.
Vitamin C Drops
You are going to be doing a lot of yelling, calling out lines, echoing calls, and leading cheers. I’ve lost my voice a couple of times by the end of a tournament. Vitamin C drops help assist the immune system and soothe the throat. I now buy these in bulk because I will pop them routinely.
Whether pen and notebook or iPad, you will need something to keep score and/or stats. If you’re using an electronic device, make sure to have a portable charger. Cold weather and a long day can drain your battery fast. If you are a pen and paper notetaker like me, I recommend devising a stat-keeping format in Excel and printing out several copies before the tournament. A uniform tool will make it easier in the moment and when compiling stats after.
Pack a pullover/polo/hat combo that separates you from the team. It will make it easier for your own players to find you or for the leadership on the other team to find you if they have issues or questions. Making it easy for direct communication can prevent a lot of issues. (Bonus points for suiting up!!)
Sometimes cleats come in handy even as a coach. If you need to demonstrate or participate in a drill, cleats will be better than the gym sneakers or winter boots you may have on. Regardless, you should be sure to wear something comfortable and weather appropriate since you’ll be standing and walking all day. Also, usually once a season, a player will forget their cleats or tear them open. If you have similar sized feet you can be the hero and save a player trying to get a ride to the sporting goods store in the middle of a game.
Extra Cones and Discs
These extra cones and discs are separate from the team bag. The team should have their own cones and disc bag and have the responsibility to maintain and bring the bag. However, in the emergency scenario where the bag is forgotten or discs get stolen, having a few extra so everyone on the team can throw with a partner while warming up can come in handy. Just make sure you bring discs that you don’t mind losing or “donating” to the team bag. Losing a commemorative or sentimental disc will sting.
Whether for your own use or a player’s, someone will need it. Especially for a two day tournament, there is nothing worse than getting burned on Saturday and then having to be in the blaring sun again on Sunday. You can also get burned when it is cloudy. Really, the only time you don’t need sunscreen is when it’s pouring rain.
An umbrella is helpful in rain or snow or if you need more protection from the sun. Umbrellas are better than a rain jacket because the umbrella can protect your stat-keeping tool — soggy paper is not useful. Just remember to not stand too close to the sideline…
The winter months suck. As a coach you can’t really run around to stay warm. And you can’t huddle away to get out of the cold wind either. Your team needs you to be an active presence on the sideline for the team. Hand warmers help the blood flow to your fingertips whether they are the electronic kind or the single use bags. If you don’t think you will be able to hold them the whole time that is perfectly fine! Stick the hand warmers in your pockets and your hands will have a warm escape whenever they need it.
Whenever I go to a tournament to coach the above mentioned assortment of items always comes with me. The “Must Have” items are staples, the “Probably Should” items I also always bring but are less crucial, and the “Weather Dependents” have been lifesaving — especially the hand warmers.