(English) This does not require a “strategic plan” similar to what a business, or even the club, might have although it does have some similar elements. The strategic vision should set out:

  • A timeframe (often 3-5 years);
  • A clear vision for what the team is to achieve within that timeframe (ultimate objective);
  • The team’s values (principles that guide all actions of the team);
  • The important elements to achieve success (e.g. selection of players, medical support, conditioning etc);
  • Key outcomes to measure success during the timeframe. These are typically smaller steps that progress toward the ultimate objective.

In preparing the strategic vision for the team, the coach also needs to make some assessment of the current situation that the team is in, which can be very difficult when not involved with the team. To inform themselves, the coach may:

  • Review the performance of the team in the last 3-5 years;
  • Review the profile of the players (if the players are aging, can the team continue to sustain its results?);
  • Speak with players or coaches that have been involved with the team (it may not be possible to speak to current players or coaches).

There are a number of factors that may impact upon the coach’s ability to achieve success with the programme and whilst the coach may have little influence over these factors, they do need to be taken into account:

  • Player contracts – it is unlikely that in their first year the coach will have their best possible team because it may take a season or two to move players;
  • Attitude and culture – any cultural change takes time and if a coach identifies that a change is necessary it is realistic to believe that will take at least 1-2 years;
  • Club resources – the resources available to a team vary widely between clubs. The club may simply not be able to devote the resources that the coach would ideally like
  • Injury – any team can have its performance affected by injury. Teams may be able to reduce the likelihood of some injuries but this is largely out of the coach’s control. The coach may wish to enable the team to cope with injuries through having players that can play across a number of positions or game styles.

Taking into account where the coach assesses the team to currently be and the factors that can affect performance, the coach selects a realistic strategic vision. Whilst it may be tempting (when aspiring to be appointed) to simply forecast winning the championship in the near future, the strategic vision that the coach sets will also form the basis of assessment of their performance. The coach alone cannot realise the strategic vision and they need to have the team, the club and stakeholders strive toward the vision. The vision acts like a jigsaw, setting out the “pieces” that need to fit together. The coach needs to communicate the vision and should:

  • Define roles;
  • Hold individuals accountable for performing their role - the clearer roles are, the more individuals within the team (including support staff) will hold each other accountable;
  • Acknowledge good performance, not simply evaluate success by number of games won.

Winning or losing particular games is an indicator that most people use to assess the performance of a team and its coach.

The coach must review team performance using metrics that are more meaningful toward achieving the ultimate objective within the timeframe set.

The coach’s vision for the team should be relatively unchanged, although strategies and timeframe certainly may vary as circumstances arise. Young players may develop quicker than expected, or serious injuries may impact upon performances in a given year.