On Record Keeping

One of the most important things you can do as a coach is keep records. You can keep track of attendance, RPE (rate of perceived exertion), training load, bat speed, playing minutes, the list goes on and on. Even something like writing daily comments about how the team and/or players are looking can serve an important purpose. Tracking these pieces of data can serve a few vitally important functions:

•Accurate view of the team’s and/or athlete’s status:
Without prior data on athletes, it is hard to put your current perception of their state into context. Suppose you have a female soccer player that is looking tired at practice. Is she tired because she is sick? Didn’t get enough sleep? Overtrained? Overworked? Distracted? You take a look at the playing minutes for your last three games and notice she has yet to be subbed out. There is a good chance that she is tired because of that. Without that record, it would be nearly impossible to guess why she is tired.

• Training program evaluation:
How do you know how your team and athletes are responding to your program? Is the program causing excessive fatigue? Did a combination of training sessions lead to an epidemic of rolled ankles? Is the program actually causing progress? Without records, it is nearly impossible to figure this out.

• Liability and Training Justification:
Your records can show to the coach/athlete/parent that your athlete(s) are improving. Those records of improved performance are a strong justification for your job and training program. You might also suppose that an athlete gets hurt and wants to sue you. If your records show that you were doing exactly what you should be as a good coach, and you didn’t impose an unreasonable risk for injury on the athlete, you are going to have a much stronger case with which to defend yourself.

For a coach, these three reasons are by far the most important when it comes to justifying record keeping. There are definitely more, but these three should easily be enough reason to start. If you already keep records, hopefully this will help remind you why you keep records. If you don’t, it is time to get started.